Adolfo Orsi (1888 – 20 December 1972) was an Italian industrialist, known for owning the Maserati automobile maker.
Coming from a poor family from San Lazzaro, near Modena, he lost his father in 1899. Later he created a successful business in the scrap iron, steel mill and farm equipment manufacturing area, employing several thousands in Modena and surrounding towns, as of the late 1920s. His interests also included running the trolley company of Modena, and being involved with the local soccer team, Modena F.C. in its successful early years.
With his brother, Marcello, he was involved in a Fiat dealership, the Fiat A.M. Orsi (1935). He bought the financially troubled Maserati company in 1937, employing his son, Omar Orsi as managing director (1937); three of the Maserati Brothers were retained on ten-year contracts on the engineering team (1937–47). Orsi moved operations from Bologna to Modena (1940), near his steel plants (the Fonderie Riunite), for automobile as well as spark plug manufacturing. Orsi hired his brother in-law Alceste Giacomazzi, as new general director, and succeeded in bringing Ferrari employee Alberto Massimino over to Maserati (1944–52), as well as hiring the Argentine driver ace Juan Manuel Fangio (1953).
Orsi faced trouble, evident as Maserati was temporarily closed for restructuring (1949), and also from steel mill workers' strike action against Orsi, who refused to hire communists, leaving numerous dead (9 June 1950). The foundries were reopened, but sold off (1952), and the family empire split among the siblings (1953). Adolfo kept the Maserati car manufacturing business, his brother Marcello was already involved in the foundries, and sister Ida Orsi took charge of the motorbike manufacturing (the Società Anonima Fabbrica Candele Accumulatori Maserati, 1953–60).
Orsi accepted a deal with Argentina, as president and motor racing supporter Juan Perón, placed one large order with Orsi for machine tooling (1954). Due to Revolución Libertadora and the exile of Perón, receiving payments for the order was problematic, as they were for a similar deal with the Spanish government. The financial problems resulted in Maserati being placed under controlled management. The remnants of Maserati was handled by the creditor, Credito Italiano.
Orsi remained in active management of Maserati until 1968, when Orsi decided to sell the balance of his interest in Maserati to Citroen who had earlier purchased a major holding in Maserati in anticipation of a motor contract for the Citroen SM
Omar's son is Adolfo Orsi, Jr. (born 1951), is still involved consulting on the history of Maserati.
- Adolfo Orsi and Ferrucio Lamborghini from howstuffworks.com
- Where are they now? from oldracingcars.com
- Officine Alfieri Maserati Spa history from fundinguniverse.com
- La Maserati prima, durante e dopo Adolfo Orsi from motorvalley.it
- Red fog from Time (January 23, 1950)
- Maserati off the track from Time (April 14, 1958)