Total Production: 369 1990 - 1996
Debuted on December 16, 1989, the Maserati Shamal was a small luxurious two-door coupe introduced by Italian automaker Maserati. Also called the Tipo 339, the Shamal was named after a hot summer wind that blew in large areas of Mesopotamia, in an established Maserati tradition. Produced until 1996, the Maserati Shamal was the flagship grand tourer of Maserati powered with a twin-turbocharged V8 engine. The Shamal topped the Maserati lineup of V6 Biturbo coupes in both performance and price. A total of 369 Shamals were produced during its lifetime.
Marcello Gandini was responsible for the elegant design of the Shamal, in a fashion similar to Bertone with a distinctly Biturbo heritage. Gandini was famous for also designing the Lamborghini Countach, the Bugatti EB110 and the Stratos. This was evident in the basic bodyshell, doors and interior, which were all carryovers from the Biturbo. The signature styling of Gandini was clearly evident in the slanted profile of the rear wheel arch, also used on the Quattroporte IV and the Lamborghini Countach.
Around the cabin was the center pillar wrapping as a roll bar that was always finished in black, which became a signature design style for the Shamal. The name 'Shamal' was finished in chrome lettering on both sides of the central pillar. The coupe rode on alloy wheels, had a small rear spoiler and a blacked-out grille with chrome accents. Six headlamps, each in individual housings illuminated the Shamal, with high beams with the then-new projector type.
On the inside of the compact coupe was room for two in extended Pelle Griga leather seat cushions with temperature control and the famous Maserati oval clock housed in the center of the dashboard while the gear lever was finished in elm. Though not as luxurious as the Maserati Ghibli II, the Shamal was definitely built for comfort and performance. With a top speed of 170 mph, the Shamal could achieve 0-62 mph in just 5.3 seconds.
Powering the front-engined Shamal was an AM 479 3,217 cc, DOHC, 32-valve V8 engine, twin-turbocharged with two IHI turbines and intercooled, producing 326 PS. A six-speed Getrag manual transmission and Maserati's Ranger limited-slip differential sent power to the rear wheels. Developed in collaboration with Koni the Shamal featured Maserati's Electronic Active Suspension Control system, which updated the adjustment on the shock absorber depending on road conditions and the level of comfort desired. Sources:
By Jessica Donaldson