The Making Of A Maserati at Petersen Automotive Museum

Those in Los Angeles can take a rare peek into the auto brand's illustrious design process

by Kyle Raymond Fitzpatrick

The Italian automaker Maserati has teamed up with LA’s Petersen Automotive Museum to create an exhibition dedicated to the brand’s production and design processes. Known as “Made In Italy,” the exhibit stretches across the museum’s five galleries. The experience lets visitors wander through the making a Maserati, from selecting fine material to the final ride in a finished product— which, in this case, is their 2018 Levante.

The exhibition provides many key takeaways. After the initial designing and modeling phases, work on a vehicle starts with sourcing materials, which are neatly displayed in the initial exhibition space—with corresponding explanations of each item’s use: aluminum shapes the body of the car, blonde wood is used for trim and the dashboard, steel creates the car’s vertical supports, and leather hides cover everything from seats to the shift knob. The creation of cars—specifically cars like Maseratis—require an unsurprising eye for detail manifested in materials selected.

The exhibit then shifts to an interactive tour of Maserati’s factory projected onto the museum’s wall. Using a screen, visitors can explore this space to see car parts assembled in a near life-sized replica of the space. The process featured—and stretched into the next gallery via a deconstructed vehicle—explores the Just-In-Time manufacturing philosophy originated by Toyota, a process where parts are supplied as-needed instead of stockpiling things that ultimately go unused.

Visitors are then treated to a one-on-one interaction with the final materials that go into the car (Like Ermenegildo Zegna collaborative leathers, for example) before shifting attention to the finished product: a glowing cobalt 2018 Levante. While the mid-sized SUV is the product of very detailed work on display, the vehicle is also notable for having a “50:50 weight distribution” and the “lowest center of gravity” compared to similar vehicles.

“Made In Italy” is a breeze through Maserati’s design process set within, and against, the Petersen’s sprawling meditation on the art of automotive design. It’s a triumph of automotive craft and, in many ways, a fine example of all the necessary design details that help create luxury vehicles.

Images by Kyle Raymond Fitzpatrick