The late Sixties and early Seventies saw the advent of mid-engined supercars from all major Italian carmakers in a big way. Lamborghini started the trend with its awesome Miura, followed by De Tomaso with its Pantera. Meanwhile, Ferrari had the Dino 206 GT and was already working on the 365 GT Berlinetta Boxer. Not wanting to be left behind in the race, Maserati, under Citroën ownership then, started work on its own mid-engined two-seat sportscar in 1968.
The styling was done at the newly founded Italdesign by none other than Giorgetto Giugiaro. His brief was to come up with a design that was modern but simple, sporty but not overly aggressive, innovative but not revolutionary.
When the Bora was finally revealed at the 1971 Geneva motor show, it was for everyone to see that the master-designer had delivered. Incredibly aerodynamic with a drag co-efficient of 0.30, the sleek, elegant design was widely acclaimed in the motoring world and also proved the inspiration for many future sportscars including the legendary BMW M1 and the Datsun 280ZX.
Powered by Maserati’s established 4.7-litre 90-degree V8 longitudinally mounted midship, the Bora’s five-speed ZF gearbox was mounted on its own sub-frame together with the rear suspension. With an output of 310bhp, the Bora managed a top speed of 260kph and did the benchmark 100kph run in less than 7.0 seconds.
Great emphasis was placed on making the car quiet and comfortable as well, with a world-first dual-pane sound-deadening glass separating the driver and the engine and a carpeted aluminium engine cover going a long way in making the cabin strikingly less noisy.
Handling was also impressive thanks to double wishbones all round with coil springs, telescopic shocks and anti-roll bars. Citroën’s cutting-edge hydraulics also found their way into the car in the form of adjustable clutch, brake, throttle pedals, driver’s seat and retractable headlights. From 1974, the Maserati Bora was offered with a 4.9-litre version of the V8 engine that was good for 320bhp. It went on to become one of Maserati’s most successful models ever before production ended in 1978.
Most Italian supercars from this era are collectibles. But the fact that only a little over 500 examples of the Bora were made and the French connection adds to its desirability.
Despite the limited production run, relatively well-maintained examples of the Bora can still be sourced from the US and European markets. Expect to pay anything between Dh150,000 and half a million dirhams depending on the car’s condition.
You could probably get more extreme models for that kind of money, but it’s highly unlikely that those cars would match the perfect balance between supercar performance and grand tourer comfort that the Bora offers.