"A brief return with French flavouring!"

Photos and text courtesy of Ermanno Cozza

Before continuing with the evolution of the Quattroporte, we must record an idea proposed by the Casa to produce, in limited numbers, a car with coachwork by Pietro Frua made especially for a very important client, Karim Aga Khan, already the owner of other Maseratis.


This car, designated AM 121 by the factory, was built on the chassis of the Indy and powered by a 4.9-litre V8 engine, thereby giving the car an extremely reliable mechanical profile. The styling, although traditional, was for that period elegant without being too spectacular. Exceptionally refined, it represented the logical successor to the Quattroporte I.


# AM 121.004 (Sorry, AM 121.002) - the prototype with coachwork by Pietro Frua

"Hi,

Just thought I'd let you know that the Frua Quattroprote II prototype you have pictured on your website is identified incorrectly. The car in the photograph shows chassis number AM.121.002, not 004. AM.121.004 is the car commissioned by the Aga Khan and delivered to him in 1974.

I own the car in your photograph which is the prototype (in total only two were built) that was displayed at the 1971 Paris and early '72 Geneva shows. #002 was later purchased directly from Frua by the King of Spain, Juan Carlos and has 15" all alloy aluminum Borrani Dial wheels. The Aga Khan has always had the Ghibli Starburst type alloy wheels. Up until recently (after Alfredo Brenner had purchased both 002 & 004), it was thought by Sig. Cozza that only one car, the #004, existed. This confusion was caused in part by #002 being sold directly by Frua and therefore the factory has no records of the sale. More confusion was caused by the two cars having similar color schemes. Also both cars later adopted different exterior driver side mirrors. The only other differentiation is some variance in the dashboard configuration.

Sincerely,

Doug Magnon."


However this 'Quattroporte' never reached the production stage and remained a prototype, due largely to the political situation at Citroën, the then owners of Maserati, who encouraged a policy of producing cars utilising as many French components as possible.



Official Bertone photograph of the Quattroporte II

Official Bertone photograph of the Quattroporte II


Official Bertone photograph of the Quattroporte II

Official Bertone photograph of the Quattroporte II

As the years passed by, production of the Quattroporte I ended and the need for a new four-door saloon became apparent.



The Quattroporte II with bodywork designed by Bertone

And so was born the Quattroporte II, built with many sophisticated components already in use at Citroën for their own production cars: hydropneumatic suspension, the 'fullpower' braking system and self-centring power steering, even when the car was stationary. The fuel crisis of the early Seventies and the opportunity of making use of the 3-litre V6 engine that had been in production for some time, made this power unit the obvious choice for the new saloon, even though its weight demanded a more powerful larger capacity engine.


The prototype of this model, designated AM 123 by the factory, was first displayed at the Paris Motor Show on the 3rd October 1974.


With coachwork designed by Bertone, who had utilised all his skills to achieve a design that was 'clean' with proportionate dimensions, the Quattroporte II gave one the impression of being elegant and "leggera". Particular attention was paid to sound insulation of the engine bay and wind noise was kept to a minimum by its aerodynamic exterior profile. The well finished interior oozed luxury (all four door widows had individual retractable sun blinds), the digital instrument panel, á la Citroën, being particularly sophisticated.


The clean lines of the Bertone Quattroporte

Thanks to the use of the front-wheel drive, the Quattroporte II had a spacious interior, with a clear floor-pan free from the traditional transmission tunnel, and an extremely spacious boot compartment (25 cu ft).



The Quattroporte II

The drive was effortless in spite of it's size: steering was particularly light with a total lack of adverse reactions. The level of ride comfort was extremely good thanks to the use of Citroën's hydropneumatic suspension, power steering and the servo-assisted brakes. However the car lacked something in the power and torque department, enough to make one weep for the power of that V8 engine. Performance figures from the official factory brochure claimed a top speed in excess of 200 kph (125 mph) and acceleration from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in nine seconds.


