The Chubasco
"A wind that blows in the Gulf of California."

On the 14th - 16th December 1990, at the customary annual anniversary of the 'Casa', Maserati presented three new models.

The world's journalists, members of the Club Maserati and concessionaires present during the 'Festa' were able to test-drive two of these new models, the Shamal in its definitive form, now ready for production and the Racing, the new 285 bhp 2-litre coupé.

But the star of that event was a completely new car that was both formally and mechanically detached from Maserati's current range. A car that would stir the memories - and what memories! - of the the powerful two-seater sports cars of the past.

Under wraps in a purpose built structure in the centre of the large square in front of the factory, was the Chubasco. Displayed in its still static (mock-up) form - the finished article was supposed to see the light at the beginning of 1992 - it completely seduced the admiring guests 'bowled over' by its fluid yet strongly aggressive shape.

The beautiful lines of the Chubasco, designed by Marcello Gandini.

From the first discussions Marcello Gandini had with the Maserati design office, it was clear that the car to be created would be new and revolutionary in every respect.

The point of departure: the mechanicals.

The primary constraint on body configuration was the requirement for good air circulation in those points of the car in need of cooling: radiators, air-conditioning condenser, heat-exchangers, turbo-chargers, electronic control units, catalytic converters, engine compartment in general, mufflers and brakes.

To achieve the desired end result in terms of performance, the best available frame proved to be the central-beam type, which provides good rigidity in combination with a supporting engine-transmission group mounted in a centre-rear position. This concept originated with De Tomaso's positive experience with the Vallelunga.

The chassis was to be a central beam in combination with a supporting engine-transmission group.

The chassis would provide anchor points for the front push-rod and rear pull-rod suspensions, with a hydraulic lifting and progressive rigidity system and rockers with inboard springs, a solution typical of F1, which leaves room for two large lateral ducts for air passage and distribution.

The push-rod front suspension and the pull-rod rear suspension.

In plan view, these ducts are shaped so that the airflow taken in by three large frontal airscoops is accelerated and exhausted laterally under the doors, providing a pressure drop beneath the side panels, thus enhancing the strong ground-effect produced by the rear ramp and flat under-tray.

The air flow taken in by the three frontal air scoops is accelerated and exhausted laterally under the doors. Cooling air for the engine is taken by two other air scoops in front of the rear wheels and is exhausted at the rear.

The monocoque or carbody is ideally conceived as a floating cell connected to the frame by means of damping supports that absorb vibrations from the engine, transmission, suspensions and wheels, insulating the cockpit from whole frequency range of noise and vibrations and from torsion.

The car body is conceived as a floating cell all connected to the chassis by means of dampening supports.

The doors are single-hinged in front and open upward and forward.

The electrically-controlled roof section could be shifted rearwards above the engine compartment, thus allowing oper-air motoring.

The carefully-designed side and rear window surfaces and the driver's seat offer better visibility than in most mid-engine sports cars.

The "mandatory" two-seat cockpit is unexpectedly roomy, both lengthwise and laterally. The anatomical seats are separated by a centre-beam tunnel, which acts as a practical element of support and esthetic balance. A large spoiler, aerodynamically tuned in the wind tunnel, characterizes the car's appearance from all angles of observation.

Where some lucky Maserati owners should be sitting!

Once the technical and aerodynamic foundations were laid, it was easy for Marcello Gandini to give shape to this design, which can be described as the ideal objective, or better the dream, of every style designer: to design the automobile that every car-lover would designfor him- self once in his life.

So 'fierce-looking" it speeds up onlooker's heartbeats, so out of the ordinary it stops traffic, so handsome it creates an irrepressible desire to possess it, so strong and muscular it transmits a flattering message about its owner's character, with that touch of glamour that causes doubletakes, a beautifully smooth, refined sculpture that could graciously adorn a living-room.

The car that resulted from these ideal concepts is as difficult to describe in normal terms as the dreams of sports-car lovers.

"It's a coupé but also an aggressive roadster."

"It's a F1 with air-conditioning."

"It's a bomb with superlative performance."

Precisely for this reason Maserati, for the first time in its history, presented a static model rather than a prototype. A model, not a useless knick-knack but a working instrument indispensable to the birth of an automobile.

With this objective, Maserati wished to involve everyone in this project, perhaps because an extraordinary automobile should in reality be designed by its potential owners.

Sadly this was not to be the case as it proved to be too expensive to build and the Chubascu remains in its mock-up form to this day and is now housed in the Panini Museum on the outskirts of Modena.

The good news is that Maserati used this technology to build the Barchetta.

The sight all Maserati enthusiasts would love to have seen on the road.

 The Chubasco - Technical Data and Dimensions.

 Engine  Rear engined twin-turbo V 8-cyl @ 90º
 Cubic capacity  3217 cc
 Distribution  Four overhead camshafts with 4 valves per cylinder
 Power output  430bhp @ 6500 rpm
 Lubrication  Dry sump
 Gearbox and clutch  6-speed and reverse - dry twin-plate plate
 Transmission  Rear wheel drive
 Wheelbase  2310mm
 Wheel track  Front - 1640mm / Rear - 1660mm
 Bodywork  Two-seater
 Overall dimensions  Length - 4365 mm / Width - 2014 mm / Height - 1124 mm

The view that most driver's would have seen, had it gone into production!

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