Last updated Tuesday, July 29, 2014 08:23am

The Maserati Tipo 26B (produced 1927-1930). Maserati's year-long centenary celebrations start in December. — Picture courtesy of MaseratiThe Maserati Tipo 26B (produced 1927-1930). Maserati's year-long centenary celebrations start in December. — Picture courtesy of MaseratiMODENA (Italy), Dec 3 — A host of special events are scheduled over the next 12 months as the Italian sports and luxury car maker marks the milestone of surviving at the sharp end of the motoring industry for 100 years.

The year began with one car company with a chequered history — Aston Martin — celebrating its 100th year in business, and, as it ends, another equally sporty car company, with an equally uneven past, is reaching the same milestone.

Maserati is planning a series of activities to celebrate its first 100 years across all of its major world markets which will culminate in the official Maserati gathering in Modena September 19-21.

Over 250 classic Maseratis will be expected at the event which will include track races, processions and history lessons. Some of the marque’s greatest-ever creations will also go on display at the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari at a special exhibition also scheduled for the second half of 2014.

The exhibition at the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari is only possible because the car company is currently owned by Fiat — Ferrari’s parent company. Back when Maserati was in its racing pomp, the two marques were huge rivals.

Maserati opened its doors for business in Bologna, Italy, on December 1, 1914, led by Alfieri Maserati and two of his brothers, Ettore and Ernesto. And although it was focused on mechanical innovation and technology, it took the company 12 years to build its first car, but what a car it was.

The Tipo 26 beat all comers on its way to clinching victory at the Targa Florio and Indianapolis 500 and managing nine Formula One wins. In fact, its racing pedigree was greater and stronger than that of its closest rivals, Alfa Romeo and later, Ferrari.

And, like its rivals it also moved from the track to the road, and in 1947 launched its first passenger car, the A6 Grand Tourer, which although delightfully styled, was much slower than its Italian contemporaries.

However, the car that cemented Maserati’s place in road car history was the original Quattroporte, which in 1963 was the world’s first four-door luxury sports tourer. The same decade saw Maserati taken over by Citroen and entering the supercar fray with one epically designed car after another, from the Indy to the Bora and the Khamsin.

But Citroen sold the company to De Tomaso in 1975 and its fortunes hit the skids. It wasn’t until Fiat bought the brand in 1993 that it enjoyed a renaissance that it’s still undergoing today, thanks in no small part to serious financial investment and access to Ferrari, Fiat and Alfa Romeo technologies. — AFP-Relaxnews