While Maserati now focuses primarily on developing cars for consumers and has developed an impressive array of different models to meet customer expectations, the company actually started as a racing company.
In fact, Maserati built race cars for decades before it produced its first road vehicle. The Maserati brothers started producing supercharged race cars in the 1920s, and Alfieri and Ernesto enjoyed success on the track. Eventually, they decided to take their cars to the road, although World War II postponed this pursuit. Shortly after the war, Maserati released the A6. It was Maserati’s first road vehicle and one of the first post-war Italian cars to hit the market.
Maserati Ventures into the Realm of Road Vehicles for the First Time
As a racing company, Maserati built four-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines. When it came time to create its very first road vehicle, the company chose to employ a 6 cylinder design known as the A6TR, or Testa Riportata. The “A” honored Alfieri Maserati, who passed away in 1932. This engine is the source of the vehicle’s name. The A6TR had a detachable cylinder head, a design that became foundational for post-war era Maserati engines. The rest of the car was designed in collaboration with Alberto Massimino. While much of the design elements came from pre-war Maseratis, the company broke new ground with the A6. Maserati incorporated innovations like using a single-overhead-cam valvetrain for greater reliability.
The prototype for the A6 1500 was completed in Spring 1946, and its design was documented by photographer Franco Zagari. However, this prototype was quite different from the final design, as it used Spider Corsa bodywork for testing purposes. The final exterior was created by Carrozzeria Pinin Farina. He was commissioned to design a coupe around the same time that Ernesto Maserati was working on the new engine. The exterior that was ultimately used resembles the Cistalia 202, also designed by Farina.