This month, Maserati celebrates the Bora, the first mid-mounted rear engine road car in the brand’s history. Fifty years have passed since 11 March 1971, when the Geneva International Motor Show provided the backdrop for the debut of the Maserati Bora, produced until 1978 with 564 cars built. Following the trend that had already revolutionised Formula 1 racing cars over previous years, Maserati asked Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign to come up with a mid-mounted rear engine sports car with enhanced performance, design, comfort and safety.
The engine was the tried-and-tested 4700cc V8 producing 310 horsepower at 6000rpm (to be joined by the 4900cc unit two years later), mounted lengthways on a subframe installed on the monocoque. The car’s distinctive features included retractable headlights to prevent aerodynamic drag, projecting differential on the rear axle, independent suspensions on all wheels (for the first time in a Maserati), disc brakes, dry-mounted single disc clutch, five-speed gearbox and telescopic suspension dampers.
The Bora combined comfort and performance and had a top speed of over 280km/h, ensuring great driving pleasure thanks to the engine’s exceptionally agile response and the quiet interior. While the car’s engineering design carried the name of Giulio Alfieri, the aerodynamics and styling were by Giorgetto Giugiaro who created a two-seater coupé on simple, elegant lines, giving the Maserati Bora a balanced appearance.
The approach was futuristic, with a low, slender, almost tapered front styled to cut through the air, while the front grille included two rectangular air vents with a Trident in the centre. The perfectly sleek sides were centrally divided by a thin black rubber trim, while the rear ended in a Kamm or truncated tail. The result was a trendsetting, streamlined car perfect for the rock-and-roll spirit of the ʼ70s and which still delights fans today.