"Boris's Brute"
"... a unique Maserati Ghibli from Croatia".

Text and images courtesy of Boris Jerbic.

This page is dedicated to my friend Boris Jerbic who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident whilst racing at the Grobnika circuit in Croatia.

15th August 2010: This weekend, at the Motohappening 2010 event, at the start of a race, Boris Jerbic was killed. Boris was a well know and well liked rider at the Grobnika circuit.

The accident happened at the start of the race, when Boris's engine stalled, and a few of the other riders collided with him. Some of the riders managed to avoid him, but unfortunately, riders at the rear of the grid were travelling too fast to avoid him.

A fine yound man, and a tragic waste of a life. Go with God, Boris.

"Hi Enrico,

Here we go! My Maserati story began at the end of eighties when I bought my first Biturbo Coupé, carburettor version. The car was red, produced in 1983/84, if I remember correctly. My second Maserati was a 422 (1989), which I had during 1993/1994. As I was not happy with the suspension and balance of the car, I changed the original shock absorbers for KONI, which were harder and gave the car much better handling and stability. The car was lowered by approx. 30mm.

BRZINA - Croatia's top motoring programme!

Vlatka Matic, Brzina's presenter, with Boris's Ghibli.

My love for Maseratis began when I was 20. From that time, through various motoring magazines, I "followed" the many Maserati models in which I found unique and intelligent design combined with astonishing performance. The Ghibli was the 'crown' of the Maserati Biturbo era, which in my eyes was "the best of Maserati" in general. Never in the history of car production, has somebody designed and produced a car with such charm for such a reasonable price. The idea of the late Sig De Tomaso was both revolutionary and probably unrepeatable. Unfortunately, as it is the norm in such cases, only a few people understood his vision and ideas.

The car itself is a piece of something incredible in terms how to connect incompatible things in one.

Since I have driven many cars including Porsches, Jaguars, BMW etc. I can say it was the best car in the world regarding handling and drivability with classic solution and shape (engine in the front with rear well drive). Design based on the Shamal chassis is also something, which unfortunately we’ll never see again. The era of these type of cars in inevitable finished.

Boris points outs the merits of his Maserati Ghibli.

Boris at speed on the track.

For a time, I wanted was to turn back the clock of history. I had been looking for a Ghibli (GT or Cup) for couple of years when I found this one, the only one, in Croatia in the Slavonian town of Slavonski Brod. The car was in very bad shape with a seized engine, rusty chassis and many other problems. The engine had already been removed three or more times without any success. The cylinder heads being the main problem. Probably due to a lack of oil, the engine had seized together with the turbochargers. Till now, nobody had managed to fix it, not even the former official Maserati service centre.

On the other hand, for me this was the perfect challenge, to rebuild the car from scratch and not only that, to make it a better car than the original when it left the factory. My goal was improved performance, handling and braking.
I now have a magnificent car with improved stability, handling and power, able to compete with the latest Porsches, Ferraris etc. When I recently took a friend of mine for a drive through some difficult winding roads, he said to me: "It's not the power which impresseded me the most but the stability, brakes and the way the car holds the road. It is something which I have only experienced in my competition Lancia Delta Turbo Integrale".

Zvonko explains the engine modifications.

There are some Maserati tuners who are getting much more power from Ghibli but with the same suspension and in these new circumstances insufficient stability. Like my former Karate teacher said to me: "The power without control means nothing!"

Boris applies 'opposite lock' on a tight right-hander!!

BRZINA Auto Magazin (Speed) Croatia's top motoring programme produced by OTV (Open TeleVision) chose to feature my car in a special programme.

They covered most aspects of the transformation with emphasis on the power output of 360 bhp from the 'little' 2-litre engine, the sophisticated racing suspension and brakes, the magnificent bodywork, very small edition of the model (approx. 200 peaces of Ghibli 2 liter GT) and above all, its incredible handling over the very tight racing track (normally used for go-carts and model cars) during our test drive.

Boris pulls 6600 rpm in second gear!!!

Kingdragon air filters for improved air flow.

I hope this will be sufficient for you. If you need anything else, let me know.

Best Regards,


The purpose of the exercise was to "produce" a totally new car in every respect and to make it where possible even better than the original. There are hardly any signs left whatsoever of the "old car" in my new Maser. On the other hand, the car is unique and original in all its essential parts. In all, I spent approximately €15,000.00 on spare parts and new modified components. The labour involved, which was tremendous, will remain a secret; I don't wish to be reminded of the cost! All together, it took me one and a half year to complete the task, and people experienced in these matters inform me that such a project would normally take around three years, but I was persistent.

Boris with the 'old' 2-litre V6 engine.

Interestingly enough, having completed the project, I ended up with over 10 kg of assorted nuts, bolts and screws which had been replaced on the engine, body and various other parts of the car.

The 'sad' engine prior to the restoration.

Due to its very poor state of corrosion, the body was completely restored. The original car was totally stripped with the body/chassis reduced to a shell with only the front windscreen and rear window still in place. The underside was sandblasted and any rusty sections were cut out and replaced and the bare metal shell was resprayed in its original colour, 'Met. Grigio Vulcano' (Met. Gunmetal Grey). The engine bay was painted in the same colour as the bodywork. This work was carried out by my friend Mr. Grozdan Meglaj of Design Meglaj in Zagreb who specialises in Ferraris, Porsches and Dodge Vipers etc.

The front and rear subframes, front and rear anti-roll bars, cross members, tie rods, trailing arms, axle hubs, suspension arms and all other parts that form the suspension were sandblasted and treated with a high temperature plastic coating.

