While most people would be very content with Maserati’s current offering, I for one am not very impressed by any of them. Sure they have Ferrari engines and lots of luxury features, wrapped in sleek bodywork. But to me, they seem too commercial and lack the character of the cars they offered back in the late 1980’s to the late 1990’s.
I am talking about cars like the Karif, the 222 4-valve, the fourth-generation model of the Quattroporte, and the updated BiTurbo Spyder which was launched in the fall of 1992. These cars to me had more character. However, my favorite Maserati is none of the models I just named. My personal favorite, a car I often call the best Maserati ever made, is the Shamal.
The Shamal was designed by Marcello Gandini (you know, the guy who penned the Lamborghini Countach and the Cizeta V16T), who is one of my all-time automotive design heroes. He took the simple, rather boxy lines of other Maserati’s at the time, and tweaked them to produce all types of alluring angles and curves. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I would say that the Shamal looks simply perfect.
The Shamal, which was named after a hot summer wind, also went like the wind, thanks to its 3.2-liter, twin-turbo charged, V8 motor. Max output was 326-hp, which might not sound like a lot these days, but since this car only weighs 1417-kg, that was enough power to propel it from 0-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds and onto a top speed of 270 km/h. That is plenty fast if you ask me.
The interior was nicely trimmed with leather and also had wonderful bucket seats, which meant it was aimed to be a great grand touring sports car. The fact that it could also entertain you on track days, was a nice plus.
The Shamal was in production between 1989 and 1996, in which time only 370 examples rolled out of the factory. So it is very rare. Because of its rarity, prices are generally quite high – expect to pay around $50,000 for a pristine example. To give you some idea, you can buy a 2005 Maserati GranSport for less, and a brand new Ford Mustang GT 5.0 will cost you even less.
Me, I’d rather have the Shamal instead. If I could, there is no question or a shadow of a doubt in my mind that I would own a Shamal. I love it that much. However, being an old, Italian car, I am sure it will not be the most reliable car one can buy. But even sitting still, a Shamal would put a bigger smile on my face than almost any modern car can.
So if you had never heard of the Maserati Shamal until now, I hope you enjoyed a brief look into this very interesting model from one of the most interesting brands in the automotive business.