After the runaway success of the Ghibli, in order to stay ahead in the game, Maserati set its sights on the production of a mid-engined sports car. Chief engineer Giulio Alfieri was over the moon — he had long dreamed of building an RMR-layout road car and here was his chance. Giugiaro, designer of the Ghibli, was asked to style a two-seater that would be ‘innovative but not revolutionary’. Between the two of them, they came up with a masterpiece.
The Tipo 117 was a steel monocoque with independent, all-round coil spring suspension and anti-roll bars. Alfieri used a 4.7 litre quad cam V8 engine, positioning it just in front of the rear axle and linking it to transaxle transmission in-line behind, containing the whole in a tubular steel sub-frame.
Production conveniently coincided with Citroen’s takeover of Maserati, giving the design team access to Citroen hydraulics technology, which they incorporated into the car’s gadgetry with gay abandon: hydraulic pop-up headlights, hydraulic disc brakes, a steering wheel that hydraulically tilted and telescoped and — for the first time on a road car — a hydraulic pedal box. Instead of the driver having the bother of adjusting the seat into position, the pedals automatically slid back or forward to engage comfortably with the foot.
Visually the car was a stunner. Giugiaro’s tour de force was to give definition to the roof and A-pillars by making them of brushed stainless steel.
The Tipo 117 was eventually called Bora — the name given to a powerful wind that gusts down the Adriatic coast; it certainly blew away the spectators at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show. It had everything that the public had come to expect from Maserati: style, solidity, reliability, comfort and effortless speed. It was the ultimate in Maserati road cars.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1971 (until 1979)
4,719 cc V8
Top speed of 170 mph (273 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.5 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The Maserati 4.7 I engine was not homologated in the USA so a slightly larger 4.9 I engine (which met with emissions requirements) was fitted on export models to America and later became standard. Altogether, 524 Boras were built of which 289 were 4.7 I versions.