The Quattroporte III
"Quattroporte III... and at last V8 power unit is back!"

Text based on an article by Ermanno Cozza

De Tomaso, the new owner of Maserati, still believed that the Quattroporte saloon was the answer to the needs of many customers in world's GT market. His 'gut feeling' proved to be right, for within two years of production it was Maserati's best selling car, accounting for over 60% of total production.

And it is with this new Quattroporte that Maserati began a fascinating new chapter in its history.

Designated 'AM 330 Berlina Quattroporte', it heralded the disappearance of the traditional descriptive Roman numerals; even if it was still affectionately called Quattroporte III by its admirers. The car was very impressive and with a combination of style, discreet elegance and refinement, in accordance with the best traditions of the Tridente, it soon re-established itself at the forefront of the world's luxury saloons.

The AM 330 Berlina Quattroporte

In spite of its considerable size, Giugiaro's classic styling gave the Quattroporte III the visual concept of strength and speed; a long imposing bonnet, once more housing a V8 engine, sloped down to a large trapezoidal chrome radiator grille adorned with the traditional trident, flanked by pair of twin rectangular headlamps.

The clean flowing line of the Quattroporte III.

Its low wide body, featuring a character line along its flanks, allowed the low roof line to flow gracefully, via the acute angled rear quarter-lights and a full-width slanting rear window, to an ample boot compartment. With the Northern American car regulations in mind, the Quattroporte III was fitted with heavy rubber inset impact-absorbing bumpers, giving the car a solid imposing look. Thanks to its width and roof height, the interior had the atmosphere of 'a living room', without any loss of light or visibility. Make no mistake, this was car was much bigger than it looked!

The interior was comfortable, elegant and functional. The dashboard, trimmed in rich leather with briar-wood veneered panels, housed a large rectangular easy to read instrument panel. The anatomically designed seating was upholstered in 'glove-soft' Italian leather, as were the finishing panels of the velour roof lining. The leather trimmed and wood-veneered centre console, housed the air conditioning controls, radio, gear lever and an armrest which doubled as a lid for the convenient storage compartment. Naturally the car was fitted with air conditioning as standard.

The dashboard that influenced a generation of Biturbos.

The 4.9 litre V8 engine of the Quattroporte III

The engine was a natural evolution of the four overhead camshaft 4.2-litre (4135.8 cc) V8 renowned for its flexibility and performance which gave excellent acceleration for such a big car.

The gearbox was a five-speed ZF type, the rack and pinion steering was power assisted and the hydraulic servo-assisted braking system with ventilated discs and floating calipers had dual circuits for the front and rear wheels.

The Quattroporte III had independent suspension on all four wheels.

First presented at the Salone di Torino in 1979, it represented Italy's only competitor in the field of high-class luxury saloons. Production started in 1980 and it was available with a 4.2-litre engine (4135.8 cc, 255 bhp @ 6000 rpm with a maximum torque of 277 ft/lbs @ 3000 rpm and a top speed of 220 kph) or a 4.9-litre engine (4930.6 cc, 280 bhp @ 5600 rpm with a maximum torque of 308 ft/lbs @ 3000 rpm and a top speed of 220 kph).

The 4.9-litre version was fitted with the Borg Warner 3-speed automatic transmission as standard and the manual box available as an option.

In 1984 the Quattroporte III was fitted with the Sensitork differential that was fitted to the later Biturbos after Maserati dropped the Salisbury unit.

The trident on the fuel flaps that appeared on the Biturbos

The spacious interior of the Quattroporte III

The Quattroporte III was offered in the following standard colours: 'argento' (met. silver), 'azzurro' (met. sky blue), 'blu sera' (dark blue), 'marrone Colorado' (chestnut brown) and 'oro Longchamp' (met. gold) other colours were availble to special order.

Initially only a 'naturale' (light brown) leather interior was available but from 1985 'ivorio' (ivory), 'panna' (cream) and for the Middle Eastern market, 'bianco' (white).

