October 13, 2009

I motocicli di Maserati

The Maserati brand is well known the world over for high-end sports cars. While many of us know about the famous "Birdcage" or the Merak or even the infamous Biturbos of the 1980s, few have heard about Maserati's two-wheeled ventures.

Adolfo Orsi was quite the Italian industrialist in the 1950s. Along with owning steel mills and foundries, he also owned Maserati sports cars. The Maserati name was used on spark plugs, batteries, and other auto components made under Orsi's "Fabbrica Candele Accumulatori Maserati" division, and after the purchase of motorcycle company Italmoto in 1953, Maserati motorcycles appeared.
Not wanting to develop a completely new design, the Maserati bikes were largely the same as their Italmoto predecessors, but carried the name an trident of the automobiles. They were not large in displacement, but a range of 50cc to 250cc engines powered the machines.
As financial difficulties hit Orsi and Maserati, they were left with no choice but to dump the motorcycle branch. 1960 was the last year for these bikes. Around 10 models of mopeds and motorcycles were made from '53-'60.
Addio, vecchie bici!

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