It was in 1926 that the founder Alfieri Maserati won the first Targa Florio in the brand’s history. This victory was extremely important for Maserati, a source of pride and the well-deserved reward for all the development work behind the birth of the first all-Maserati car, the Tipo 26. Alfieri Maserati finished first in his class in the Targa Florio in 1926, at the very beginning of the racing career of the Maserati Tipo 26, the first car in history to carry the Trident badge designed by Mario Maserati.
The Maserati brothers had spared no efforts in the construction of the first Maserati, and also premiered their new badge, the Trident, on their creation. The Maserati Tipo 26 was completed in April 1926 and the brothers decided at once that it would race in the Targa Florio. A racing debut is never easy, and the new car built on the basis of Maserati brothers’ development work arrived on the roads of Sicily with plenty of hopes but very few certainties. However, the Maserati Tipo 26 proved right from the start that it was a special car, faster and with better handling than its adversaries. Alfieri Maserati succeeded in finishing ninth overall in the race, and triumphed in the 1,500 c.c. class. In a race that saw a large number of cars withdraw due to technical problems, Alfieri Maserati crossed the finishing line in 8 hours 37 minutes and 11 seconds. A very important win and the first in the long history of Maserati successes.
Thirty-three cars from all over the world took part in the Targa Florio on 25 April 1926. Cars of all kinds gathered in Sicily, from the extremely powerful Bugattis to the lightweight Alfa Romeos, stripped of all their accessories to keep weight down, as well as the OM racing cars, and naturally, car number 5, the Maserati Tipo 26 driven by Alfieri Maserati. In the car with Alfieri was Guerino Bertocchi, who served as on-board mechanic. The entry rules for the 540 km Targa Florio race imposed no restrictions; competitors could use any car they liked. The only restrictions were imposed by the categories - the Tipo 26 was competing with an engine of 1,500 c.c. and weighed more than 600 kilograms.
With financial assistance from the Marquis Diego de Sterlich, in 1926 the Maserati brothers purchased ten Diatto 30 Sport chassis, put on sale by Diatto after the brand retired from racing at the start of the season. The Maseratis took a Diatto chassis and used mechanical components from the previous season to evolve the turbocharged Diatto GP 8C into the first Maserati in history, the Maserati Tipo 26. This car was fitted with a 1,492 c.c. straight eight engine with bore x stroke of 60 x 66 millimetres. It generated 120 horsepower at 5,300 rpm, enabling the Maserati Tipo 26 to reach a speed of 190 kilometres an hour with the aid of its three-speed gearbox. The wheelbase of 265 centimetres combined with tread of 134 centimetres at the front and 136 at the rear, which provided very good stability and excellent handling. For the Targa Florio, where the race rules imposed virtually no restrictions, the Maserati brothers decided to remove the Tipo 26’s tapered tail and replace it with a simpler, cut-off rear end, with two rear wheels fixed on the back to be ready at once in case of punctures.
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