"...a wind of change."

Produced with the collaboration of Dr. George Lipperts

The Khamsin was first seen on the Bertone stand at the Salone di Torino in 1972. The following year it was again displayed on the Bertone stand at the Paris Motor Show, this time carrying the Maserati badge. It did not go into full production until 1974.

Preparatory designs and sketches of the Maserati Khamsin by the design studio of Carrozzeria Bertone.

The press release from Bertone for the 1972 Turin Motor Show:


As previously anticipated at the Turin Motor Show the new "Maserati" model will be exibited at the Bertone stand.

This is a granturismo coupé made by Maserati with Bertone cooperating in the bodywork. The car, bound to enter production during 1973, is powered by a 8-cylinder 5-liter engine.

The overall architectural layout follows the lines of proven validity on the other products by the "House of the Trident", featuring the following improvements.

1)  Independent-wheel rear suspension.

2) Particularly accurate steering geometry (controlled by hydraulic servo-assist with servo-return); namely, the steering, assembly is provided with a device through which the wheels return to a straight position even when the car is still. Besides, the steering ratio is particularly low, the consequence being that it is very direct thus adding up to a better car's control. The effort on the wheel required when steering varies with the varying of the vehicle's speed.

3) Mounting of the differential on a subframe having the function of vibration damper for vibrations deriving both from the transmission and the motion of wheels.

4) The brakes utilize a source of pressure engendered by an oleodynamic pump,. In this way failure of the brake pedal is prohibited while an extremely fast and gradual action is obtained,

5) The entire power plant has been considerably retreated towards the interior compartment in view of achieving the double result of a better road-holding and to further allow the implementation of front and rear controlled- crush structures.

Based on a so rational mechanical layout, Bertone could wnrk in absolule naturalness carrying out a a clean - surface body even if featuring highly distinctive and refined elements (see for example the asymmetrical location of the front air intakes).

A thorough study has enabled Bertone to obtain a 2+2 coupé with ample luggage room despite the retreated power plant and a 2550mm wheelbase.

Most interesting is the solution adopted for the car's rear end made up of a glass inside which the rear lights are built. A similar trick, besides making an impression of lightness on the entire rear end, allows rear drive with full visibility and therefore in all safety.

The spare wheel has been located in the front lower structure, thus allowing a full utilization of the rear compartment, apart from a better lengthwise mass distribution better fulfilling today's requirements.


Length mm. 4400
Width mm. 1804
Height mm. 1140
Wheel gauce/wheelbase mm. 2550
Front track mm. 1440
Rear track mm. 1468

KHAMSÏN: a hot and violent wind in a south-easterly and south-westerly direction blows in the desert regions of Egypt during alternating periods, for a total of 50 days a year.

Carrozzeria Bertone S. p. A.
Public Relations Department.

Official photographs of the prototype Maserati Khamsin issued by Carrozzeria Bertone: note the original rear bumper and tail-light design, modified when the Khamsin went into full production.

When Citroën took over Maserati in 1968 plans for the launch of the Indy were so far advanced that they rightly decided to leave 'well alone' and were unable to add any of technical input. Subsequent models like the Bora and the Merak 'benefitted' from Citroën's influence and Maserati's production was steered away from its traditional front engined GTs to these mid/rear-engined sports cars. This left many Maserati customers unhappy at the lack of a luxury GT in the Maserati range and the Casa gave Bertone the task of designing and building a new Granturismo.

The prototype Khamsin: no Maserati badge on the bonnet

The result was the splendid Khamsin, designated Tipo 120 by the factory, a car designed by one of Bertone's more talented young designers, Marcello Gandini.

A design drawing by Carrozzeria Bertone

Introduced as the successor the Indy, the Khamsin was built on a tubular chassis with the same 2550 mm wheelbase as the Ghibli and with its engine mounted behind the front axle it gave the car excellent road handling.

Gandini's design had many interesting features including a distinct asymmetric louvred grille on the bonnet, a rear almost horizontal tailgate, a rear glass panel to allow for better rear visibility and the spare wheel stowed at the front of the car under the radiator.

The interior of the Khamsin, with seating finished in leather, afforded excellent comfort for the driver and front passenger but headroom and legroom in the rear was restricted. There was ample luggage space, with easy access via the tail gate, mainly due to the twin fuel tanks with single fuel filler on the right-hand side and the spare tyre being stored under the front radiator. The dashboard had excellent instrumentation and controls with speedometer, rev counter, oil pressure gauge, oil temperature gauge, water temperature gauge, voltmeter, fuel gauge and a variety of rocker switches and warning lights, including one for the braking system.

The reliable four overhead camshaft, two valves per cylinder 5-litre (4930 cc) V8 engine was chosen as the powerplant and produced 320 bhp @ 5500 rpm with an impressive maximum torque figure of 354 lb ft @ 4000 rpm. A five-speed manual ZF gearbox or 3-speed Borg-Warner automatic trasmission was available.

