Maserati Bora 4.9
"The brief called for a car that was clearly a Maserati, modern but devoid of the exotic look that unnecessary decorations can create, strikingly sporty but not inordinately aggressive. In short: innovative but not revolutionary."- Italdesign press release, 1971
Introduced at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, The Tipo 117 Bora was Maserati's first and only mid-engine V8 supercar, following the trend set by the Lamborghini Miura in 1966. Maserati commissioned Italdesign, Giorgetto Giugiaro's nascent design firm, to develop this new genre of Maserati. This design, while unmistakably Giugiaro, featured striking styling similarities with the DeTomaso Mangusta, BMW M1, and even the Delorean DMC 12. As quoted above, the Bora was strikingly sporty but not inordinately aggressive, a truly worthy Maserati GT car, with clear connections to the Ghibli that came before.
Underneath the striking Italdesign body, the Bora bore a 4.7-liter alloy V8 mated to a ZF 5-Speed transaxle and a fully independent double-wishbone suspension system designed by Giulio Alfieri, the co-designer of the legendary 250F Formula 1 car. Starting in 1973, a larger 4.9-liter engine was available as well, gaining 10 horsepower over the 4.7-liter version.
Along with being a capable mid-engine supercar, the Bora was considerably more practical than its competition. The Bora featured dual pane glass and a carpeted engine bay to greatly reduce engine noise, as well as a full sized trunk- a rare feature in a mid-engine supercar. The Bora was also one of the first new models to be released after Citroen gained a controlling interest in Maserati in 1968. As a result, the Bora featured innovations like hydraulically operated headlights and seat/pedal box adjustments. The Bora also featured a telescoping and movable steering wheel, making it much less of an ordeal to enter an exit than its competitors from Sant'Agata and Maranello.
According to Maserati Classiche documentation, this Bora 4.9 was completed in Maserati's Modena workshop in September of 1973. The new Bora featured the larger 4,930cc DOHC V8 engine, and was finished in striking Marrone Colorado brown, over a Senape tan Connoly leather interior. The car was equipped with Campagnolo alloy wheels, and fitted with the desirable manual-shift, 5-Speed ZF transaxle. The Maserati was destined for the US market, and had been ordered through the Los Angeles, California based Maserati importer - Maserati Automobiles, Inc. The car left the Modena workshop in November of 1973 after final assembly.
The Bora's first owner was most likely Californian, but the cars further early history remains unknown. By the 1990s, the Maserati was owned by renowned bay-area collector Tom Price, with whom the car remained for over twenty year, before joining a prominent Conneticut-based collection about three years ago.
Today, this example of Maserati's foray into mid-engine supercars is in beautifuly maintained condition, and presented in a very appropriate red over a tan interior. The Bora retains it's matching numbers 4.9-liter engine, and is offered with extensive records from Maserati Classiche - including copies of the certificate of origin, technical and aesthetic characteristics sheet, built sheet, final test data sheet, and shipping paperwork. This lovely example of Maserati's mature and spiritedly sporty supercar would be a great entry into high-speed rallies such as the Copperstate 1000, or a Concours d'Elegance.
Source/Photo Credit: Bonhams