Ghibli 3569 b

Maserati Classiche and the Certification of Authenticity - Learnings from its first year

In edition 3 of Alfieri Magazine, we announced the start of Maserati Classiche's new services, which include certification, parts and restoration consultancy. The department started the groundwork in 2019, and the official presentation followed on December 14th, 2021, to reflect the company's 107th anniversary. The company came late to the party because many official "classic programs" from other brands had matured over the years. Still, Maserati Classiche learned by analyzing what others did well and could have done better.

The team consists of Cristiano Bolzoni, Michael Micik, and their staff. The well-known and widely respected Fabio Collina is involved, obviously. He remains responsible for the Maserati Historical Archives and the documentation services, also known as the Certification of Origin. In this article, you'll learn about the Certification of Authenticity.

Also part of Maserati Classiche's service offerings is the reproduction of manuals, spare parts catalogues, and actual spare parts, e.g., bearing shells, in collaboration with Mahle/Vandervell. Also available to anyone wanting to restore a classic Maserati is consultancy from the Maserati Classiche Department regarding restoration. However, the team will not restore a car directly because today, many professional and competent partners, such as the workshops related to Classiche Masters, are available with expertise in these cars.

These efforts help to restore a direct relationship with the customer, who can find in Maserati Classiche a solid and reliable point of reference for every need, protecting him from speculation and clumsy restorers.

The spearpoint of the department is the Certification of Authenticity. With the certification of the first road car (a Mistral 3700 from March 1969 in Argento Auteuil) now more than 12 months ago, we're looking at the practical learnings from working with the department, and we uncover the contents of the exclusive certification box, which is what each owner receives after a successful certification.

Ghibli 0710

The process
The Certification of Authenticity by Maserati Classiche is not a contest to uncover the best car but to assess the authenticity of a vehicle. The inspection result is an overall percentage with everything checked, scored and weighed. This percentage is not announced or published, but if a car achieves more than 75%, it is considered authentic and awarded the Certification of Authenticity. So if you have two Ghiblis, one scores 75,1%, and the other 99,9%, they are both considered authentic. The department avoids the words "original" or "originality" but instead prefers to use "authentic" and "authenticity".

The following elements are inspected:

There are +300 criteria on the inspection list, each with its weight/importance. Some items on the list carry a veto right, meaning the certification procedure is paused immediately if a particular item is missing or incorrect. For example, the department halted the procedure for a Vignale Spyder because the car had a black correct-looking steering wheel but with a smaller diameter than the original. When the owner supplied the proper steering wheel, the inspection resumed.

A car must be in running condition to be eligible for certification. To apply, each owner must fill in a pre-certification document with essential info to help identify the vehicle's current state and provide recent pictures to avoid delivery of a car that can't be certified for some reason. When the car is eligible, it must be delivered to the factory in Modena. However, for clients in USA and Japan, and to avoid shipment to Italy, there are plans to organize a certification event at a local Maserati dealer. This will probably occur in the second half of '23. The actual lead time for the procedure for a streetcar is estimated at five to seven days and includes various oil analyses and engine compression testing. The lead time for a race car or a prototype is much longer due to the more complex procedure of material analysis of the chassis and mechanical components, historic documentation study, other experts consulting, etc. During that period and only if required, the Classiche department can perform minor maintenance work on the car. Certification costs do not include parts or labour costs to perform maintenance or repairs.

The cars
Since the programme's start, 33 cars have passed through the department, of which 30 received their seal of approval.

You should look for a silver plate near the driver's door to identify a certified Maserati. This plate is engraved with the car's chassis number and has the Maserati logo printed in a pinkish tint. Although the programme was initially aimed at GT cars, the programme already attracted owners of racecars. To certify these cars requires extensive historical research, technology to verify the age of parts and a lot more caution because fake vehicles or cars with the same chassis number might surface. And they already did, even in the classic GT lineup. Cristiano Bolzoni states that he was already involved in court for five dubious cases, one in the US about a racing Maserati. "But our policy is strict because when a car, based on our initial analysis, is understood to be dodgy, we report the situation to the competent authorities so that there is a legal process alongside our technical judgment." He continues to explain the three criteria that must be fulfilled before Maserati declares a car authentic.

"The first one is linked to the concept of authenticity: the fact that a car manufacturer certifies and documents authenticity is a fundamental element that was missing previously. Maserati had never addressed this before.

Second, the car must be representative and have specific and functional elements to be traced back to an authentic car in our Archives.

Third is the presence of a historical continuity specific to that car. This is a sensitive topic regarding race cars with competition history. Nowadays, it's impossible to find a Le Mans-winning car or a regular Mille Miglia participant in a chicken coop without anyone knowing anything about it for 50 years. If that ever happens, we should investigate. The first two criteria are complementary but must coexist with the third."

