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Kyalami.jpg
Maserati Kyalami
Maserati
aka
Production 1976 - 1983
Class Grand Tourer
Body Style 2+2 seat GT Coupe
Length 181 in (4598 mm)
Width 72.8 in (1848 mm)
Height 49 in (1245 mm)
Wheelbase 102.4 in (2600 mm)
Weight 3748 lb (1700 kg)
Transmission ZF 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic
Engine 4.2 and 4.9 litre V8 engine
Power 255 hp (290 hp, 4.9 litre)
Similar De Tomaso Longchamp
Mercedes SLC
Designer Carrozzeria Frua

The Maserati Kyalami (named after South Africa's Formula 1 circuit) was a new model rushed into production after Alessandro de Tomaso took helm of the company.

De Tomaso, never shy of copying anything good (confer his Deauville, a smoothed-out copy of Jaguar's XJ6, or his sports car prototype shown at the Turin Salon in 1974, a virtual carbon copy of Fiat's X1/9), took Tom Tjaarda's design of the De Tomaso Longchamp (itself inspired by the Mercedes 450SLC) modified the front and rear end to create a distinctive Maserati feel for the new car. The interior was also upgraded to incorporate classic Maserati elements such the steering wheel and instrumentation.

The Kyalami, a four seater notchback coupe, was launched at the 1976 Geneva Motor Show and was initially available with Maserati's 4.2 litre V-8 engine (255 hp) and, starting in 1978, with a 4.9 litre-V8 delivering 290 hp, both engines coupled with a ZF 5-speed manual transmission or on request a 3-speed automatic. Mechanically the Kyalami was closely related to its contemporary Quattroporte, also offered with the same engines and gearboxes.

All told, 155 Kyalamis were built between 1976 and 1983. Due to its rarity very little was written on magazines about the Kyalami. However, direct owner experiences confirmed the fundamental validity of its design, with a well-balanced, stiff chassis offering excellent body control and an agile, very easy to control handling. The performance offered by the big bore 4.9 V8 was also excellent thanks to the abundant power and torque delivered by the engine. Its performance was a notch above all its contemporary competitors; that the Kyalami did not achieve the success it deserved is a sad story of missed opportunities.


Photos

Sources

  • Cancellieri, Gianni et al. (Hrsg.): Maserati. Catalogue Raisonné 1926-2003. Automobilia, Milano 2003. ISBN 88-7960-151-2


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