The number of Italian V8-powered executive sedans can pretty much be counted on one hand, and most of those are Maserati Quattroportes. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Tipo 107 has seen better days, but could it use a better price?
Yesterday, Crack Pipe votes were breeding like. . . well, rabbits, dooming the beige '83 VW Rabbit to a 72% loss. Maybe if it had a lucky rabbit's foot dangling from its freakishly ginormous shift lever things would have ended differently.
You ever notice how certain mundane things sound exotic just because they're in a different language? If you're in deep shit, then your day is pretty much ruined. However, call it merda profondo then it doesn't sound half bad. And if an American manufacturer came out with a sedan and called it (cue Ben Stein voice) the four-door, it would be met with yawns of derision over so unimaginative a name. However, switch to Italian - the language of love - and, as Quattroporte, it becomes intrinsically mysterious and exotic, and you might want to have sex with it.
So with that in mind, I give you the 1964 Maserati Four-Door.
As I had noted, V8-engined Italian four doors are as rare as women Berlusconi doesn't want to sleep with, and I can only come up with the Maser, the DeTomaso Deauville, Lancia Thema 8.32, and the Iso Rivolta Fellatio. And those last two had American V8s under their limited production hoods. This Tipo 107 Quattroporte is also very limited in production (206 total), making its desirability all the more un-limited. Debuting at the Salone De Torino in November 1963, the Frua-bodied Quattroporte looked like a natural progression of the Grand Touring 5000 coupe. Four doors and an extended wheelbase provided the saloon with a capacious interior providing comfortable seating for five, and a boot which - at 25 cubic feet - could take a dead hooker for each passenger.
This car's interior is thankfully complete, but in places very tired, its Connolly leather driver's seat showing the significant wear evident of countless fart-knockings. The carpet too is tired, however the rest looks okay, right down to the Quattroporte script and expensive to replace Maserati- insignia analog clock in the dash. In the back, things even look a little better, but rest assured this car isn't ready for its close up, Mr. Demille.
Underhood you'll find Maserati's 450S-derived, double overhead cam V8. Rocking a 4,138-cc displacement, and 260-bhp, the engine breathes through 4 Weber DCNL5 down-draughts, and when on the tap it makes sounds like angels gargling Ava Maria from on high. Backing up the raucous eight is ZF's solid S5-325 cinque-speed manual, a box that I can personally attest can be shifted with authority, but not expediency. Power - in the first generation of the Tipo 107 - is sent back to a proper De Dion rear axle. Lockheed discs are fitted at each wheel for stopping prowess. And, at less than 3,760 lbs, it's not too Quattro-portly either.
Having those disc brakes may have been confidence inspiring in comparison to the contemporary, and much more common drums, but sadly in this car's case, they might not have been enough. Every picture tells a story, donit, and in this case it tells a tale of woe. While this Quattroporte is one of the grandest of tourers, it looks as though it toured too close to something, as its nose has been caved-in like the chest of a high school math club geek. Strangely, it's only the outer fenders - and leading rectangular Marchals - that have suffered the greatest indignity, the trident grille and surrounding opening appearing untouched. That means it either suffered multiple accidents, or hit something with sizable wings, like say, the batmoble. Also, the front bumper is conspicuous by its absence. The seller claims that the engine and cooling system remain undamaged, and the car otherwise seems complete and unmarred, but regardless, that nose looks worse than Mickey Rourke's.
While that's a crime against car-manity, it does mean that this Maser is being offered at a kind of fire sale price. At only 200 and change built, it may not be as uncommon as the 34 5000s that Maserati birthed, but it's still damn rare. It's also a pretty sweet ride and one that you wouldn't cash for clunking, even if given the chance. That's why this Quattroporte's $9,500 price tag - along with a big -ol' bucket of Bondo - could garner somebody a budget exotic.
With that in mind, what do you think about that price for this suffering sedan? Is $9,500 low enough for you to get your mind's English wheels turning? Or, is that too much for something off the dented can aisle?
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