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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Maserati Khamsin

Maserati Khamsin

No one can say that the car world lacks atmosphere. The Le Mans racetrack has a straight named after the 'mistral' - a cold wind, which blows through southern France. And, Ford's 'Zephyr' references a gentle breeze - which has meandered through many a piece of poetry over the years. But, there was another automotive legend, which played upon this ethereal theme. Maserati's 'Khamsin' was named after the scorching gusts, which sear through Egypt each summer. Marcello Gandini - of design house Bertone - was brought in, to draft the Khamsin's super-sharp shape. The fluid lines of the bodywork were fabricated from steel. Spanning the back was a glass panel - inside which, the tail-lights sat in 'suspended animation'.

Technologically, the Khamsin was a tour de force. Its four-cam V8 abutted the bulkhead. Front-engined, though it was - with a full tank of gas, weight distribution was 50/50. The motor was an all-alloy marvel. Its 320bhp gave a top speed of 153mph. Torque output was a splendid 354lb/ft - at 4,000rpm. The Khamsin's power-band stretched all the way from 800-5,500rpm!

When the Khamsin entered production - in '74 - Citroën were still a part of Maserati. A year later - and they were gone. The Khamsin, though, felt the full hydraulic force of the French giant. The steering, brakes, and clutch - plus, pop-up headlights, and driver's seat adjustment - were all Citroën-controlled. There was 'double-wishbone' rear suspension. Only the dashboard let the side down a tad. The haphazard array of dials and switches was in marked contrast to the simple elegance of the exterior. Mere nit-picking! Unveiled at the '72 Paris Show, the new Maserati was as stylish as you liked. And yet, it was also practical ... those huge torque reserves providing abundant carrying capability. And, on top of all of that - as its name implied - the Khamsin went like the wind!

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