Quattroporte, meaning four-doors in Italian, was a luxury automobile produced by Maserati at various times during its history. The first example was introduced in 1962, when Prince Karim Aga Khan ordered a unique automobile to be constructed from designs created by Pietro Frua. The following year, Maserati introduced their own version of the Quattroporte, based on the Frua designs.
Under the bonnet was a 4.1-liter V8 engine capable of producing over 20 horsepower. Top speed was over 200 km/h for this ultra-luxury automobile. A ZF five-speed manual gearbox was standard with an automatic offered at an additional cost.
From 1963 through 1966 a total of 230 examples of the Quattroporte Series I were constructed. In 1966, minor aesthetic changes occurred including the addition of twin headlights. A 4.7-liter V8 engine became available from 1968, that produced nearly 300 horsepower.
The Series II Quattroporte was introduced in 1974 and remained in production until 1978. It was shown to the public at the Turin MotorShow. There were drastic changes from the Series I to the Series II. The Maserati Company had been purchased by Citroen, and the Series II Quattroporte resembled this acquisition. The car now shared as chassis with the Citroen SM and had a very angular body, the work of Bertone.
Mounted in the front was a V6 engine which sent its power to the front wheels. The front featured swiveling directional headlights and the car rode on a hydropneumatic suspension.
The V6 engine was used in response to the Oil Crisis of 1973. This engine which produced less than 200 horsepower and its styling were not well received with the public, and only 13 examples of the Quattroporte II were constructed. Six of the thirteen cars were pre-production cars. The other cars were created between 1975 and 1978.
In 1976, Alejandro de Tomaso, Maserati's Chief engineer, along with his design staff, created the next iteration of the luxury Maserati. The cars sporty-intentions were re-established as it was given a rear-wheel drive layout and a large V8 engine. They were hand built and were one of the last to be created using this time-consuming, yet specialized method. Production lasted from 1979 through 1988 with a total of 1876 units being constructed.
In 1976 the '4Porte' was introduced, which brought a 4.2-liter engine and over 250 horsepower. The design was courtesy of Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign. The name '4porte' lasted until 1979, when the Quattroporte was re-established.
The fourth iteration of the Quattroporte was introduced in 1994 and remained in production until 2000. The design was courtesy of Marcello Gandini of Lamborghini Countach fame. It was powered by a 2.8-liter bi-turbo V6 engine which offered over 275 horsepower. Top speed was respectable, at nearly 160 mph.
Pininfarina was tasked with creating the latest version of the Quattroporte. It was introduced in 2004 and shared the same 4.2-liter engine with the Coupe, Spyder and the Gran Turismo.By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2007