Maserati’s Khamsin was the last of a long and noble line of front-engined supercars cars from the trident-sporting marque, one that included such automotive legends as the 3500 GT, Mistral and Ghibli. Less overtly exotic than its contemporary Modenese rivals, Maseratis appealed to an altogether more sophisticated clientele, who appreciated the finer things in life. Named after an Egyptian desert wind, the Khamsin was unveiled as a successor to the mighty Ghibli at the Paris Salon in 1972. With modern, square-cut styling by Bertone’s legendary designer Marcello Gandini, the newest Trident featured a fashionable wedge-shaped profile and some quirky details, including a unique glass panel set between the tail lights and asymmetric bonnet vent. The Khamsin employed Maserati’s venerable quad-cam V8, extracting 320 horses from its 4.9-litres, fed by four Weber 42 DCNF6 carburettors and driving the rear wheels via a ZF five-speed transmission (a Borg-Warner automatic remained an option for all markets). The Khamsin also benefited from Maserati’s new relationship with parent company Citroën, incorporating a hydraulic system that included speed-variable power steering, along with the clutch and dual circuit brakes. The rest of the Khamsin’s specification was largely conventional – for a 1970s Italian exotic at any rate – with ventilated disc brakes all ’round, rack and pinion steering and independent suspension (doing away with the Ghibli’s much-criticised live rear axle), with wishbones, coil springs and anti-roll bars at both ends. The Khamsin’s cabin was beautifully appointed in the finest Maserati tradition, with sumptuous hand-stitched leather upholstery, full instrumentation and even occasional rear seats, albeit with extremely limited legroom. Although contemporary claims of a top speed in excess of 280km/h may have been slightly exaggerated, there is no doubting the Khamsin’s performance, with Motor magazine recording a 0-60mph time of 6.6 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 14.7 seconds. When production finally commenced in 1974, the fuel crisis – coupled with a massive list price – saw cars trickle off the production line, with just 64 delivered in the first year and a total of just 430 examples built by the time production came to a halt eight years later. The Khamsin was described by the respected American journal Road & Track as “an ego trip on wheels, but… it’s a trip most enthusiasts wouldn’t mind taking”, while Autocar conducted a test of an auto and concluded “… it tries to provide Porsche practicality with Italian style and glamour and it succeeds in no small measure.”
AM120*US1142* was sold new via the US west coast distributor Maserati Automobiles California Inc. in 1977. One of exactly 100 US 5 speed versions, it was originally Giallo fly (fly yellow), one of only seven Khamsins in that spectacular shade, all of them US models. Little is known of its early history however what is certain is that it received the T-Top modification when new. In fact the factory’s long time historian Ermanno Cozza confirmed that the West coast distributor submitted a request for official approval of the conversion but since the factory required an inspection of the car in Modena to approve it the idea went no further. The modification was carried out in California by an independent shop just prior to the car’s delivery to its first owner. It was very well executed and allows the two very light panels to be removed or refitted in moments. The quality of the work is excellent, the panels (provided by Hurst Hatches) are in fact in tinted glass. The first owner also had the car repainted black before delivery and enjoyed the T-Top Khamsin in sunny southern California where it must have turned many heads. He then sold the car In the late 1980’s to the Fine Car Store near San Diego. There it was spotted and bought by the well-known Dutch collector Paul Koot in October 1989 with only 16.197 miles and in excellent absolutely rust free condition. Upon its importation to Holland the car received a European bumper conversion with new old stock parts. After a few years of limited use Paul Koot sold it to another noted Dutch Maserati collector, Doctor George Lipperts who travelled fairly extensively with it including to the 90th anniversary of Maserati in 2004.
In June 2010 it was bought by the Maserati Club of Holland President, Mr. Bart van der Weiden, after a diligent quest which involved inspecting no less than 27 Khamsins. He had been struck by how absolutely rust free and well preserved this car was along with its uniqueness as a T-Top allowing Berlinetta practicality but full enjoyment of open air driving.
An engineer and perfectionist who works on his own cars he constantly saw to it being in perfect condition and performed an engine out head gasket change noting that the internals were in very good condition. He changed the belts and most of the hydraulic hoses and changed the mile counter to kilometres at a time when it had just over 30,000 miles. It now has less than 50,000 kms. The steering wheel was also replaced with a correct European model version. The black leather seats and beige carpets are very well preserved and thanks to excellent maintenance it is on the button ready to be enjoyed for spirited drives or for continental tours as one of the finest, most efficient, fast and comfortable grand tourers of all time.
According to Marc Sonnery founder of the Maserati Khamsin registry in 2004 and author of the definitive work on Khamsins (Maserati the Citroën years 1968-1975): ‚Apart from the Khamsin spyder it is well known and recognized in classic Maserati circles as the only open top Khamsin. It is one of the best Khamsins I have ever inspected in terms of condition and a ride with its owner in 2011 showed how enjoyable and practical it is.‘
When the T-Top Khamsin appeared to the open market in 2015 at Bonhams’ Retromobile Paris sale at the Grand Palais, the VOLANTE Collection took the chance to acquire this unique Maserati. Since then, the car was road driven only twice a year, just to keep all mechanical parts working. In the VOLANTE Museum, the open Khamsin was one of the visitors’ favorites.
After many years in the shadow the Khamsin has now been recognized by collectors as one of the most brilliantly competent and thrilling cars to drive of its era, indeed they were far ahead of their time.
Not road registered. Ready for test-driving on dealer plates at any time.
The VOLANTE Collection makes every effort to represent each vehicle accurately and with integrity. We also welcome third party inspections when necessary. Although we try to do our very best to be accurate in our description writing we are human and do make mistakes. Unless otherwise noted, all vehicles are sold AS IS, No Warranty Expressed or Implied. All sales final.