X-ray view of the Quattroporte II

The hydraulic system of the Quattroporte II

  1  Hand brake (released)   9  Electric sun roof
  2  Interior light 10  Driver's electric window (left)
  3  Heated rear window 11  Rear passenger electric window (left)
  4  Headlight door 12  Electronic clock
  5  Fog light 13  Front passenger electric window (right)
  6  Hazard warning light 14  Rear passenger electric window (right)
  7  Instrument panel illumination 15  Glove box
  8  Headlights 16  Passenger side air vent

The digital dashboard of the Quattroporte II

 17  Air vent grill control  26  Ignition switch
 18  Central air vent  27  Clutch pedal
 19  Air blower switch  28  Padded steering wheel
 20  Air-conditioning temperature switch  29  Driver's foot rest
 21  Air-conditioning control lever  30  Hand brake pedal
 22  Manual choke  31  Levers for opening boot and fuel cap
 23  Gear lever  32  Lever for opening engine bonnet
 24  Accelerator pedal  33  Direction indicator lever
 25  Brake pedal  34  Windscreen washer and wiper lever

Standard equipment included air conditioning, tinted windows, sun blinds on all windows, radio cassette, electric windows, power steering and a heated rear window. Optional extras included leather interior and an electric sliding roof.



The engine, gearbox and differential assembly of the Quattroporte II

Early in 1968 Citroën gave Giulio Alfieri, Maserati's chief engineer, six months to design a new lightweight compact engine for their future SM model: the 'genius' took only three! Alfieri based his new V6 design by removing two cylinders from an earlier V8 design. The result was the 2.7-litre C114 engine with four overhead camshafts and two valves per cylinder. This all-alloy engine was used successfully in the Citroen SM and later, bored out to 3 litres (by increasing the bore size from 87 mm to 91.6 mm) in the Merak. The 3-litre engine, with its 210 bhp, performed well in the Merak, but in the Quattroporte II, was seriously handicapped by the car's weight of 1600 kg (around 3500 lbs).


The 210 bhp 3-litre engine

The refusal on the part of Citroën to make any further investment into the company made the financial situation at Maserati so serious that on the 23rd of May 1974, Citroën placed the company into liquidation. These events meant that the Quattroporte II was unable to complete its full homologation process and only the 13 examples on the production line were completed when production ended.


"Dear Sir!

As a CitroŽn freak I am most interested in the Quattroporte II. Unfortunatly there are some errors on the site about the Quattroporte II, so it is not possible to see the fascinating dashboard.

This model undoubtedly inspired the Aston Martin Lagonda and also the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit. Although a failure it has many very interesting details not to mention how "strange" this car is in general.

It looks a little bit like a BMW, rides like a DS and has a Maserati engine, really strange.

Do you know if any of those cars "survived"?

Flavian, Sweden."


TECHNICAL DATA - TIPO 123

Body type 4-door 4/5-seater Luxury Saloon

Production years From 1974 to 1975

Engine Front engined V6 cylinder @ 90°

Bore and stroke 91.6 mm X 75 mm

Engine capacity 2965 cc

Compression ratio 8.8:1

Maximum power 210 bhp @ 6000 rpm

Distribution Four overhead camshafts, two valves per cylinder

Induction system No 3 twin-choke down-draught 44 DCNF Weber carburettors

Ignition Single with distributor

Lubrification Forced with pressure pump

Transmission Front wheel drive

Clutch Single dry plate with hydraulic control

Gearbox Manual 5-speed and reverse

Chassis Body integral with frame and support-chassis

Front suspension:- Independent wheels with hydropneumatic suspension - automatic self-leveling system - Possibility to change road clearance when necessary

Rear suspension:- Independent wheels with hydropneumatic suspension - automatic self-leveling system - Possibility to change road clearance when necessary

Brakes 4 twin circuit disc brakes with automatic distribution of load

Wheelbase 3070 mm

Wheel tracks Front 1520 mm    Rear 1490 mm

Tyres Front:- 205x70 VR15    Rear:- 205x70 VR15

Dry weight 1600 kg

Overall length 5130 mm

Overall width 1870 mm

Overall height 1370 mm

Maximum speed over 200 kph (245 kph)

Models constructed 13



Brochures courtesy of Dr. George Lipperts

Colour brochure for Quattroporte II


A rare comprehensive brochure for Quattroporte II
(contains many schematic drawings and full technical specification)


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