This extremely rare  (Chassis No. AM 123 004) is up for sale on Classic Cars for Sale in the UK.   [Price quoted on request].  It is the original prototype and one of only thirteen similar models produced, of which only four remain, with this one the only one in fully working order and being used on the road.   In 1974, at the Turin Show, Maserati presented this very car.

Maserati Quattroporte II prototype_8  Maserati Quattroporte II prototype_6

The car is located in Merseyside near Liverpool and looks to have been restored since we mentioned it last in the Spring 2012 issue of Citroënvie magazine, (in the article: Maserati Bora & Merak – Citroën SM Influence in Italian Exotics).   In fact, the seller states that the car has been fully restored with no expense spared, and is now in full working order and he has covered 12,000 miles in total luxury.  It has covered 3 trouble free touring holidays of Scotland, of 2000 miles each, with trips to Goodwood Revival and Switzerland in 2013.

This car has won 3 prestigious Concours awards at the Maserati Auto Italia day in 2006 with 1st in class and 1st overall winner, then in 2007 it was 1st in the Master class which was for previous winners, and he was invited to present it at the Salon Prive Concours in 2008, plus it was 1st in class in the Cartier Concours at the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed and winner at the Manx Royal Show Concours 2013.  It has also been loaned back to Maserati for various prestige events.

According to the seller, this the prototype was the only car fitted with digital instruments, special magnesium wheels and central looking on all doors.  Also fitted as standard: air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, electric windows, tinted glass, window shades on all four door windows & rear window, leather upholstery, and a 4 speaker stereo radio/cassette player.  It comes with a tool kit, sales brochures, photos whilst it was being built in the factory, a hand book, special jack in a leather case and a spare wheel that has never been used.

Maserati Quattroporte II prototype_3

The Quattroporte II had Bertone bodywork, penned by Marcello Gandini.  It was the only model in the Quattroporte series to feature hydropneumatic suspension and front wheel drive. Under the hood it looked identical to the SM.

Inside the centre console was a direct transplant, though leather wrapped and more generously padded. The stalks on the steering column, the column itself and the 4 switches on the dash above that – all SM.

Maserati Quattroporte II prototype_7  Maserati Quattroporte II prototype_4  Maserati Quattroporte II prototype_5

The brake pedal is most interesting. It’s square rather than round as on the SM and the DS. It had the same short travel valve pedal underneath which probably made it very touchy to operate compared to the bulb.

Exterior wise, the only things shared with the SM were the door handles and the 6 headlights (2 in the center that swiveled) fitted behind vertical glass covers.

The 1973 oil crisis contributed to its demise as it did to the SM itself. Arguably the major factor though was the choice of the V6 engine (though a 4.0L V8 prototype existed
and could have been fitted had Maserati been in a better financial state).  Since the previous Quattroporte was V8 powered and Italians were still obsessed with power and number of cylinders in their exotic cars, the 3.0L V6 powerplant based on the Citroën SM engine didn’t deliver the oomph that customers wanted to move the 3500 lb behemoth sedan.

Maserati Quattroporte II prototype_1  Maserati Quattroporte II prototype_2

Other than this prototype in 1974, 12 that were built to order between 1976 and 1978.  Citroën went bankrupt in 1974 and on 23 May 1975, the new controlling group PSA Peugeot Citroën declared that Maserati was also in receivership. Propped up by Italian government funds, the company was kept in business until it was taken over by Alessandro de Tomaso.  However the collapse of the Citroën/Maserati relationship made Maserati unable to gain EEC approval for the car.  Most of the Quattroporte II’s built were thus sold in the Middle East and in Spain, where such type approval wasn’t necessary.