Good ideas do not always come from within a company, so one needs to be prepared to listen to others and reflect on their suggestions. And if they are good ones to take the gamble and put them into operation.
Maserati was always ready to listen, and had the courage to test new product typologies. Legend has it that Gino Rancati, a journalist covering Modena and the surrounding areas, suggested to Omar Orsi (former Family owner of Maserati) that he should put a racing engine under the hood of a sedan. So at the car’s presentation, Omar said, indicating Rancati, “If it doesn’t work, he’s the reason why.”
The move from a sports coupe to a sedan, even though a sporty one, was not common to the point that no other constructor was tempted to follow the Maserati move until more recent times. The car was an immediate success, confirmation that the instinct of Orsi was as strong as the attraction of the world’s fastest saloon with a top speed of 240 kph, a package that encouraged the best known celebrities to queue up for one. Royalty, heads of state, actors, industrialist, sportsmen, they all bought the new car, which was simply called the Quattroporte: the four-door.
The body design was entrusted to Frua, which harked back Aga Khan’s 5000 GT, but in sedan proportions. Large glass surfaces, curved windscreen and rear window, an imposing body but one that was slender, with its smooth surfaces and squared volumes. The roof area was light and bright and pushed back from the long hood to introduce the triangular shape of the rear pillars that led to the Trident logo. The nose was made up of three narrow, rectangular head-lights and an intake; the cut-off tail had a trunk of generous volume. It was a clean yet dynamic design, without showy excesses, which oozed the authority of its particular proportions – the prevalence of the engine bay, the width, the tire dimensions – that imparted its sports personality.
The interior was also free of features included just for effect, aiming instead for exclusivity of materials (wood, leather, metal) the build quality and profusion of instruments and switches that had to be on that kind of car: it was a mobile lounge able to exceed 200 kph.
The cubic capacity of the 8-cylinder engine was reduced to 4200 cc, but that was still enough to generate 280 hp. The chassis in boxed sheet metal – not tubes – and the suspension were not wholly orthodox: at the rear there was De Dion suspension, but that gave way to the classic beam axle with leaf springs on the car’s second series. Noise and difficulty in setting up made the reliable and effective beam axle preferable to the potential advantages of the more sophisticated De Dion. A 4700 cc engine also joined the 4200 cc unit in the range. The style remained untouched, except for a few details such as the double headlights and the design of the wheels.
|Cubic capacity||4136 cc|
|Power output||260/5200 hp/rpm|
|Top Speed||230 kph|