Maserati Perfected The Everyday Supercar Back In 1971
Let’s begin with a comparison: across a seven year run, Maserati made slightly more than 560 Boras. Roughly three times more 911 2.7 RS models left the Porsche factory in 1973 and 1974. The statistic speaks to many factors, not least of which is that, at the time, Maserati offered a largely handbuilt model range, had little cashflow, and the Bora wasn’t able to race in stock form. Oh, yeah, and what we now refer to as “The Oil Crisis” further disrupted buyer confidence early on in the car’s run.
Back then, for whatever reason, well-heeled customers simply didn’t buy the Bora—perhaps it was too good as a road car and too advanced to be a race car—but today, I think the car is an overlooked gem.
These days, “mid-range” mid-engined sports and supercars are big business—I’m not talking price, but capability. The Audi R8 is a suitably easy commuting companion, as is the BMW i8, Lotus Evora, Porsche Cayman…and if you’re keeping score, usability came onto the scene only after Honda figured out how to make its NSX a largely worry-free companion for its owners.
Thing is, that’s precisely what Maserati was trying to do with the Bora—but in the ’70s, building a fast, comfortable, and (relatively) spacious supercar was a gamble that didn’t pay off for the automaker. With the benefit of hindsight (especially in knowing that Maserati’s next new vehicle will be an SUV from the Jeep Grand Cherokee platform), wouldn’t a fast, comfortable, spacious mid-engined supercar be just the ticket for a new Maserati?
While you wait for that to happen, consider the Bora.
Styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro with effortlessly elegant lines, Maserati’s then-“controlling interest” owners Citroën endowed the supercar with LHM hydraulics for the disc brakes, movable pedal box, headlights, and vertical movement of the driver’s seat. The car also had a dual-pane front windshield, an interior partially cribbed from the Citroën SM, sound deadening, huge front trunk…
…and would still do 171 mph, on par with the Lamborghini Miura. There’s not enough space here to get into exactly what engine (4.7-litre or 4.9-litre V8), gearing, or emissions controls to remove before you’d hit that speed, but this Bora offered by Gooding & Company with no reserve should take you most of the way there. A desirable US-specification model with the more powerful 4.9-litre race-derived V8 motor, the car has seen just three owners from new, and has been treated to a recent and extensive service.
With fewer than 2,700 miles, the car definitely wasn’t used for cross-continent jaunts and lengthy driving tours over its life. That said, there’s nothing stopping you from filling the trunk with luggage, the passenger seat with a partner, and hitting the road with your very own ’70s supercar.
– Three owners from new
~300 horsepower, 4.9-litre DOHC aluminum V-8 engine with four Weber 42 DCNF Twin-Choke carburetors, front and rear independent suspension with coil springs, telescopic shocks and anti-roll bars, and four-wheel ventilated hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 102.4 in.
Photography courtesy of Gooding & Company / Photos by Chip Riegel