The January 2002 issue of Auto Italia has an excellent article by Andy Heywood on the Ghibli Primatist.

"Ghibli Primatist... born from a world record".

"... a MASERATI - PRIMATIST accord".

The project was to break the water speed record for the 'flying kilometre' in the 5-litre Corsa class and on Monday 4 November 1996, at the Italian Championships on Lake Lugano, Maserati, Cantiere Nautico Primatist and the Guido Abbate Special Team broke the world flying-start speed record in the 5-litre Corsa class. The Primatist set a new world record for the flying kilometre with an average speed of 216,703 km/h.

The speedboat that achieved this record employed a monocoque design made from carbon fibre composites and was built in association with Guido Cappellini's D.A.C. Racing. Bruno Abbate and Guido Cappellini, himself the five times Formula 1 'in-shore' world campion for four successive years from 1993-1996 and 1999, were at the wheel of the speedboat. The record attempt was supervised by Bruno Abbate, the 45-year old champion of speedboat racing, who piloted such famous powerboats as 'Gancia dei Gancia' and 'Pinot di Pinot'.

This record-breaking monocoque was powered by a 2-litre Maserati engine similar to that used in the Maserati 'Ghibli Cup'. A car capable of attaining a top speed of 270 km/h on the road, capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 5,6 seconds and a blistering one kilometre from rest in 24,5 seconds. The 1996 cc engine was considered at the time to be the most powerful 2-litre production engine (165 bhp per litre) in the world.

This engine generates 330bhp at 6,750 rpm and 38,5 kg/m of torque at 4000 rpm as well as providing the sophisticated technical features which are necessary for such an ambitious project. In particular these include the light alloy cylinder heads and block, aluminium cylinder liners, 24 valves (four per cylinder), twin water-cooled turbochargers and twin air to air intercoolers.

The Primatist powers to a new world record

The task of adapting the engine for sea use was assingned to a renown specialist in this field, Romeo Ferraris, experts in preparing engines to the special requirements of all types of competition.

The engine that powered the record breaking boat produced a whopping 370 BHP!

The crew was accompanied by a medical team from the 'Instituto di Scienza dello Sport del Coni' directed by the Professor Antonio Dal Monte.

On motor racing circuits, although very high speeds are attained, spectators can at times find the spectacle somewhat monotonous. However, in power boat racing, ones attention is maintained throughout and interest rarely weakens. The beauty of the scenery is there for all to see. Not only the contrasting blues of the lake water and sky but also the white wash created as the craft speed across the water creating seemingly endless ripples of reflected sunlight.

To celebrate this record breaking achievment, Maserati produced the special edition 'Ghibli Primatist'. This version differed from the standard model by its special 'Ultramarine' (a brilliant deep blue pigment originally obtained from 'lapiz lazuli') paintwork with the decal, as seen at the top of this page, sited in front of the rear wheel arch. The unique interior upholstery is finished in two-tone blue and turquoise leather and the dashboard, side panels, gear-knob and steering-wheel finished in polished burr-walnut.

The 'Ghibli Primatist' posesses the mechanics of the standard 2-litre Ghibli, this is the V6 cylinder engine with 24 valves charged by two IHI turbochargers and two intercoolers, that produces 306 bhp at 6250 rpm and a maximum torque of 38 kgm has 4000 rpm, with electronic suspension (optional), progressive power-assisted steering and ABS. The 'Ghibli Primatist' is equipped with a automatic air-conditioning system and full instrumentation. In addition, 'Ghibli Primatist' is equipped with a collapsible steering column, an anti-return fuel valve, an energy absorbing monocoque structure and a rigid safety cage.

The doors are equipped with reinforcement bars to protect passengers from any side impact. The 'Ghibli Primatist' has a top speed of 260 km/h and accelerates to 100 kph from rest in 5,7 secs giving the driver a feeling of security. Excellent roadholding is assured by its large tyres of 215/45 ZRI7 at the front and 245/40 ZRI7 at the rear, braking by four large ventilated discs 307mm at the front and 316 mm and the use of floating calipers. The Primatist has the 17" Speedline 'Allesio' first seen on the 'Ghibli Cup'.

The 'Ghibli Primatist' is a car for the motoring enthusiast who appreciates performance in an environment that's 'a little out of the ordinary'.

"Oooops! This Maserati engine is much more powerful than I thought."

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