Motocicli Maserati

Fabbrica Candele Accumulatori Maserati S.p.A.
MASERATI was not only automobiles: there was a brief, too brief, period when the trident also adorned motorcycles. The younger readers will probably not remember them. It was the late '50s early '60, and Maserati's bikes, like its cars, were among te most luminous symbols of an Italy that seeking to banish the ghosts of the past and look to the future whit renewed confidence, an Italy that was growing. This is the tale. But before recounting it, we must take a step backward to 1937. That years, as well all know, the ORSI family of Modena acquired from the Maserati brothers of Bologna the small company that Bindo, Ernesto and Ettore had created there and which bore their name. It was already producing not only automobiles but also sparkplugs and machine tools. All this was occuring as the Maserati plant was being transferred from Bologna to Viale Ciro Menotti in Modena in 1939, where the Orsi family was already running various companies, such as Ferriere of Modena, transports and shipping companies, mines, etc.

These larger quarters afforded the room to build a separate production section, and the Maserati sparkplugs were soon joined by batteries and then bulbs. This activity proved particularly useful to the company during the war and even grew in the postwar period. In fact, in 1947 SocietÓ Anonima Fabbrica Candele e Accumulatori Maserati ( Maserati Sparkplugs and Battery Factory ) was formed in 1947, whit quarters at Via Generale Paolucci 165. The small industrial activity grew rapidly during that period, thanks in part to an intense advertising campaign in trade magazines. The trademark and name were the same as the car manufacturing company, and few, in fact, were aware that the activities were separate, united only by the trademark. In the early '50s the ORSI family decided to divide the businnes activities among its members. Adolfo retained Maserati Automobili, brother Marcello  was assigned the Fonderie di Modena and sister Ida received the Fabbrica Candele e Accumulatori Maserati.

The advertising that represent the Maserati's products of the past.

In the euphoria of the postwar period, the Italians' desire to move about and have fun conflicted whit their lack of money, so motorcycles, scooters and auxiliary engines were coveted and sought after by that majority of society that could not afford a car. It was in those years, in 1953 to be precise, that Fabbrica Candele e Accumulatori Maserati decided to expand into the motorcycles business. But since they had no experience in that field, they aimed their sights at small but expert factory in Bologna: ITALMOTO of MASERATI S.A. and Mr. Giuseppe Migliori, principal shareolder of Italmoto, rapidly reached an agreement. In 1952 ITALMOTO was building a 160 cc. four-cycle motorcycle whit four-speed gearbox and telehidraulic suspension, in their plant at Via Ferrarese 171 in Bologna.

The entire operation was transferred to Modena. and production continued whit the Trident trademark (model 160 T4) former Italmoto. The company later assigned the creation of original new models to the desig department. The reliability and aesthetic purity of the German bikes undoubtedly had an influence on the designers, who the following year presented a 125 cc. called the L/T2, whose engine was reminiscent of the German DKW. Initial commercial success was encouraging and convinced the company to allocate greater resources to this new activity. The decisions were then forced on them when the sparksplugs-battery sector was beset by a crisis. This explains the orientation toward moped, even more popular and thus easier to sell. 50 cc. appeared in that period in two versions: T2/U and T2/d (men's and women's), wich differed in their frames: tubes the former, pressing the latter. The 125 cc. four-stroke models T2/TV and T2/GTS entered production later along whit two 50 cc. sport models: the 50/T2/S and 50/T2/SS. The latter instantly aroused enthusiasm among the young speed-loving set, which found it to be the ultimate in "fifties" whit its purely designed dual-beam frame, front and rear number plate and fake exhaust pipe: the utmost for a Fifty. There is also a "tale whitin a tale" regarding this model, born in the motorcycles sales outlet operated by LINA and GUIDO BORRI at Via Mazzini 54 in Bologna, first dealers for Italmoto and then for Maserati. The story tells that when the first shipment of scooters arrived from Modena, LINA BORRI took one look at the new model and in horror exclaimed: "what is this ugly toad? ". The success of the model, and of Ms. Borri's exclamation, was so great that the 50/T23/SS was christened The Toad. To confirm this, Guido Borri had some decals made depicting a toad in an attack posture and had them regularly applied to the white plate holders. To increase sales and publicity, Maserati S.A. organized some legendary races through its dealerships, such as the Motorcycle Tour of Italy, the Milan-Taranto and many others.

 The adhesive that symbolize the "toad" realized by Guido Borri.

Maserati reached its peak in the Motorcycle Tour of Italy 1957 entering nine bikes in the 125-cc. Formula 3 class  (model GTS). Meanwhile, new models were being introduced, like the prestigious single-cylinder 250/T4 ( derived from the short-lived 175 cc.) the two-stroke 75 cc. and the 125/LE. In 1957 Maserati S.A. reached its zenith, exporting two wheelers to South America, Europe and North Africa. Sadly, even the finest tales must come to an end. In 1958 the company fell on hard times. The customers quit paying and ordering; Maserati S.A. motorcycles plodded along for a few more years. Then, in a 1960, the end.