Platform sharing is hardly an uncommon phenomenon. The Volkswagen Group does it very successfully, with a number of models across their plethora of brands using the same (or very similar) underpinnings and drivetrains, yet still outwardly looking very different and appealing to diverse buying demographics.

However, the Maserati Quattroporte II (built from 1974-78) is undoubtedly one of the worst, most cynical hardware-sharing cars in automotive history, and it’s an unfortunate blight on a storied brand that has given us many memorable offerings.

The Quattroporte II premiered at the 1974 Paris motor show, and it was conceived to fill the void left by the first-gen model, which was discontinued in 1969. But where its predecessor had a lusty V8 (in 4.1-litre and 4.7-litre capacities) and rear-drive platform sourced from the Maserati Indy, the newbie was a mediocre saloon, ill-deserving of the hallowed trident badge. The problems stemmed from the 1973 oil crisis (resulting in severe austerity measures in Italy) and the fact that Maserati was now under the ownership of cash-strapped Citroën. As a result, the Quattroporte II was cobbled together using an extended version of the Citroën SM’s chassis. This meant it had a (cringe) front-wheel-drive format and Citroën’s trademark hydropneumatic suspension and swivelling directional headlights.

The whole lot was clothed in Bertone bodywork, penned by the great Marcello Gandini. It’s fair to say the Quattroporte wasn’t Gandini’s finest handiwork — it was all straight lines and sharp edges. But the biggest deal breaker was the weedy Citroën-sourced 3.0-litre V6, which eked out a modest 206bhp. This unit could barely propel the 1,600kg saloon to 200kph, so it was a far cry from its potent, stylish predecessor.

Making matters worse, Maserati was unable to gain EEC approval for the Quattroporte II, so most of the cars built were sold in the Middle East and in Spain, where such approval was not necessary.

 

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