There are different strata of enthusiast cars. On the surface are new Porsches and McLarens—mainstream signifiers of success that don’t require forum searches and Google Translate to understand. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find well-known classics: split-window Corvettes, Ferrari Testarossas, and G-body 911s. Then, tunnel past anything you’ve ever seen at a car show to the depths of automotive nerdery. You’ll find the Maserati Shamal, an obscure ‘90s coupe designed by Marcello Gandini and never sold in the U.S.
Only 369 Shamals were built between 1990 and 1996, and this Dazing Black example is believed to be one of just six in the country. Imported from Moncalieri, Italy in 2022 and subsequently serviced to the tune of $25,000, it’s now up for auction on Bring a Trailer by Connecticut-based seller Max Power Motors with 52,000 kilometers (approximately 32,000 miles).
The Shamal was loosely based on Maserati’s Biturbo, but you wouldn’t know it at first glance—only the doors, hard points, and basic interior switchgear remain. The shortened wheelbase, Gandini-penned box flares, and wide rear track lend the Shamal a wonderful rally-car aesthetic, one Maserati paid homage to with the “Project Rekall” concept in 2020. My favorite detail is the angled rear wheel arch—similar to the original flare-less Lamborghini Countach.
Under the hood, Maserati added two cylinders to the Biturbo’s 90-degree V6 to make a 3.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V8. Up to that point, the only roadgoing cars with twin-turbocharged V8s had been a pair of hyper-exclusive Ferraris: the 288 GTO and the F40. The Shamal’s suspension was a strange mix of new and old—pairing a rear trailing arm design with mode-selectable adaptive shocks developed by Koni.
Maserati withdrew from the U.S. before the Shamal was announced, and Fiat bought 49% of the company shortly thereafter to keep it afloat. In that way, the Shamal represents a missing chapter in Maserati’s history here, and a brief but curious one at that.
This black example looks to be in largely original condition with a recent (and costly) service history. It's sure to draw attention from those in the know while remaining subtle enough to drive to the store or gas station without being mobbed. The auction ends Wednesday, Feb. 14, so check it out if you’re in the market. Who knows when we’ll see one next?
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