Maserati has become an iconic car brand over its long history. The company has been making cars since 1914, and since then their cars have become well-known for their flashy looks and the fact that they depreciate so much that you can get a used sports car with a Ferrari-built engine and a four-digit price tag. By the way, if you want people to think that you’re extremely wealthy but don’t actually want to spend a ton of money on a car, that’s the way to do it.
Maseratis have also become rather unreliable in recent years (which certainly contributes to how fast they depreciate). And while that may be so, no one can argue that the exterior of pretty much every Maserati model is sleek, attractive, and awe-inspiring. Part of the classic Maserati aesthetic, of course, is the logo that appears on the badges. That three-pointed trident is recognizable among car enthusiasts and laypersons alike. But where does that logo come from? Did the Maserati brothers, Alfieri, Ettore, and Ernesto, just think that the trident looked cool? Or was there more behind the creation of this symbol that has become so iconic?
The Fountain of Neptune
These days, Maseratis are made in Modena, Italy, but the company was first founded in Bologna, Italy. While the hometown of the Maserati brothers was Voghera, they decided to set up their first production plant in Bologna after World War I and that’s when Maserati was born.
If you’re ever been to Bologna, you’ve probably seen the inspiration for the Maserati logo. In the city’s central square, the Piazza Maggiore, sits the Fontana del Nettuno (which translates in English to “Fountain of Neptune”). The fountain was built by Flemish sculptor Giambologna between 1563 and 1566 and, as usual, the Roman god of the sea is depicted with his three-pronged trident. This statue would serve as the inspiration for the Maserati logo.
The Logo Is Born
The idea to use the trident from the Fontana del Nettuno as the logo came from Marquis Diego de Sterlich, an Italian royal who was a friend of the Maserati family. It was around 1920 that the logo was actually created and it wasn’t until 1926, when the Maseratis started actually building vehicles from scratch, that the logo appeared on a finished vehicle, the Tipo 26.
While the trident represents the power of the god Neptune and the fact that Bologna is quite close to the sea, the colors of the Maserati logo also hold special meanings. The color blue is meant to represent the sea, the source of power for the god Poseidon, while the red trident is meant to represent the power of fire, the same fire inside a Maserati combustion engine that allows them to roar down the road.
While Maserati has moved further inland to Modena and away from the dominion of the god Poseidon, the logo has remained largely unchanged throughout Maserati’s long history. Even today, the logo pays tribute to the city of Bologna, the Maserati brothers, and the ocean that inspired them.