Ghibli 0038 Ghibli 3830

Observations and lessons learned
Whatever you update or change to your car, please remember that the certification philosophy focuses on the car's visual appearance. To quote a team member at the department: "A very important philosophy that should be underlined is the fact that the dignity of the car must be preserved. No problem for a car with signs of age, but it must be evident that the car is loved and respected. "

So the question is: what can be seen when walking around the vehicle, looking underneath the car, opening the trunk and hood and sitting inside?

Here are a few pointers:

Respect tire sizes for your specific car. When a tire shows /70 on its flank, it is non-original but sometimes acceptable.

Sills and lower rears on Sebrings and Ghiblis should be painted black. For Ghiblis, a J-shaped profile on the sill welding is not a must but nice to have as, in the past, these were thrown away during restoration.

A Ghibli arrived at the factory with a VW Polo washer bottle installed. Clearly, a big minus, but the team consulted with the owner, who agreed to replace it with an authentic bag.

Any US-spec cars converted to EU spec, e.g. Khamsin or Bora, are not eligible for certification. This is enforced by homologation rules and overseen by the Maserati Legal Department.

Modern brake boosters or brake lines are not accepted.

Based on the AM101 homologation specs of the Sebring series 2, it is accepted that a 3500GT(i) has a dual brake circuit. However, this non-original feature, often installed to enhance security, is allowed only if this conversion has been done with Sebring series 2 material (or Maserati parts used back in the day).

The diffs were always black when the car left the factory.

An additional electric fan is accepted as modern-day traffic is much different than when these cars were delivered.

An additional fuel pump is allowed if the original pump remains operational. The switch to operate one or the other should be placed out of sight.

Pay attention to the grey plastic gasket between the chrome front bumpers on the Mistral Coupé and Spyder. This is not a significant deduction in points, but it helps the overall aesthetics. Also, some bumpers come from Vietnam and do not fit well or follow the body's contour. You need bumpers that fit correctly to install the plastic gasket.

These are definite no-go criteria that render a car non-certifiable:

IMG 9661 48 C994 A3 4 DEB 401 B BCA7 922270581 C48 EF77 F1 DB E0 C4 4 D0 A 9 B66 D9 ABFC243 CE0 9 FB5 D4 AF F74 E 48 E0 ADBF CAADBD699315

The Certification box
This exclusive, well-designed box is tangible proof that a car was certified successfully. The casing boasts new and old logos and the year "1914". However, the eye-catcher is the metal Maserati name hand-coloured in red inserted in the box. The same logo is found on actual cylinder heads on the classic GTs.

The box slides out of its cover, and inside, you find an enamel plaque engraved with the chassis number, the envelope with findings (more on that below), the proof of certification, the photobook including photos of the period brochures, the model history and pictures of the actual car at the Maserati factory on the lawn in front of the Maserati showroom. You will also find two small pieces of artwork. One is the original concept of the Maserati logo, and the other pertains to the car model.

As mentioned, inside are the findings in Italian or English. The fact that you have that paper in your hand means the car is certified as authentic. Still, the notes may contain a few pointers or suggestions to improve the vehicle. Applying their suggestions benefits the car and the owner. Eventually, it causes a rise in the overall quality of all classic Maseratis.

Ghibli 1948

Bring your cherished classic Maserati to Modena
In 2020, we introduced Classiche Masters to the Maserati community - a network of 12 European workshops committed to the restoration and maintenance of classic Maseratis. United by a shared vision, we strive to elevate the quality of classic Maseratis and enhance their esteemed reputation. It goes without saying that the Certification of Authenticity plays an important role in our quest for superior quality. This has led us, the dedicated team behind Classiche Masters, to collaborate closely with the Maserati Classiche department since the inception of their programme. Through our collective efforts, we aim to keep the legendary Maserati spirit alive and roaring, one classic car at a time.

The same team that delivered the insightful Classiche Masters book and the engaging Alfieri Magazine is excited to offer a suite of convenient services for classic car owners seeking certification for their Maserati. Ensuring your peace of mind, we provide secure storage facilities in Belgium, along with the arrangement of grouped transportation for your vehicle to and from Modena, handling up to six cars at a time.

But our assistance doesn't stop there. We offer help with pre-certification, sourcing parts, and overall planning to ensure a smooth and seamless process. During your vehicle's time in Modena, we maintain regular contact with the Maserati Classiche department, closely following the certification procedure to ensure everything is on track.

If you'd like us to manage your car's certification process, or if you have a specific question, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at We're here to help.

Originally published in Alfieri Magazine #6 - March 2023

Ghibli 2458