The Umberto Panini collection, temple of Maserati cars

modena collezioneumbertopanini 2

In 1996 Umberto Panini bought a collection of 19 vintage Maserati cars, thereby saving it from being auctioned in England: now they are the main nucleus of a museum that is open to the public.


Since its foundation, the Maserati company decided to keep a range of the vintage exemplars it created. Shown to the public from 1965, due to the subsequent changes of ownership of the company, the nucleus of 19 vintage cars risked to be dispersed. In 1996, by the will of engineer Alejandro de Tomaso, the cars were about to leave for England. The destination was an auction sale at Brooks planned for the 2nd December, 82 years and 1 day after Maserati was founded.

The news of the auction sale immediately mobilised authorities and enthusiasts: the shared goal was to keep acting until this kind of heritage would be allowed to remain in Modena and in Italy. The Modenese Panini family set out to resolve the situation – yes, the same known for the stickers and the publishing house – in the person of Umberto. The nearly youngest brother, inventor of the “Fifimatic” for putting stickers in envelopes and owner of agribusiness named “Hombre”, managed to recuperate the heritage, preventing it from going to auction.

It is at “Hombre”, at the gates of Modena, that this collection of 19 historical Maserati cars landed, all of them available for viewing together with two-wheeled exemplars bought subsequently. Here, for example, is where you can admire the
A6GCS Berlinetta Pininfarina, only released in four exemplars. With its “Barchetta” bodywork, it won the Mille Miglia in its category three times. The Bora is also exhibited, designed by Giugiaro – one of the famous models named after winds, as well as the Maserati models driven by Fangio and Nuvolari and the 1959 “Birdcage”.

Among the Maserati cars in the collection, the famous Tipo 420/M/58 Eldorado stands out: driven by Stirling Moss, this car fought for first position at the 500 Miles of Monza (also known as “Race of Two Worlds). It is the first Italian competition model to be publicised by a company unrelated to the world of cars. The sponsor’s name was Eldorado, a company that commercialized ice-cream, the name of which ended up identifying the vehicle in the collective imagination.

This is therefore a story with a happy ending, giving 19 Maserati exemplars a new lease of life.  And a new scent, the scent of Parmigiano-Reggiano DOP produced by “Hombre”.