1975 Maserati Bora

s/n AM117/49US/866, engine no. AM107/11/49/866

Metallic Red with White Leather Interior

The Bora was Maserati’s response to the Lamborghini Miura, which created a sensation when introduced in 1966 thanks to its stunning looks and mid-engined layout. Ferrari’s Daytona, introduced in 1968, proved to be disappointingly front-engined, but the Bora, launched in 1971, was not. Featuring Maserati’s fantastic quad cam alloy V8 directly descended from the 450S race car, the Bora was mid-engined with the appearance to match. The styling was striking and angular, with an intriguing combination of brutality and restraint, and was penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign. The rear clamshell was uniquely covered in glass and both the roof and A-pillar were covered in brushed stainless steel.

The Bora was also technically innovative. The sophisticated V8 (available in either 4.7 or 4.9 liter displacements), was backed by ZF’s excellent 5-speed transaxle. Suspension was independent all around, addressing a long-standing criticism of the Bora’s predecessor, the Ghibli, which had a live rear axle. Maserati was then under Citroen’s ownership, and their unique hydraulic braking system was included in the Bora. The hydraulic system also powered the retractable headlamps and height adjustable driver’s seat. There was a strong focus on usability and refinement in the Bora, which was a departure from the typical Italian exotic ownership experience. The luggage compartment was usefully shaped and surprisingly large, while the pedal cluster was adjustable, as was the steering column, to ensure a comfortable fit for a wider variety of drivers. The bulkhead between the engine and the passenger’s compartment was well insulated, including the fitment of double paned glass. Performance of the car was suitably exciting, with an engine output exceeding 300hp even in USA cars, and a top speed of over 170mph. During the car’s 7 year production run, fewer than 600 Boras were built, of which approximately half were 4.9 liter cars such as this example.

This particular example is a longtime California car that spent most of its life in the Sacramento area. It was reportedly sold new to a T. K. Johnson, who kept the car until it was purchased by a long term owner who bought the car in February of 1986 and lived in the town of Colusa, California. He owned popcorn and tomato farm as well as another Bora, both of which he kept until 2014. He had the car painted in 1987 by Performance Painting, who changed the color to its current metallic red. John’s Automotive, a shop in the area specializing in Ferraris and Maseratis, rebuilt the motor and transmission a few years ago, although the car has been used very sparingly since then.

Since being purchased out from the second owner in 2014, the car has had considerable mechanical work, including rebuilt hydraulic system, European bumper conversion, major service, comprehensive detail, and miscellaneous electrical fixes including the windows, lights, and horns. The hydraulic system work included the accumulators, pump, and hoses.

The car makes a strong impression cosmetically. The paintwork was done to high standards and is impressively nice considering its age. It has good gloss and there are few blemishes, with some light swirling, and some bubbles on the rear clam shell below the tail lights. There are also two bubbles, each of which is smaller than a pencil eraser, in the splash area behind the right front wheel. The body is straight and displays excellent panel fit and gaps. The brightwork is very good to excellent with some swirls but no major damage or deterioration. The glass is also very nice, as are the lights and lenses. The car has correct Carello twin-stalk windscreen wiper inserts. The wheels are excellent and wear Michelin XWX tires like any self-respecting Italian performance car of the period should. The car appears to have been Italian racing red previously.

The interior is in beautiful shape. The leather seats and door trim are nearly unmarked. The black center console trim shows minor aging while the dashboard, firewall, visors, and headliner are all very nice. The original instruments and switches are in excellent unrestored condition. The carpets appear to be original and are in nice shape as well. The steering wheel is also in very nice unrestored condition.

The engine compartment appears fundamentally unrestored but is extremely clean. Because the mechanical and structural components of these cars are all in plain sight, they tend to have somewhat disheveled engine compartments even when the engine itself is quite tidy, but this car has an exceptionally nice engine, transaxle, and frame. The inside of the rear clamshell is also very nice. The overall impression is very strong and suggests a well-cared for and regularly serviced car. The carpeted engine cover is in nice shape although the carpet binding is showing some wear. The trunk is large and usefully shaped. It has appears never to have been restored and has good carpet.

The car is a pleasure to drive. The motor is fantastic, being both powerful and well-tuned, with excellent carburetion. It is very tractable and sounds great, with a character that immediately reminds the driver of an American muscle car. The performance is exciting, even forty years on. The hydraulic system works well, and the brakes offer the powerful bite that is the trademark of the Citroen hydraulic system, although they are less abrupt that most other cars equipped with this system appear to be (including Boras). The gearbox is a pleasure with excellent synchromesh on all gears, even when cold. The clutch grabs authoritatively and the chassis and suspension are a pleasure, proving a communicative and surprisingly easy-going and low-effort driving experience.