Maserati is one of ZF’s most faithful clients: Since the 1950s nearly every model has been fitted with – at least optional – ZF gearboxes. Do you remember how the partnership with ZF began and who initiated it?
No, I don’t remember. I was born in 1951 and therefore in 1955 or 1956 I was still a boy, I don’t remember the fact. I studied a lot the history of Maserati, especially of that period and I understand why this collaboration was born. Maserati was building, I think, the most advanced gearbox and differentials for racing. These have always been a very strong Maserati point for racing and they were so good built that Aston Martin, when they decided to build their own Formula One cars, they asked Maserati to sell the Maserati gearbox to Aston Martin. Just to give you an idea of how Maserati quality was considered. But racing is one thing and the production of GT cars is another matter. Maserati has started to produce the GT cars already at the end of the 1940s and 1947 with the A6 1500 and then the 2-litre, but they were very little numbers – and the A6G 2000 were fitted with the Maserati gearbox. But in 1956 the company decided to start to produce a car in a bigger number, which was the 3500 GT. Maserati decided not to build everything at home, but to try to find the best suppliers for many components. For example the brakes: Maserati was building its own brakes for racing cars, which were the most advanced drum brakes built at that time. But when they decided to start the production of the 3500 GT, they contacted Girling for the brakes and they contacted ZF for having the ZF gearbox. Therefore, when they decided to start with a larger production model in order to have good quality and to have a clear cost of all the parts fitted on the car, they decided to contact the best possible suppliers of this parts and to focus Maserati only on projecting the car, building the engine and assembling the car, as the bodies were built outside the company like Touring or other companies. The contact between ZF and Maserati started then for this historical reason, because Maserati wanted to find the best possible supplier for the gearbox and they chose ZF to be their supplier. The relationship started at the same moment as the production of the 3500 GT and for the last small series of the A6G 2000. The last 2-liter cars built with a body by Frua and Allemanno were fitted with ZF-gearboxes.