Post Sale Update: This Maserati sold for $4,559 after 21 bids on eBay.
Originally founded in 1914 by five brothers (Carlo, Ettore, Alfieri, Bindo, and Ernesto) in Italy, Maserati was purchased by Adolfo Orsi in 1937. After Orsi’s death in the early ’50s, the business was divided into three different outfits: a foundry known as “Fonder di Modena”, “Fabric Candele e Accumulatori Maserati”, which produced automotive spark plugs, batteries, and lightbulbs, and the Maserati everyone knows today, “Maserati Automobil”.
Adolfo’s sister, Ida Orsi reportedly inherited Fabric Candele e Accumulatori Maserati, and seeing the growing demand for economical transportation offerings in post-war Italy, decided to get in on the scoot game. By 1951, a 125cc prototype was developed, two years before FCAM bought out Italmoto — a small outfit based in Bologna — in ’53.
Maserati’s very first production bikes were supposedly 160cc, four-stroke “touring” models, rebadging the Italmotos with the Maserati name, a “Tipo 160/T4” moniker, and of course, the famed Trident logo (which is derived from the “Fountain of Neptune” statue from 1565 in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore). From there the outfit founded a new division tasked with developing and producing its own machines, the first of which was the L/125/T2 — which was heavily “influenced” by DKW’s RT 125 — before moving on to more than a dozen other models ranging from 50-250ccs (including a wacky utilitarian three-wheeler servicar-type thing).
Coincidentally around this same time there was a marked decline in the need for batteries, spark plugs, and lightbulbs, prompting FCAM to lean into motorcycle production even more. Like the majority of moto marques in post war Italy, Maserati decided to primarily focus on efficient, small displacement bikes (offering different frames for male and female riders). Maserati even went out of its way to design small utilitarian mounts that aesthetically mimicked the larger, sexier, “big boy bikes”, by utilizing faux megaphone exhausts, race number plate holders, wraparound front fenders, and other “hip” features that attracted a younger demographic.
Over the next half decade, Maserati saw its lineup grow to include a total of 15 different models. In addition to hucking wares in its native Italy, Maserati also began exporting two-wheelers to the rest of Europe, the US, and even North and South Africa. Unfortunately as quickly as the business had grown, it just as quickly began to bleed out. A myriad of elements such as the rise of the affordable microcar (thanks Fiat), a decline in overseas sales, and intense competition from other brands like MV, Moto Morini, and Benelli ultimately lead to the closure of Maserati Motorcycles when in 1960 FCAM went into liquidation. For a more extensive look at Maserati’s moto-history, I recommend checking out the writeup on this UK Maserati site.
This particular Trident-wearing example is reportedly a 1956 Tipo L/125/T2. The model was supposedly produced from ’54 to ’59, and was powered by a 123cc, two-stroke single that featured a three-speed gearbox and generated 4.8hp at the 5K mark. The little Italian runners tipped the scales at just 176lbs (or 80kgs) dry, and offered a supposed top-speed of around 40mph. Produced over the same years, Maserati also offered a higher-spec, Tipo 125/GT/Super, which boasted 7.25 horses and a 60mph top-speed.
Though this ’56 Maserati isn’t the cleanest example, it is said to be in solid mechanical shape, with the seller claiming it “Fires up first kick nearly every time,” though they do point out it could “use a tune up”. The seller also included a video showing the thing in action. On the cosmetic side, this specimen has a few minor issues…
“The left hand emblem was loose and is held in place with double sided 3m tape,” reads the ad. “The headlight and shocks are incorrect. Not sure about the seat, but it fits. The paint has been touched up here and there over the years, but a significant amount of paint seems to be original.”
You can find this 1956 Maserati Tipo L/125/T2 for sale in Spokane, Washington with bidding up to $1,575.02 (but the reserve is met)