Maserati is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a premier showing at the 2014 Monterey Car Week of its stunning Alfieri 2+2 coupe, a brand-new throwback to the company's great two-door, race-inspired cars of the 1950s.
At an invitation-only event held at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as guests enjoyed champagne and canapes along with the roar of the vintage race cars, Maserati North America Peter Grady ripped the covers off the prototype Alfieri.
The Italian luxe automaker's Alfieri traces its heritage to previous Maserati 2+2s, like the 1957 3500 GT and the 1959 5000 GT.
The fully functioning prototype boasts a 4.7-liter, V-8 engine, capable of 185mph and a zero-to-60 mph pace of 4.7 seconds.
But it's not just a concept. The car has been approved for production, Grady said, and may be ready as soon as 2018.
Designed to be a "more accessible" Maserati, Grady said, the Alfieri will be priced somewhere in the middle of the current lineup, which features a $66,900 Ghibli at the low end and a $150,000 GranTurismo at the high end.
Stressing the car's heritage, Lorenzo Ramacioitti, Maserati head of design, said, "This car has a racing breed," but added that it also has "a kick of poetry."
The car's unusual name has a provenance: Alfieri Maserati was one of the original Maserati brothers who set up shop a century ago in the northern Italian city of Bologna.
Ramaciotti noted that Alfieri was an engineer, an entrepreneur and a racer, and called him "the founder of our brand."
The company became, in the founding family's hands, one of the most-loved and most-winning European marques. Its cars won races and took top prizes, including top prizes at Pebble Beach. The 1964 Maserati Mistral Coupe was named Best in Show at the 1968
Maserati came to this year's Pebble Beach car-palooza with a wide array of beautiful Italian automobile art.
Around the Alfieri were examples of the GranTurismo, Quattroporte and Ghibli, a beautifully restored 1959 Maserati 5000GT and some race cars, including the current MC-12 GT1, and a 1928 Maserati Tipo 26B and 1962 Maserati Tipo 151 -- which driver Derek Hill, just before the unveiling, fired up and drove off to join a historic race.
"This company is built on racing," Grady said. "We wish Derek well today."