Fifty years ago, Maserati presented the Bora. At the Geneva Motor Show, the public was introduced to the super sports car in which the engine was mounted directly behind the occupants. On March 11, 1971, the official history of the Bora started, which was produced until 1978 and also served as a model for the smaller motorized Merak. Designer Giugiaro had created something special, that much became clear fifty years ago in Geneva.
The lines of the rear-wheel drive Tipo 117 were special. But as said, the engine position was the novelty for a Maserati series-produced car. The Italians had experience in building a mid-engined sports car. This configuration was first introduced by Maserati on the Tipo 63 (1961). That rear mid-engine trend had undergone a spectacular development in Formula 1. Lamborghini had already equipped the Miura with this configuration. For Maserati, these developments were sufficient reason to ask Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign to develop a sports car with a “mid-rear” engine. Performance was paramount, but design, comfort and safety should also be mentioned in the same breath with the new Maserati.
Giulio Alfieri, who was later unceremoniously thrown out by a certain De Tomaso, put his signature on the technical part. The aerodynamics and styling thus came from Giorgetto Giugiaro. He created a two-seater coupé with elegant and straight lines. The approach was futuristic. The nearly tapered front was styled with wind techniques, while the front grille featured two rectangular vents with a trident in the center. The streamlined sides were centrally separated by a thin black rubber edge, the rear was drawn according to the Kamm principle.
V8 with a lot of power and four camshafts
The low profile and smoothly drawn Bora got the 4.719 cc V8 engine with two overhead camshafts per cylinder bank, which were driven by a chain. The Bora produced 310 HP at 6.000 rpm and a top speed of 280 kilometers per hour. The power unit, along with the transmission, was mounted longitudinally on a tubular subframe within the monocoque construction. Maserati fitted four Weber carburettors for the administration of a rich mixture to the combustion chambers.
The Maserati Bora also got all-round independent suspension (a first for a Maserati road car) with coil springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bars. Initially - and this is how the car was presented - McPherson front suspension with spring struts would be used. In combination with the rack and pinion steering and the wide tires, this turned out not to be a happy application for the Bora. For the production cars, Maserati therefore switched to double wishbone suspension.
Band with Citroën: hydraulics
The band with Citroën also became visible. In this case mainly from a technical point of view, partly because the ventilated disc brakes all round were operated via the advanced hydraulic (LHM) system. This also applied to the adjustable pedal section. The driver's seat and one of the most important features of the Bora, the folding and folding headlights, were also Citroën hydraulics set in motion. Suspension and damping were not hydropneumatic, but the aforementioned independent suspension was tuned in such a way that the Bora displayed comfortable handling.
Speaking of comfort: the buyer hailed a height and length adjustable steering column, power windows, the aforementioned adjustable pedal box, a five-speed gearbox, extensive use of leather and air conditioning. These beautiful things were housed in the expressive body, which had striking features such as a brushed stainless steel roof and the windshield pillars. The specific Campagnolo rims with closed lids were also a trademark.
The Maserati Bora was thus built until 1978, and hardly changed. The most important improvements and innovations were the installation of distinctive tire sizes to improve road holding. The early Boras suffered from track sensitivity, which Maserati solved with the installation of larger tires at the rear. Another change took place on the motor level. Later, the Bora was also available with the 4930 cc V8 engine (330 DIN-HP, 481 Nm torque), which also had a place in the Maserati Khamsin (10 HP less).
Top 20 most expensive new cars in the Netherlands
In the end, Maserati built 564 copies of the Bora, which was in the highest regions of sales prices in the Netherlands. It was more expensive than the Lamborghini Countach, and much more expensive than the Porsche Turbo (930) and the absolute top models from Mercedes-Benz. For example, anyone who wanted to spend even more money on an exotic toy in the last year of construction (1978) could only go to Ferrari and Rolls Royce. Or at Maserati itself. It indicates the degree of exclusivity attributed to this Maserati and its peers.