In April 1986 at the Salone di Torino, Autocostruzioni SD of Nichelino (Turin) displayed a Quattroporte Limousine, with a wheelbase 65 cm longer than standard, giving it an overall length of 5560 mm against the 4900 mm of the production car. This model include many novel accessories including a front passenger seat that could be rotated by 90° and 180° respectively, a video recorder with monitor, a special sound system, foldaway tables and air conditioning with separate temperature controls for the rear passengers. Interior headroom was improved by raising the roof by some 20mm. The limousine weighed 2130 kg against the standard car's weight of 1932 kg.

A Quattroporte limousine was featured in the film 'Running Man'

This Maserati press pack, which contains information and specifications on the Quattroporte Limousine, was given out at the 61st Turin International Motor Show in 1986. The pack includes large, glossy, black and white photographs.

"As a correction, the Maserati Quattroporte Limo that was used in the movie "The Running Man" was a different limo. That limo was built in the US by a company called Ultra Limousine located in California.



The living room/office interior of the limousine

The revolving front passenger seat of the limousine

On the 14 December 1986, the Quattroporte III was re-launched as the Royale. The 14 December has always been Maserati's traditional day for announcing new models: on this day annually, members of press, the Registro Maserati and other important customers are invited to the factory to preview the latest models.

The magnificent Royale

The Royale's grandeur was enhanced by some minor subtle changes made to the exterior by rounding off of the sharper extremeties of the body panels giving the car a more fluid and less severe look, thus reducing wind noise. Other changes included an electrically operated sliding/tilting sunroof and new 'disc' wheels.

For the interior, as well as improved soundproofing, the seats were upholstered in the finest soft hand-stitched leather on special multilayer padding for maximum comfort.

The dashboard and trim were redesigned, with rounded walnut panels incoporating a gold plated oval analogue clock. The central console now included the controls for the automatic climate control system, a radio, gear lever, ashtray and cigar lighter, the front seat adjustment switches, a portable phone and a bar for the rear passengers. The split rear seats were fully adjustable. The rear door panels now had inset retractable wood-veneered tables and stowed behind the central door pillars were two vermeil/pewter beakers.

The redesigned dashboard of the Royale with that clock!

The retractable tables in the rear doors of the Royale

Engine power and torque were increased to 300bhp @ 5600 rpm and ? @ 5600 rpm respectively giving the Royale a top speed of 230 kph.

The Sensitork differential was retained for the maximum traction and safety, especially on slippery surfaces.

Between 1980 and 1990, 2100 models were produced of which the first 50 were 4.2-litre versions and the last 55 Royales. The Quattroporte was used by Sandro Pertini, during his seven years as President of the Italian Republic.

X-ray drawing of the Quattroporte III (from the Official Parts Manual)


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

Production years From 1979 to 1990

Engine Front engined V8 cylinder @ 90°

Bore and stroke 88 mm X 85 mm (93.9 x 89 mm)

Engine capacity 4136 cc (4930 cc)

Compression ratio 8.5:1

Maximum power 255-bhp @ 6000 rpm (280 bhp @ 5600 rpm)

Distribution Four overhead camshafts, two valves per cylinder

Induction system No 4 twin-choke down-draught 42 DCNF Weber carburettors

Ignition Single electronic

Lubrification Forced with pressure pump

Transmission Rear wheel drive

Differential Sensitork

Clutch Dry single plate

Gearbox Manual 5-speed and reverse (4.9-litre version with automatic transmission)

Chassis Integral body

Front suspension:- Independent wheels, coil-springs,
telescopic shock-absorbers and anti-roll bar

Rear suspension:- Independent wheels,
telescopic shock-absorbers and anti-roll bar

Brakes Hydraulically operated ventilated disc brakes on all four wheels

Wheelbase 2800 mm

Wheel tracks Front 1525 mm    Rear 15253 mm

Tyres Front:- 215/70VR x 15    Rear:- 215/70VR x 15

Dry weight 1900 kg

Overall length 4980 mm

Overall width 1790 mm

Overall height 1350 mm

Maximum speed 220 kph (230 kph)

Models constructed 2100

Brochure for Quattroporte III (4.2 and 4.9-litre)

Brochure for Quattroporte III (4.9-litre)

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