A top car to drive before you die!
Was Maseratu Re-living Past Glories?
Maserati as a company gave up motor racing in 1957, as a result of a tragic crash involving a Ferrari, in which a total of 12 people were killed. They did however continue to provide vehicles and support to independent drivers.
Although by the time the Indi was launched their connection to racing was tenuous, they still remembered the fact that they have won the Indianapolis Grand Prix on two occasions in the past, back in 1939 and 1940; the only Italian manufacturer to do so. The name of the car was chosen to honour the Indianapolis race track.
How many could it seat?
It was billed as 2+2 but although the driver and front passenger could enjoy typical Maserati luxury, with not only reclining leather seats, but also electrically operated windows (very advanced for the era!) the accommodation at the back was cramped, to say the least. People over the age of about ten would probably find it very uncomfortable back there!
Was it fast?
The V8, four point two litre engine put out 260 brake horsepower, which was sufficient to power the car up to a top speed of 154 mph, and a 0 to 60 time of 7.2 seconds. Although these are not spectacular figures by any means they were quite impressive at the time.
Was it beautiful?
The body was not only aerodynamically designed but also elegant; with that touch of class that only an Italian designer such as Giovanni Michelotti could create. Headlamps were the pop-up type, designed so as to blend in with the bodywork for both aesthetic and aerodynamic reasons whilst not in use. These were operated electronically but had a manual override in case of failure. In due course power assisted steering, aircon, and a hydraulically operated braking system, courtesy of Citroen, were added to the specifications.
Were there drawbacks?
Whilst the original engine was powerful enough to give an impressive performance, further modifications included a 4.9 litre V8 engine, which propelled the car up to a maximum speed of 165 mph. This created a problem however. A combination of the small 14 inch wheels and the less than impressive braking system meant that he car was just too powerful for the brakes; stopping the car from speed could be a gut-wrenching experience.
Was it successful?
Although it was quite highly priced compared with most competitors, a combination of better than average power and superb Italian styling enabled Maserati to sell around 1000 of these beautiful cars.