Many components such as front and rear indicators, wheel arch plastic covers, door and window seals, sound insulating trim; in fact anything that was damaged or needed replacing was replaced.

Many components were chromium-plated e.g. hood and doors locks, exhaust brackets, alternator and compressor brackets etc.

Boris's 'Brute' after 18 months of hard work!

The competition Bilstein shock absorber and H & R spring.

The original suspension was modified with Bilstein upside down shock absorbers together with racing H & R springs (the standard electronic suspension was replaced with a traditional system).

This was, perhaps, the most difficult part of the project; since it wasn't easy to find the correct settings. As a starting point we took the specifications from a Group 'A' 2-litre turbocharged rally car. Furthermore, we had to create new modified sleeves for the shock absorbers, totally different from the originals.

The front suspension has a special plate fitted for adjusting the negative camber (see image). Front wheels are -2.3° and rear -3.0°. Finding the correct settings was really difficult as this was after all a 'one-off'. As a result, the car is extremely stable with excellent handling both on cornering and at high speed. Wheels are 18-inch O.Z.; 225 x 18 x 45 at the front and 255 x 18 x 35 at the rear. They had to be slightly modified to fit on the hubs. The gentleman who designed the suspension is my friend Mislav Jurcic from Max TT Tuning of Zagreb who is also an official "Bilstein" dealer in Croatia. Besides this, all ball-joints, silent blocks and bushings were replaced.

The special 'plate' for adjusting the wheel's negative camber.

A proud Zvonko Bojmic stands by his work of art.

The new braking system came from a Maserati Quattroporte Evoluzione V8. All brake pipes and the brake proportion valves were changed as the old ones were very rusty. Calipers were disassembled, then ground and treated with a black plastic high temperature resistant coating. All rubber rings and seals were replaced.
The original exhaust was replaced with a new 60mm diameter stainless steel system made by Schacal in Zagreb. The catalytic converters were removed (It's great fun in Croatia!), and replaced with straight through mufflers. The sound of the exhaust note is quite amazing.

The engine was stripped to its last nut and bolt. We changed all the piston rings, seals, gaskets, crankshaft and camshaft bearings, valves, all bolts, and many other parts. A set of re-conditioned cylinder heads were purchased from the Candini workshop as the old ones had been badly damaged (at some stage non-original valve seats had been installed in the old heads). The heads were specially treated; all ports were enlarged, matched and polished, valve-timing was altered to increase power. The turbochargers were completely overhauled and the waste-gates adjusted to 'increase' boost pressure by 0,2 bars (3.0 PSI).

The engine of Boris's 360 bhp 'road-burner' nears completion.

The custom chromed air-con compressor.

Air filters has been changed for a free-flow Kingdragon system, not only allowing more air into the system but producing the most amazing sound during hard acceleration!

All plastic parts e.g. headlight covers, washers, rubber and other hoses are new. Many metal parts were chromium-plated including all cooling pipes, intercooler pipes, brackets, air-con compressor, alternator and many nut and bolts etc. Every part of the engine was carefully cleaned, polished and prepared for assembly.

Today, as proof of our good work, there isn't the slightest trace of oil or water under the car from any of the liquid circuits, which is a great achievement for this type of the vehicle. Marcello said that we had done as good a job as the people at Maserati when assembling this car.

Gearbox and differential were polished, all screws seals and gaskets were changed.

Of course we also fitted new clutch and pressure plates and the release bearing.

The polished Getrag gearbox and ®Ranger differential.

Boris and Zvonko join Marcello at the Candini workshop.

The technician who made the majority of the high tech adjustments and did most of the final assembly was my friend Zvonimir 'Zvonko' Bojmic from Zagreb who has had a lot of experience with Biturbo Maseratis.

"Eproms" were re-mapped by Briefing, a tuning specialist in Modena, on a special 'rolling road'. The car was then tested under track and normal road conditions. This way, we made certain that the "tailored" chip was 100% suitable for this Ghibli.

As a result of the modifications carried out on the cylinder heads, turbochargers, exhaust system and management system, engine power had increased from the standard 306 bhp to an impressive 360 bhp!!!

The interior; all seats, dashboard, doors and centre console etc., was re-upholstered in the finest quality leather. All door, engine bay, rear boot and window seals were replaced as were the 'Maserati' door treads and plastic trims.


The poor state of the car at the start

A mechanic adjusts the propshaft

The rear subframe and trailing arms

Suspension and steering components

The bare interior

The Ghibli stripped for action!

The 18-inch OZ wheels

The plastic coated rear subframe

More components await Boris's attention

The gearbox and coated front subframe

The stripped engine at the workshop

The inlet pipe to the petrol tank

The polished brake caliper

The polished oil pump

The polished rear differential

The intake manifold

The water thermostat housing

The custom alternator

The black coated rear subframe with polished ®Ranger differential and the front subframe (the cardboard was later removed).


The exhaust manifold

The crankshaft

The two IHI turbochargers

The thermosat housing in place

The engine block and sump

The polished engine block




The newly painted body awaits!

Chromium-plated alternator and brackets

The chromed and polished engine

The 'new' engine now in place.

The starter motor and slave cylinder

The front struts and tie rods




The re-painted rocker covers

The cylinder head ready for assembly

Con-rods, pistons and liners

The 'old' cylinder heads

The stripped cylinder heads

The finished cylinder heads

Boris has been promised to send me more photographs and as soon as they arrive, I will scan them and add them to this page. Enrico.

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