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Maserati Classiche, their Certificate of Authenticity versus Certificate of Origin

In this video, we provide an overview of Maserati's two types of certification: the Certificate of Origin and the Certificate of Authenticity. To obtain the Certificate of Origin, simply provide photographs of your vehicle, its chassis number, and the internal engine number to Mr. Fabio Collina, responsible for the Maserati archive. Upon verification of these details, Mr. Collina will search the archives for historical documents related to your car, offering insights into its factory origins in Modena. On the other hand, the Certificate of Authenticity entails a more comprehensive process, necessitating the physical inspection of your car at Viale Ciro Menotti in Modena by the Classiche department. This examination involves rigorous evaluation of over 300 criteria, primarily focusing on verifying your car's authenticity and originality.

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Certificate of Authenticity - Our Update - November 2023

Certification Criteria Update - November 2023
As part of its ongoing efforts to preserve the authenticity of its classic models, the Maserati Classiche department has recently enhanced its certification criteria, with a specific focus on the originality of wheels and rims. This update in the certification process highlights the critical importance of not only matching the size and diameter but also ensuring the brand and design are specific to each model. It is mandatory that a classic Maserati is equipped with wheels that were initially available back in the day. This essentially means choosing between Borrani or Campagnolo wheels.

Borrani Wheels

For instance, if the car is fitted with Borrani wheels, as originally, no reproductions from any other brand are allowed. The availability of Borrani wheels today enables owners to keep their vehicles in line with original specifications. Borrani wheels were fitted to:
- Six-cylinder engine Maseratis
- V8 engine models like 5000GT, Mexico, and Ghibli.

Campagnolo Wheels

Campagnolo wheels are cast in different designs and used on models such as:
- Indy
- Ghibli
- Bora
- Merak
- Khamsin
- Kyalami
On some models, like the Indy and Ghibli, an option was the Borrani spoked wheel.

In the case of the Ghibli, Campagnolo was standard, and wire wheel Borranis were optional. This means you can fit both, but in the case of wire wheels, it must be the type for Ghibli. You cannot mount wire wheels from a 3500GT or Mistral on a Ghibli, even if they are Borrani. Similarly, for the Mistral, only Mistral-specific Borrani wheels are acceptable, not those from a 3500GT or Ghibli.

For the Indy, the specific Campagnolo cast wheel was standard, but as an option, there is the Ghibli wheel or Borrani wire wheel as well. In the case of the Khamsin, only the Ghibli wheel is acceptable, with no option for Indy-type wheels or other wire wheels.

The criteria for the typical and unique Campagnolo cast wheel on the Ghibli are slightly more flexible due to the rarity and specific challenges in sourcing these wheels. However, an exact copy of that wheel made of aluminium is acceptable and even recommended for safety reasons rather than refurbishing old magnesium wheels with cracks or porosity.

Overall Guidelines

The simple message is that if a classic Maserati has wire wheels, they should be made by Borrani. Only their brand and designs are accepted as authentic. This step represents Maserati’s dedication to maintaining the rich legacy and authenticity of the classics, reaffirming its status as a guardian of Maserati’s automotive heritage.

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Certificate of Authenticity - Criteria Explained

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.

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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."

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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:

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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