Few brands carry a larger backstory of racing pedigree, road presence and general want-factor than Maserati.
Founded in 1914, they didn't even start making cars until 1926. But when they did, it was a paragon of talent, victory and cool. Fangio's Grand Prix season in 1957 was one of his best years yet.
And guess what? He did it in a Maser - a 250F, specifically. And once they started to focus more on road cars from the late 1950s, they were amongst the best in their game.
With troubled times later down the line involving Citroen, De Tomaso, Ferrari and Chrysler, not all has been pretty with the brand. Though some rather unusual cars have come out of it; here's seven.
450S Costin Zagato Coupe
This gorgeous one-off was based off the 450S; a powerful contender in the world sports car championship, including Le Mans. Oh, and it was also piloted by names such as Fangio, Carroll Shelby and Sir Stirling Moss.
The coupe body was designed by Zagato and was intended to race at Le Mans in 1957 and ended up being... a bit of a disappointment.
It was slower than the open top 450S and engine overheating became prominent. It managed to hang onto second place until the transaxle went boom. Still, at least it looked cool doing it.
The name stems from Maserati's victories at the Indy 500. And what a fitting tribute it was.
The Indy sat in a slightly odd position in the lineup: I like to think of it as a smaller alternative to the Ghibli, yet a more exotic-looking version of the Mexico. All of said cars had the same range of those lovely V8 engines.
Nevertheless, this stylish, compact GT was produced until 1975 and was one of the first Masers to be influenced by their then-new owners, Citroen.
This is one bodied by Touring. Image credit: Favcars.com.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, liked the established 3500 GT a lot. He was so fond of the brand, he asked them to create a larger version which housed a larger version of the V8 from the 450S. It was even fuel injected shortly into its life!
The 5000 GT was born and was bodied by every Italian coachbuilder in the business; Touring, Fura, Allemano and even Ghia. Each one was drop-dead gorgeous and 34 were ever made in total.
A6 1500 Berlinetta Speciale
Conceived in 1947, this was a re-bodied, slightly lighter version of the A6 1500 GT which was introduced a year earlier.
This one-of-one Maser was designed by Pininfarina and used the same 1.5 litre straight six engine with 65bhp. But not only was it more streamlined than the standard car, it also had pop-out headlights. Barely any other car had those at the time!
I can only think of the Cord 812.
I couldn't not include this. Maser's wacky 70s concept car isn't just the most unusual thing the brand has ever made, it might just be one of the weirdest cars ever made.
As it was showcased to the world in 1972, I like to think to myself that maybe it was part of the inspiration for the Lamborghini Countach? Who knows, I'm probably wrong there.
But still, this was typical of its time and I absolutely love it for that. I mean, just look at the gauge cluster for reference.
The series 1 Quattroporte enjoyed unprecedented success throughout the 1960s. It was the fastest production 4-door car and combined the serenity of a luxury saloon and the thrills of a sports car. It was truly great. Sadly, the same couldn't be said for the series 2.
Based on a longer version of the Citroen SM's chassis, it also borrowed the hydropneumatic suspension, the headlights, the brakes and even had the same FWD system.
A V8 version was in the workings, but Citroen pulled out before the car was properly finished. 13 were ever sold and the car left Maserati in huge financial debt.
Image credit: Favcars.com
A 3.2 litre biturbo V8 with 370bhp. 4WD and mated to a six-speed Tiptronic gearbox. Sounds like the ingredients for a sports car, right?
Well, all of the above were somehow shoved into this strange concept; which looks to be crossover of a hatchback, an MPV and an egg. I'm not sure what the designer had in mind, but a stupidly quick, exotic family hauler was probably it.
Heck, it makes the Levante look elegant!
Thanks for reading
So there we are, those are seven unusual Maseratis which proves that the brand has a lot more in their rich, illustrious history than cars made for race victories and a beauty pageant.
Have any more suggestions or want to say anything? Feel free to leave a comment!
Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed reading the article.