An exquisite Maserati Quattroporte, SOLD by Californiaclassix.com!

Bentley Killer:
1982 Maserati Quattroporte III

Italian supercars accommodating more than two adult passengers were always a rarity. Sure, Lamborghini had the Espada, Iso made the Rivolta, and Ferrari sold the 400i, but none of those offered 4 doors. It was up to Maserati to carry the torch. Back in 1976, Maserati's new chairman Alejandro de Tomaso commissioned Giorgetto Giugiaro's Ital Design to develop a luxurious challenger to Mercedes' 450SEL 6.9 and Bentley's T-Series, and the world-famous team of stylists delivered in spades.

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The majestic automobile, called Quattroporte III, was launched at the Torino Auto Salon to great acclaim. Ultimately, just 2,141 Q-portes were manufactured, about four units per week, from the late 1970s until 1990.

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Due perhaps to their need for qualified care and a dearth of competent mechanics, but also owing to natural attrition during the last three decades, it has become very hard to find a Quattroporte III without major "needs" today. Such an Italian Business Man's Express requiring extensive refurbishing might necessitate the creation of a Ponzi scheme to raise sufficient funds, so you can imagine our joy when we discovered this low-mileage example.

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The 1982 Maserati Quattroporte featured here, VIN *ZAMBC1100CA3018188*, was built to U.S. specification, purchased new by a prominent law firm in Redwood City, Calif. and used sparingly, for representative purposes only, until 1991, when it passed into the hands of its second owner to date, a real estate investor from Southern California. In 27 years, the car has covered a mere 77,560 actual, documented miles; that's less than 3,000 miles annually, on average.
We wholeheartedly believe it to be one of the finest survivors of its kind, anywhere.

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The original owner's manual--and its factory-supplied calfskin pouch--accompany the car, as well as all maintenance records since '91, totalling $6,386,37 and enlightening us to the service history of the car. In a nutshell: this Maser was surprisingly reliable, never needing anything out of the ordinary. The braking system was thoroughly serviced, window switches were replaced, as was the Tedel 101 box , the battery, alternator, and fan. We just had the A/C re-charged and a California smog check performed; the big car passed the inspection with ease.
Let's now review this superb motorcar inside and out, top to bottom, commencing with the engine compartment.

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Open sesame! Two large struts support the massive hood. Everything looks as clean as humanly possible; even the black, diamond-pattern hood pad is still intact. Note the superbly preserved gold cadmium plating and factory labels throughout.

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Maserati's masterpiece, the 4.9-liter 4-cam power plant--just like in the Ghibli topped by 4 double-throat WEBER carburetors--easily develops 280hp at 4,500rpm. It is backed by the ultra-reliable, smooth-shifting Torqueflite 3-speed automatic transmission. Engine starts instantly, runs and sounds fantastic, with no bad habits--such as smoking or (oil) drinking to report.

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But we wanted to explore how good the engine really is, and thus performed a compression check on 8-7-2009. It showed the following, very satisfying results:
  • Cylinder 4: 165 PSI
  • Cylinder 3: 160 PSI
  • Cylinder 2: 160 PSI
  • Cylinder 1: 160 PSI
  • Cylinder 5: 160 PSI
  • Cylinder 6: 170 PSI
  • Cylinder 7: 155 PSI
  • Cylinder 8: 170 PSI
Clearly, this engine should provide many more years of outstanding performance with nothing but regular maintenance.

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On any Italian car, the state of its coachwork is at least as important as its mechanical components. Finished in the most desirable color, Argento Metallico, this Maserati looks impressive from any angle. Having been repainted once, in its correct factory color, many moons ago, the finish still looks excellent, with nary a chip or bubble to report.

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Being the last hand-built carrozzeria, the craftsmen at the Viale Ciro Menotti factory painstakingly filled in all the body seams before any paint was applied, creating a smooth, "seamless" appearance. Twenty-seven years after the car was built, its body remains smooth and free of accidental damage; there are just a couple of small, shallow dings, nothing to lose sleep over. Doors and hoods exhibit perfect shut lines. Best of all, this California Maserati has not been affected by corrosion, since it has not seen any harsh winters or--God forbid!--salted roads.