A 1979 road test by Road & Track of a Khamsin, with manual transmission, quoted a top speed of 140 mph and a 0 to 60 mph acceleration figure of 7.3 seconds.

An official Carrozzeria Bertone press release photograph.

The Khamsin incorporated many interesting features from Citroën's technical department, including a sophisticated hydaulically power-assisted speed-related steering system, a high pressure (2500 psi from an engine driven pump) hydraulic braking system and clutch. Ask any Khamsin owner and they'll tell you that; "it's a great car to drive but the brakes need a little getting used to!"

Suspension was independent double wishbone suspension on all four wheels with twin dampers and coil springs on each rear wheel a là Bora. In line with Maserati's tradition of passenger comfort, the rear differential was mounted on a sub-frame bolted to the chassis with rubber dampers thereby insulating the occupants from transmission noise and vibration.

The Khamsin with the re-designed nose of 1976/77

During its production life, the Khamsin underwent very few changes until 1976/77 when the front of the bonnet received additional louvres, this time symmetric, a re-designed dashboard and a new steering wheel with a large padded centre.

Standard equipment on the Khamsin included air conditioning, full leather interior, tinted electric windows, heated rear window, iodine headlights, hydraulically adjusted reclining front seats with head rests, anti-theft device and radio. Optional extras included automatic transmission and right-hand drive.

The tubular and sheet metal chassis, rear subframe and subframe vibration dampers

X-ray view of the Khamsin

If ever a supercar, and the Khamsin was indeed a 'super car', was produced at the wrong time, then surely the Maserati Khamsin was it. Launched at a time when the then owners, Citroën, were about to abandon Maserati, at a time of an energy crisis which saw a huge drop in demand for such gas guzzling V8s and at a time of an unsure future for the 'Casa' which left little opportunity for further development, the Khamsin never had the opportunity of achieving the success, in terms of numbers produced, it merited.

Production over the nine year period from the end of 1973 to 1982 was limited to 435 cars and under more normal circumstances the figure would have been far higher. The 'Catalogue Raisonné' by Gianni Cancellieri quotes production figures for the Khamsin as 5 cars in 1973, 97 in 1974, 69 in 1975, 37 in 1976, 69 in 1977, 72 in 1978, 42 in 1979, 12 in 1980, 11 in 1981 and 3 in 1982 (however the total for these figures does not tally wih the official total production figure of 430 carsof which 71 were right-hand drive).

The elegant rear of the Khamsin


The Lipperts' Khamsin Gallery

George's car is the later version with the padded steering wheel, the car was converted to a 'T-top' in the US.
The glass rear panel with the etched Maserati badge.
Note the Maserati badge on the original rear light cluster.
Photos courtesy of Scottsdale Supercars. On this model note the special bumpers, rear glass panel and rear light cluster treatment for the US market.

These photographs, taken by Dr. George Lipperts, show a dashboard layout similar to that of the 1973 Khamsin prototype, but you will notice that this car has all louvres finished in satin aluminium and the centre louvres above the front bumper that were not introduced until 1977.

Can anyone shed some light on this anomaly? Is this the original prototype 004?

And in case you ever wondered what the Khamsin would look like with symmetric louvres!



"Enrico - Your site was helpful when I was researching my purchase of a 1977 Black 5-speed Khamsin. Here are some pics.


My Khamsin at the Maser Miglia in Colorado.


Body type 2-door two plus two coupé
Production years From 1973 to 1982
Engine Front engined V8 cylinder @ 90°
Bore and stroke 93.6 mm X 89 mm
Engine capacity 4930 cc
Compression ratio 8.5:1
Maximum power 320 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Distribution Four overhead camshafts, two valves per cylinder.
Induction system No 4 twin-choke down-draught 42 DCNF Weber carburettors.
Ignition Single with distributor.
Lubrification Forced with delivery and return pumps.
Transmission Rear wheel drive.
Clutch Single dry plate with hydraulic control.
Gearbox Manual ZF 5-speed and reverse
or Borg Warner 3-speed automatic.
Chassis Body integral with frame and support-chassis.
Front suspension:- Independent wheel with coil-springs,
telescopic shock absorbers and anti-roll bar.
Rear suspension:- Independent wheel with twin coil-springs
and twin telescopic shock absorbers.
Brakes Hydraulically operated and assisted ventilated disc brakes.
Wheelbase 2550 mm
Wheel tracks Front 1440 mm    Rear 1468 mm
Tyres Front:- 215x70 VR15    Rear:- 215x70 VR15
Dry weight 1530 kg
Overall length 4400 mm
Overall width 1804 mm
Overall height 1140 mm
Maximum speed 275 kph (171 mph)
Models constructed 430


Dr. George Lipperts' original factory brochure/folder containing four colour photos of the exterior and interior of the Khamsin plus a sheet containing full technical specification in Italian, English and French.

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