With last weeks whopping, landslide inclusion of the McLaren F1 (96.8% yes) we asked ourselves, "How many more hot-shit performance monsters do we really need in this here Fantasy Garage?" Along with the F1, we've got the king of the world Veyron and the over-performing Ford GT. We've even (somehow) still got the RUF RT12. With that in mind we've decided to slow things down (a bit) and ask you to contemplate a true heart string plucker, the amazing Maserati Bora. And actually for its time, the Bora could fly. Have a look.
Created to compete with the likes of Lamborghini's madcap Miura, De Tomaso Mangusta and eventually Ferrari's Berlinetta 365 GT4 BB, the Bora therefore had to be a mid-engined 2-seat supercar. Unlike the other Italians however, the Bora was to be more mature, reserved and even a touch understated. This was part of the plan from the very beginning, as evidenced from the ITAL DESIGN Press Release:
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.
With these cues in mind, Giorgetto Giugiaro turned to his own masterpiece, the Ghilbi for inspiration. The Ghilbi sported the classic lines of a front-engined GT, similar in proportions to the Jaguar E-type. But with the Bora's engine nestled longitudinally behind the seats, Giugiaro's pen was free to create something entirely new and quite futuristic looking, especially at the 1971 Geneva show where the Bora wowed everyone in attendance. You don't have to squint very hard to see a correlation between the Bora and BMW's iconic M1. A whole lotta DeLorean, too. Although he penned the design by hand in a wind tunnel free environment, Giugiaro managed to achieve a drag coefficient of just 0.30. Also cool, the A-pillars and roof were constructed out of brushed stainless steel.
This slippery shape meant that if fitted with the right engine, the Bora could go very fast. Maserati reached into its bag of tricks and came back out with the familiar 4.7-liter DOHC V8 (the same one also found in the Ghilbi). Now fitted with four Webers, the mill was good for 310 hp @ 6000 rpm and a very respectable 325 lb-ft of torque at @ 4200 rpm. Displacement was eventually upped to 4.9-liters and output grew to 320 hp and 335 lb-ft of twist. This meant the Bora could reach 166 mph, among the world's fastest in the 1970s.
Refinement was also a key concern. In order to bridge the gap between wild supercar and gentlemanly grand tourer, Maserati chose to mount the engine (and transmission) separately from the steel monocoque in its own subframe. To cut down on NVH Maserati spent considerable time developing and tweaking the four flexible engine mounts. They even opted to carpet the aluminum engine cover and rear glass was double-glazed to further reduce the racket. A coilover suspension set up (again — at all four corners) and anti-roll bars further smoothed things out.
Note the horrendous US-spec, Malaise Era Bumpers
What's not to love?
The innovation didn't stop there. The Bora features four-wheel independent suspension, a first for a Maserati. The decision to build the Bora just so happened to occur at the same time that Citroen purchased Maserati. You know what that means — hydraulics! High-pressure French-tech was used to operate the vented disk brakes and the pop up headlights. In fact, the Bora's seat was on hydraulics. I say "on" because the seat didn't move backwards and forwards, nuh uh. It only moved up and down, hydraulically. But what if you're a tall gent? Well sir, the pedal box (gas, brake and clutch) can be slid to accommodate your height. Hydraulically, of course. As you may has guessed, the Bora's adjustable pedals were a world first. The steering wheel not only tilted but telescoped and with standard AC, the Bora was known as the comfortable Italian exotic.
Buff books of the day (like Road & Track) declared the first mid-engined Maserati to be, "one of the best-handling cars money can buy." Part of the reason for the car's well sorted handling was that Maserati test driver Guerrino Bertocchi hated mid-engined cars. In fact, he would go out of his way to find explain what exactly sucked about the Bora's handling. This caused a series of delays in the development process, but ultimately because of Bertocchi's constant nitpicking the Bora became one of the most accurate and compliant high performance cars in the world.
Beautiful, exotic, luxurious, fast, innovative and Italian. If those attributes don't make a Fantasy Garage car, I don't know which ones do. Happy voting.
The Jalopnik Fantasy Garage, So Far:
RUF RT12 | 1978 Aston Martin V8 Vantage | Honda 1300 Coupe 9 | 1931 Daimler Double Six 50 Corsica Drophead Coupe | Ferrari 288 GTO | Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 | 1970 Buick GSX 455 | First Generation BMW M Coupe | Bugatti Veyron 16.4 | Ford GT | Citroen SM | Porsche 928 | Jensen FF | DeTomaso Vallelunga | Audi Quattro S1 | Buick GNX | Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R | Honorary Fantasy Garager: The LS1 Powered Rotus | Lamborghini LM002 | Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe | Ferrari 250 GTO | Bentley Speed Six | Talbot-Lago T150C SS Figoni et Falaschi Raindrop/Teardrop Coupe | Porsche 917 | Audi RS4 Avant | Lamborghini Miura | Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 | BMW E39 M5 | Jaguar E-type | Mercedes-Benz 300 SL | Dodge Charger/Challenger R/T | Toyota 2000GT | Facel Vega HK500 | Voisin C28 Aerosport | Bugatti Type 41 Royale | McLaren F1
[The Jalopnik Fantasy Garage appears every Wednesday. Readers vote the cars in or out. The idea is that we'll have 50 cars in our Fantasy Garage, the world's greatest mechanic and endless wads of cash. Would you like to nominate a car for the Fantasy Garage? Write firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Fantasy."]