Showing posts with label Maserati. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maserati. Show all posts

Maserati MC12

Maserati MC12 2000s Italian supercar

The Maserati MC12 cost £515K. 50 were sold - twice as many as were needed to let the competition version race in the FIA GT World Championship. For your half a million quid, you got a Ferrari Enzo, into the bargain. Well, sort of! Much of the MC12 was based on the Enzo - as a by-product of the Ferrari Maserati Group partnership. Replication ran to the carbon monocoque, V12 engine, steering wheel and windscreen. The MC12's 6-litre motor was detuned a tad from that of the Enzo - but still managed to provide a cool 622bhp, at 7,500rpm. Top speed was 205mph. 0-60 took 3.8s.

Remarkably, the MC12 took a mere twelve months to make. Maserati's engineers were, of course, aided by the Ferrari Enzo factor. Even so, to take a top-grade supercar from drawing board to production line in a year was impressive, to say the least. Design duties fell to Frank Stephenson. He had previously masterminded the Mini Cooper. In terms of the MC12's aerodynamic package, a quick glance told you all you needed to know. Seriously slippery was understatement!

The MC12's white and blue paint mirrored Maserati's 'Birdcage' racers. The Tipo 60/61 machines had competed in sports car events in the early Sixties. The racing theme continued inside. Lightweight carbon-fibre was used for the MC12's cabin - including the fully-harnessed seats. Practical problems arose from the rear window - or lack of it! A quick removal of the targa top, though, soon sorted the shortcoming. Other than that rear visibility 'glitch', the MC12 was reasonably user-friendly. Sequential gear-changing was straightforward, steering nimble and the ride smooth. The sole issue, then, for owners, was sourcing spare parts. Best way around it was buying a Ferrari Enzo as back-up. Or - better still - two MC12s. Maserati probably preferred the latter option!

Maserati Bora

Maserati Bora 1970s Italian classic supercar

The Bora was Maserati's response to the Lamborghini Miura. It matched the latter's mid-engined layout. Ferrari's Berlinetta Boxer also joined the mid-engined party. But, it arrived late. The Bora beat the Boxer to it by a couple of years. The Bora was launched in '71 - and the Boxer in '73. The name of the game for the mid-engined cars was handling. In Maserati's case, the Bora was an improvement on the Ghibli's front-mounted motor. Now they had a car which could 'handle' however much horsepower was thrown at it. And the Bora produced plenty of it. Its 4.7-litre Maserati V8 was a motor of a certain age, by that point. Indeed, it now had twelve years on the clock. But - with 310bhp on tap - drivers were not much fussed about its timeline. The Bora was good for 175mph. That left many a motor half its age trailing in its wake!

The Bora was styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro. Previously employed by Ghia, he was now in his own studio. It went by the name of Italdesign. The full creative force of the firm was brought to bear on the Bora. Elegantly space-age, the car radiated Seventies chic. In other words - finesse and excess, in equal measure.

In engineering terms, too, the Bora exuded class. Even with its V8 heart beating for all it was worth, cockpit noise levels were almost eerily low. That had a lot to do with Citroën - who now controlled Maserati. They brought a host of hydraulic parts to the Bora table. Its brakes, pedals, seats and steering-column were precision-fitted by the French firm. The Bora was Maserati's flagship model - so, equipment levels were high. In the whole of its nine-year run, the sole modification Maserati made was a slight engine enlargement, in '76. Throughout that time - in true Italian style - the Bora delivered a bravura blend of power and panache!

Maserati Ghibli AM115

Maserati Ghibli AM115 1960s Italian classic sports car

The Maserati Ghibli AM115 was styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro. At the time, he was on the Ghia payroll. The maestro considered the Ghibli among his finest designs. It is not hard to see why!

Flat out, the Ghibli delivered 165mph. Even at that speed, suspension and handling were solid. And not withstanding its steel bodywork - meaning the Ghibli was no lightweight. Equally impressive were its four potent disc brakes.

Highest-spec Ghibli was the V8-engined SS. As you would expect, its torque curve was out of the top drawer. And from way down low in the rev range, too. A ZF 5-speed 'box did its best to stay with it. Suffice to say, acceleration was not an issue! Capacity was 4,930cc. Power maxed at 335bhp. Just 1,149 Ghiblis were built. In '67, the AM115 was a 2-seater supercar. Maserati were on a charge. Ferrari and Lamborghini - take note!

Maserati Khamsin

Maserati Khamsin 1970s Italian classic sports car

The Maserati Khamsin was the latest in a line of things automotive to reference the weather. Le Mans has a straight named after the 'mistral' - the cold wind, blowing through southern France. Ford's 'Zephyr' namechecked a gentle breeze - which has meandered through many a piece of poetry over the years. Another car, too, played upon the ethereal theme. The Khamsin was a scorching gust of air, which seared through Egypt each summer. Maserati brought in Marcello Gandini - of design house Bertone - to draft the Khamsin's super-sharp shape. Its fluid bodywork lines were fabricated from steel. Spanning the back was a glass panel - inside which, tail-lights sat in suspended animation.

The Khamsin was a technological tour de force. Its four-cam V8 engine 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 354lb/ft - at 4,000rpm. The V8's powerband stretched 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. Rear suspension was double-wishbone. Only the Khamsin's dashboard let the design side down a tad. Its haphazard array of dials and switches clashed with the simple elegance of the exterior. Unveiled at the '72 Paris Show, the new Maserati was as stylish as you like. Yet, it was also practical. The huge torque reserves of its V8 powerplant further boosted its already abundant carrying capabilities. And, on top of all of that - as its name implied - the Maserati Khamsin went like the wind!

Maserati 250F

Maserati 250F 1950s F1 car

The 250F was from a strong stable. Maserati was a red-blooded équipe, if ever there was one. Founded in '26, it took the team just eight years to become the world's biggest builder of single-seater race cars. For the first twenty years, Maserati was devoted solely to racing. So, by the time it got round to building production cars, it had learned a thing or two!

The 250F hit the grid in '54. It was fully prepared for the challenges ahead. Its straight-six motor came with three twin-choke Weber carburettors. Like most other GP cars of the era, its engine was front-mounted - and powered the rear wheels. Top speed was 185mph. Engine capacity was 2,490cc. The chassis comprised a tubular steel frame, independent wishbone/coil spring front suspension, and a de Dion rear axle. In '57, Maserati unleashed an updated 250F. It was fitted with a 5-speed gearbox and fuel injection. Power had been upped to 270bhp. Bodywork had been revised. The new frontal area was stiletto-sharp. Braking, too, had been improved. The 250F was now at the peak of its development cycle.

Juan Manuel Fangio was Argentinian. He was also a driving ace. When he climbed into the 250F's cockpit he was already a motor racing legend. The beefed-up version of the car would bring him his fifth World Championship. En route to that, his win in the German GP - at the Nürburgring - has gone down in folklore. Peter Collins - in a Ferrari - was the hapless victim of a genius at work. The Ferrari had been way out in front. But that was before Fangio decided to turn up the wick. Four-wheel drifting his 'Maser' - with robotic precision - he caught up with Collins. As he duly went by him, it was as if man and machine melded. It was the greatest performance either of them ever gave. Motor racing as science. Sporting endeavour of the highest order. Fortunate, indeed, were those in attendance that August day, in Germany. The Maserati 250F - piloted by possibly the best driver of all time - had scaled rarefied racing heights!