1978 Maserati Bora

1978 Maserati Bora 1978 Maserati Bora 1978 Maserati Bora Coupe
Chassis #: AM 117/49-US 960
Sold for $132,000 at 2015 Bonhams : The Scottsdale Auction.
Giorgetto Giugaro and his new Italdesign studio was tasked with designing a new mid-engined two-seat coupe. The result of their work was to become known as the Bora, named for the maritime winds that blow off Italy's Adriatic coastline. The car was given a steel chassis and body monocoque and rested on a 102-inch wheelbase. The first several hundred examples were given Maserati's 4.7-liter 90-degree V8; later examples were powered by an enlarged 4.9-liter version, which offered more power and torque. The engines had a block and cylinder heads formed from aluminum. The engine was mounted longitudinally behind the cockpit. The engine, suspension, and transmission were cradled by a separate steel rear subframe. Giulio Alfieri was tasked with designing the suspension layout. He chose upper and lower wishbones with coil springs at both ends.

With the 4.9-liter engine developing 320 horsepower and offering a top speed of 162 mph, the Bora was certainly in supercar territory. The GT car rested on Campagnolo alloy wheels, and featured a brushed stainless steel roof and windscreen pillars. The interior was rather luxurious, with leather used for on the bucket seats, dash, door trim, center console and rear bulkhead. Standard equipment included electric windows; most examples were given air conditioning.

This particular example was produced near the end of production. It was part of a small collection of high-performance Italian sports cars assembled by their late owner in northern California. It has seen little use and is in rather neglected condition. It is currently finished in Maserati Red, but it appears to have been originally painted yellow.


By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2015
The Bora was introduced in 1971 and was produced until 1978. During its production lifespan, over 570 examples were produced. The vehicle was built in 2-door coupe form with the engine placed in the middle and powering the rear wheels. Ferrari had been in the process of creating a mid-engined sports car while Lamborghini and DeTomaso had their Countach, Miura and Mangusta. The mid-engined Ford GT40 had even made a few appearances at LeMans. After seeing this trend, Guy Malleret, the administrator of Maserati, gave Giulio Alfieri permission to begin design and production of a mid-engined sports car. Alfieri began work on the technical aspects of the vehicle.

The body of the vehicle was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro for Ital Design. Officine Padane of Modena, Italy had been given the responsibility of the fabrication of the all-steel body panels. The engine cover was made of aluminum. The steel monocoque chassis featured a tubular steel subframe in the rear. The engine and the five-speed manual ZF transmission were mounted on the subframe. The result was a solid design that reduced vibration and road noise.

The Bora was internally known as the Tipo 117 and the creation of the prototype was started in October of 1968. By the middle of 1969, a road worthy version could be found traversing the highways. At the 1971 Geneva Auto Show it was debuted to the public in production form.

The suspension was independent, comprised of coil springs, anti-roll bars and telescopic shocks. Large hydraulically operated ventilated brakes provided excellent stopping power. The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering was effective and responsive. While the headlights were not in use, they were stored, hidden away in the hood of the car adding to the sleek look of the car.

The 90-degree 4.7-liter V8 engine featured four Weber 42 DCNF downdraught carburetors and electronic Bosch ignition, resulting in an astonishing 310 horsepower to propel a very light 1520 KG vehicle to a top speed of around 170 mph. Between the engine and the driver was an extra carpeted aluminum panel to provide extra sound insulation for the occupants. The rear window was double-glazed. In 1973, an American version was produced which received an emissions-friendly 4.9 liter V8 that produced 300 horsepower. To comply with other safety regulations bumpers were added to the front and rear of the vehicle, degrading its appearance. In 1975 the 4.9-liter engine became standard on all Boras, now producing 320 horsepower. During its production run, 289 examples were created with the 4.7-liter engine and 235 with the 4.9-liter V8.

The interior was elegant, at least in terms of a sports car. The bucket seats were adorned in leather. The door trim, center console, dash and rear bulkhead were given the same treatment, outfitted with rich leather. The steering column and the height of the drivers seat could be adjusted to accommodate most drivers. If that did not work, the pedal box could be moved backwards or forwards. The windows were electric, another uncommon amenity on a sports car. The spare tire could be found in a cover above the gearbox and behind the engine. There were 10 cubic-feet of luggage space located in the front of the vehicle under the hood.

The Bora answered all the demands of the Maserati legacy. It was a quality automobile with style, reliability, and comfort. Even though the plush amenities added to the overall weight of the vehicle, it was still a sports car that handled well, and very responsive to the demands of the driver.


By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2009

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