This Maserati Khamsin, as offered by Classic Park, has one of the latest production numbers. It is number 392 out of 435. The car is carried out In the colour ‘Rame’ (copper) with ivory-coloured leather. The luggage compartment can be covered with a factory original rolling screen (‘rollo’). This is an extremely rare option. The complete history of this car is known.
The car was build and delivered to a Maserati dealer in Lecce, Italy in august 1980. He registered this car in 1983 and sold it to the company Autosport in Bologna in 1984. In 1985 it was sold again, to a man in Castelfranco Emilia who gave the car to his son in 1991. In 2000 the Khamsin was sold to The Netherlands where It had the same owner for 13 years. It was sold again in 2013 to its current owner who used the car in national and international events conducted by the Maserati Club. The car was been scarcely used by the current owner.
The Khamsin is fully original with matching numbers and was never fully restored. However, ten years ago it was painted in its original colour by a specialised Italian company. Photos of this paintjob are available. While the car was painted, the interior was cleaned as well. The car’s service history is detailed, with extensive services and specialised companies. The past couple of years, the cylinder heads, gearbox, differential and sub frame and parts of the hydraulic system have been reconditioned. The only non-original modification on the Khamsin is the stainless steel exhaust system. The state of maintenance makes this car very reliable and without a doubt suitable for long drives.
Driving this car is a joy, it makes a fantastic sound, is very comfortable and even by today’s standards seriously fast. The brakes are powerful, much better than other supercars form that era. The clutch is hydraulically operated and therefore very light to operate. This makes driving in slow traffic easy, especially in comparison to other cars from that era. The fully functioning air-conditioning system has been modernised to accommodate coolants that are used today.
New original Michelin XWX tires were fitted two years ago and only a few thousand kilometers have been driven since. The original magnesium(!) Campagnolo-rims are in excellent condition. The original instructions book, toolset and the spare wheel are present as well as a very extensive service history.
The Maserati Khamsin was developed as the successor of the Ghibli is the time that Citroen owned Maserati. The bodywork was designed by the famous Marcello Ghandini who at the time worked at Bertone. The car was introduced at the Turin Auto Show in 1972. The first cars were delivered in 1974. During the production, which stopped in 1982 after 435 cars, the car was barely further developed. The last batch of Khamsins differ from the first in only a few details.
The bodywork consists of a tubular frame with the body panels attached to it. An eye-catching and beautiful detail is the transparent rear panel so the rear lights seem to float and is as effective as parking sensors whilst reversing.
The 4.9 litre engine is a version of the illustrious light alloy Maserati V8 with double overhead camshaft and dry sump lubrication as used in the Bora 4900 and Ghibli SS. In the Khamsin is develops 320bph thanks to four double Weber carburettors and, in that day and age, a revolutionary electronic ignition system. This made a top speed of 270 km/h and a 0-100 sprint of 6.5 seconds possible. The engine is connected to a ZF 5-speed gearbox that puts the horsepower on the back wheels through a Salisbury limited slip differential. This differential and rear wheel suspension are connected to a sub frame that is mounted to the body through so-called silentblocks. The rear wheel suspension is completely independent with a double triangle and two springs and dampers units per wheel. To in comparison to the Ghibli, which had a classic rigid axle.
The influences that Citroen had on Maserati can be seen in the use of a complex high-pressure hydraulic system which controlled the brakes, clutch, power steering, height adjustment of the driver’s seat and the pop-up headlamps. This system is very similar to the Citroen DS and SM, however the Khamsin uses conventional steel springs instead of the hydro-pneumatic version.
Driving a Khamsin requires a bit of driving adjustment due to the light hyper-sensitive controls and very powerful brakes. Using the correct dosage demands a bit of practise. After a while, this combination together with the powerful and very torque-friendly V8 with the comfortable handling, becomes very addictive. Many experts say the Khamsin drives much better than a Ghibli and much more usable in the daily traffic than, for example, a Ferrari Daytona.
Specially for the US-market, a version was built with an exhaust gas recirculation system which lowered the output of the engine significantly. It also had a shorter final transmission. The US-version was made less attractive by adding a big front bumper and a nasty rear bumper with lamps below it. These alterations ruined the original design so badly, the Khamsin did not become the huge success that was anticipated. Today, nearly all the US-versions have been modified to European specifications, but still have a short transmission. Some American Khamsins were fitted with a 3-speed automatic gearbox. All of the American versions have ‘US’ in the chassis number and are less desired.
The introduction of the Khamsin was badly timed. Shortly after the introduction, the oil-crisis broke out which nearly killed the market for this type of cars. Therefore, the Khamsin never matched the success of the Ghibli with nearly 1300 cars sold. However, today the wedge-shape exterior with its sharp edges are popular due to the revival of interest in the cars of the seventies. This car is special because of the much more modern handling in comparison to other cars form that time. Because of the low production numbers the car is desirable and holds its value very well.
1980 Maserati Khamsin
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