Maserati Kyalami

The 1970s produced some true automotive lemons. It was a decade when barefaced badge engineering and gluttonous V8 engines were all the rage, and nobody cared that these big bruisers cost three arms and a leg to run. The Kyalami is one such monument to excess, a copy of the De Tomaso Longchamp with Maserati’s all-alloy V8 on board instead of Ford’s 5.8-liter cast-iron lump.

The Kyalami was meant to compete with the Jaguar XJS but failed hopelessly. Plagued with electrical gremlins, this was a noisy, bulky, and unrefined machine that was neither beautiful nor poised. Yet despite all that, it still sports that emotive trident on its nose and emits a deep and strident V8 bark. The Kyalami might not be a great car, but most of us, at least while looking at it, find it hard to tell the difference.

DE TOMASO ADAPTATION

maserati-kyalami-side

Maserati designer Pietro Frua retouched the De Tomaso Longchamp design, turning it into the Kyalami. He gave it a new lower nose with twin lights, full width hood, and new rubber-cap bumpers with integral indicators.

REAR LIGHTS

maserati-kyalami-rear.

Dainty rear light clusters were borrowed from the contemporary Fiat 130 Coupe.

STEERING

Power-assisted steering robbed the car of much needed accuracy and feel.

ENGINE

The engine was a four-cam, five-bearing 4.9 V8, with four twin-choke Weber carbs, propelling the Kyalami to a touch under 150 mph (241 km/h).

TIRES

The Kyalami generated lots of commotion from fat 205/70 Michelins.

NOT A PRETTY FACE

maserati-kyalami-front

The frontal aspect is mean but clumsy. The three-part front bumper looks cheap, while the Maserati grille and trident seem to have been bolted on as afterthoughts.

S P E C I F I C A T I O N S


MODEL Maserati Kyalami 4.9 (1976–82)

PRODUCTION 250 approx.

BODY STYLE Two-door, 2+2 sports saloon.

CONSTRUCTION Steel monocoque body.

ENGINE 4930cc all-alloy V8.

POWER OUTPUT 265 bhp at 6000 rpm.

TRANSMISSION Five-speed ZF manual or three-speed Borg Warner automatic.

SUSPENSION Independent front with coil springs and wishbones. Independent rear with double coils, lower links, and radius arms.

BRAKES Four-wheel discs.

MAXIMUM SPEED 147 mph (237 km/h)

0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 7.6 sec

0–100 MPH (0–161 KM/H) 19.4 sec

A.F.C. 14 mpg (3.6 km/l)

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