Featured: The Maserati Quattroporte is Brutally Beautiful

The Maserati Quattroporte is Brutally Beautiful

By Sean Lorentzen
August 15, 2013
7 comments

There are cars out there with so much personality, so much presence, that they can be likened to people. ’32 Ford roadsters are like James Dean in his prime. Early Chevy Cheyenne pickups are the Marlboro Man, rugged, chiseled and all-American. Aston Martin DB9s are supermodels, perfect bone structure and all.

The 1984 Maserati Quattroporte, though? It’s a sharp-suited Mafia enforcer. I’ve never seen another car that exudes this much quiet, barely-restrained menace. There’s not a single curve anywhere on the Giugiaro-designed bodywork; instead, it’s all angles and razor-sharp creases. There’s nothing that immediately catches the eye at first glance, but if you look closely you can see the aggression smoldering underneath the surface. The grille juts out obstinately from the front clip, providing a strong focal point that directs your gaze right to the trident emblem, as if to leave no doubt about its heritage and connections. Long dual chrome exhaust tips just barely peek from underneath the rear bumper, flashing like knives hidden under French cuffs. The 4.2-liter V8 growls softly at idle and at low RPM, building to a low-pitched throaty snarl with more throttle. It’s at those higher RPMs that the Quattroporte drops its restraint and shows its true, violent colors. That snarling soundtrack becomes the backdrop to stunning acceleration. It may not be the absolute fastest car I’ve ever been in, but having a car of this size pull that hard is still a source of major excitement.

Weirdly, though, that restrained brutality doesn’t extend to the interior. Instead, the inside of the Quattroporte is refined, a walnut leather and white mahogany lounge with wide, plush buckets up front and delicate, spare trim. It’s a supremely comfortable place to sit and watch the world fly past at 120 miles an hour.

This particular Quattroporte has some incredible history all its own. According to the current owner, Manuel Minassian, the previous owner was personal driver to former Gambino family boss John Gotti. The man smoked five packs of cigarettes a day, and Minassian relates the story of how he had to detail the interior seven times, eventually using baking soda, to free the car from the smell. The Anthracite Green paint is this one’s original color, although a recent respray has left the car looking fresh. It’s a stylish, brutal machine, and I can’t help but love it.

Photography by Sean Lorentzen and Andrew Schneider

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Kimmo Jokinen
Kimmo Jokinen

@Robert Cuellar: I have owned one (Quattroporte IV) for four years now. The experience has been totally different than I had expected (according to all the rumours around Biturbos). The car is absolutely reliable, parts are affordable. And what’s most important: the driving experience is immersive. Here is a tribute to my QP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dOr8InItIs

About the parts: the enthusiast network around Maseratis is strong. No matter the model, no matter the language you speak, you will get help from fellow Maseratisti. For example, I have maintained a list of preferred parts suppliers: http://hyvakello.fi/maseratiparts/

Randy Hartmann
Randy Hartmann

I agree with Brett. This and the old school Aston Martin Lagonda are the most outrageous sedans ever designed! If I ever his that mega lotto prize….there will be two spots in my dream garage for a black Quattroporte w/ tan leather interior and a blue Lagonda w/ magnolia interior!

Bradley Price
Bradley Price

So glad to see I am not the only one who loves these! I think the interior is just the epitome of 80s Italian luxury. So cool!

Robert Cuellar
Robert Cuellar

These Gen III Quattroporte models intrigue me too. Agree – great angles from the maestro Giugiaro for the time period and still has great appeal today. I would love to know more about the De Tomaso era of Maserati. I have read in the past of unreliability (namely the Biturbo) but I have never owned one or known someone who has owned one. How reliable are they? What about accessibility of parts?

transaxle73
transaxle73

Hello Robert, the Biturbo model actually doesn’t have a reputation as a reliable car, but we must make a distinction. Surely you are to avoid the early carbureted models (although in the U.S. I don’t think have ever been exported). But the last series like 4.24 model (my favourite Biturbo) is a car which Maserati factory were solved several problems of the previous series, and there are no problems with spare parts, at least in Italy. I can assure you that the Biturbo’drive is a real adrenaline rush, with a kick in the back that is not easily forgotten. Last… Read more »

Marten Broekens
Marten Broekens

I like the design of these, but I think the wheels are too small and the track is too narrow to really be a true gem.

Brett Evans
Brett Evans

These and the Aston Martin Lagonda are two of my favorite sedans. I love how angular and severe they are.