I have restrained myself this year from gushing about Maserati’s 100th Anniversary; made plenty mention of Jeep this year, as you have probably read; honored the Dodge Brothers, and kept you up-to-date on their namesake’s titillating ponycars. All the while, playing it cool about Maserati on the outside. On this inside, however, I have been bursting at the seams.
I have paid quiet homage to one of my favorite automakers. I never sported more than a small pin to proclaim my celebration (a pin which I wore every day until I recently lost it). However, I have revisited the history and delved into the world of Maserati. A world which led me to an interesting collection. The Umperto Panini Collection. I must tell you about it.
I will revisit “Who Has The Best Toy Box?” very soon, but I think the Panini Collection should be kept separate. If for no other reason than one man has a dedicated stash or a marque who’s anniversary has been surrounded by nothing but glee and good news.
Maserati has always kept its most significant vehicles, engines, components and prototypes to illustrate the historical, technical and design evolution of the company. In May 1993, F.I.A.T. bought Maserati from the DeTomaso Group and the Maserati Collection was moved to a new facility, still open to the public, but within the company’s factory. In July 1996, DeTomaso legitimately requested that the cars and engines of the Museum Collection be returned. Maserati accepted the request, purchasing part of the Collection 19 of those purchased cars were sent to England to be sold at auction in London. Modena would have lost a treasure in December 1996 had the Walter Veltroni and Giuliano Barbolini , the Minister of Culture and Mayor of Modena not stepped in.
The Panini family was asked to step in and Umberto Panini immediately took action to prevent the historic Maserati cars from being lost. Thanks to the intervention of the Panini family, the collection was withdrawn from sale and returned to the city of origin, housed in the premises owned by the Panini family.
This salvaged collection is a Maserati enthusiast’s treasure, indeed. Nuvolari’s Maserati 6C 34, Colombo & Fantuzzi’s fabulous design, the A6GCS 53 Berlinetta Pinin Farina, the Tipo 61 BirdcageE Drogo and 16 other beautiful examples of the marque that exemplify the history of the brand.
The Umberto Panini Collection is located within the Hombre organic farm of the Panini Family where Umberto’s fortunes were secured, just outside the outskirts of Modena, between the towns of Baggiovara and Cognento.
What significance is the collection? It would have been snatched up by private collectors and either tucked away to never be seen again, fought over by unlearned heirs or passed around like a sow’s plate amongst the super-rich. The history and heritage of a city, a company and its people are painstakingly preserved and on display for all the world to see.
Not to worry, if you aren’t head-over-heels for Maseratis. There is an impressive collection of motorcycles and other makes including Mercedes Gullwing and dozens of Pre-war cars. It’s Italy and this is a farm, so there’s even a tractor or two, or three…or thirteen.
If you are interested in learning more or visiting the museum, please visit the Collection’s website at paninimotormuseum.it for more information. There, they celebrate Maserati every day…and why not?