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Another essential ingredient of a true Italian thoroughbred, the original CAMPAGNOLO 7J x 15 light alloy wheels--shod with 225/70-15 radial tires--proudly display Maserati's trident insignia.

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Well, then, the Maser's exterior is stunning to behold, but what about the passenger compartment, you may ask?

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Outpacing the World's finest cars in terms of sheer luxury, the Quattroporte's immense cabin is a symphony of fine Italian leather and birdseye maple wood.

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Just take a close look at the hand-crafted door panel: this is quality at the level of a Rolls Royce, the materials and care of assembly far exceeding mass-production standards.

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The dash features an abundance of wood and leather. Befitting a top-level prestige automobile, the Quattroporte was offered in one version only: fully loaded. Power seats, mirrors, door locks, steering, brakes, cruise control, A/C: the list goes on and on. It's simply the pinnacle of Italian luxury!

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Comprehensive array of gauges graces the dash--and they all work!

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Another view of the pristinely preserved dash top. Perhaps a Quattroporte's weak spot, often the victim of sun damage, heavily warped and cracked, this specimen's wood and leather are in fabulous condition throughout, indicating that this car has indeed been garaged all its life.

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Details, from left to right:

  • Neatly arranged switch gear
  • Center console, controls for windows and seats are conveniently located here
  • Suede-lined glovebox

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Another Q-Porte hallmark: the exquisite, woven fabric headliner with its two-tone piccoli punto pattern, presenting itself in superb, unmarked condition.

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The men from Modena took creature comfort to a new level with those gorgeous, armchair-like seats. Covered entirely with the finest, caramel-colored Italian ROSER leather, they cradle the driver and up to 4 passengers in almost decadent opulence.

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Playground for rich industrialists and their supermodel girlfriends? No, it's the rear cabin of the Quattroporte, featuring its own set of ventilation controls and even a pair of retractable privacy shades.

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The acres of leather used inside the big Q-ship might even surpass the amount of bovine hides found in Britain's finest. Due to regular applications of CONNOLLY hide food, the leather remains supple, free of cracks or split seams, and wonderfully aromatic.

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Ready for a test drive?
Sure, but before we leave, let's take a close look at trunk and undercarriage.

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Cavernous trunk is fully lined with fine velours carpeting, features separate storage bins on each side to neatly hold odds and ends.

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Full complement of unused, mint-in-the-bag factory tools and jacking equipment.
Factory CAMPAGNOLO spare; original MICHELIN tire apparently has never touched the ground.

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Quattroporte's ultra clean underbelly confirms status of maintenance and preservation of this California car.

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Close inspection of undercarriage details reveals intact gold cadmium plating on various components.
Note elaborate DeDion rear suspension featuring inboard disc brakes and dual shock absorbers.

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Tuesday, July 7 was another nice and sunny day in paradise, and we left bright and early to get a cappuccino (Thank you, McDonald's!) and put the Maser through its paces.

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The car truly belies its size; it starts, runs, drives, steers, handles, and stops fabulously.

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Ease of operation was Maserati's main concern, and the Quatroporte III doesn't fall short in any respect. It glides along the road like a Cadillac Brougham--until you apply pressure to the right pedal. Instantly, a fantastic surge of acceleration enroute to an advertised 160mph top speed reminds you that you are at the helm of a true supercar--albeit one with cold air conditioning and power everything!

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Returning home, we are amazed at the enduring quality of this particular Quattroporte III. We received many favorable comments and envious looks. Absent from the U.S. market for many years, Modena's grand old marque has lately claimed its exalted status as one of the world's most prestigious car manufacturers once again. For some, Maserati seems to be the new Bentley!

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Being a collector's item as well as a perfectly capable daily driver, a Quattroporte III is the perfect choice for smart investors who want to chauffeur a bespoke automobile without breaking the bank. For the price of a 6 year-old Seville, E-Class, or XJ, you can look like a million Dollars at the Country Club. Where other cars lose value daily, you can own a classic car that, with just some routine care, might actually appreciate in value.

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A wise car guy once recommended to buy the best example you can find and you'd always be happy. Nowhere is this statement more true than in the realm of Italian supercars. Rarely, if ever, will you find one that's as well-preserved as this pedigreed, low-mileage, two-owner, rust free California Quattroporte.

We sold this exceptional Maserati in September 2009.


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