The Maserati Shamal was introduced to the public on December 16, 1989, so literally ten days after Santa Claus and eight days before Baby Jesus. It doesn't get more last minute 80s than that.

The Shamal - named after another ancient wind - was launched in Maserati's possibly worst year, just when the Chrysler TC was about to go out of production in 1990 after Alejandro de Tomaso and Lee Iacocca came to realize their terrible mistake. But it was ready in late '89.

Maserati's brand new luxury sports coupe was based on the much criticized Biturbo of course, but came with Bertone's famous angular wheelarches and replaced the 2+ liter twin-turbo V6 with a 3.2 twin-turbo V8 producing 326 horses.

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While that alone was almost an unfair advantage, the Shamal also sported a Getrag six-speed manual, a limited-slip differential and Koni's brand new electronically adjustable suspension.

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It was a 170 mph car with projector headlamps (holy moly!), extremely wide rear fenders and a shift knob made of elm. It also looked like a tuner car straight out of the factory, but that's what makes it so Miami Vice.

Maserati build about 369 Shamals until 1996, and it seems at least two of those ended up in Tokyo. Considering that the Biturbo's career started in 1981 just like the DeLorean DMC-12's, the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk's or Ozzy's Diary of a Madman's, the Shamal represents the perfectly evolved version of a great, but poorly executed idea with a fancy clock in its middle.

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As a bonus, I highly recommend you to watch this partly Japanese, partly Italian language video about the Shamal with Marcello Gandini and Alejandro de Tomaso, plus the awesome Chubasco concept.

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The trick is to turn on the captions translated to English. It's at least as entertaining as a Maserati Shamal at full boost.

Photo credit: Maserati and aldenjewell