Four doors, high speed cruising and superb luxury. What more could you ask.
Back in 1962 top Italian coachbuilder Frua had created a 5000cc Grand Tourer for the Aga Khan. There was no point in wasting the experience and that car was used as an inspiration for the Quattroporte, or four door. This was first displayed at the Turin motor show in 1963 and production began in 1964.
This was not only a supercar, it was a supercar with four doors which could comfortably seat four, and possibly even five people, together with all their luggage in superb comfort. As you would expect from a Maserati, performance was exceptional; the initial 256 brake horsepower 4.1 litre engine gave a claimed 143 mph although independent reviewers have suggested that 130 mph is more realistic. Still not bad for the early 60s though!
There was a choice of either a three speed automatic gearbox or a five-speed manual one; the engine was based upon Maserati's V8 racing engine, but de-tuned to give a more comfortable and reliable ride on the road.
This was a long-distance car; the combination of comfort and sheer muscle meant that drivers and passengers could cruise at high speed quite happily for most of the day.
To keep weight down the chassis was composed of a mixture of box sections and tubular steel; there were disc brakes all round which to be realistic were essential in such a powerful machine. Initially a rather complex rear suspension system called 'De Dion' was employed but this eventually gave way to a simpler design involving live axle and leaf springs.
By 1968 a more powerful 4.7 litre engine was made available. This boosted the top speed to a claimed 158 mph, which if correct made the Quattroporte the fastest four door saloom available anywhere in the world at that time. Later cars benefited from air conditioning, leather seating and electric windows. Production continued from 1963 until 1969, by which time around 776 had been sold.
Long-distance cruising had never been such a civilised experience.