Giugiaro's Maserati Boomerang was first displayed as a non-functional model at the Turin motor show in 1971. By the Geneva show in March,1972, it had been transformed into a fully operational vehicle. The mechanicals were borrowed from the Maserati Bora.

With its 4.7-liter V8 engine developing 310 horsepower, the Boomerang was good for an indicated top speed of 185 miles per hour. One journalist observed it looked as though it was doing 100 miles per hour standing still. The car was shown at the Paris, London and Barcelona motor shows and was unanimously praised for its audacity.

After the Barcelona show in 1974, the Boomerang remained in Spain and was eventually sold to a cabaret owner in Benidorm. The present owner discovered it there during a holiday trip in 1980 and could not resist buying it. He had seen the car eight years earlier and was only able to purchase a model of it. After a careful restoration, it reappeared for the first time in the 1990 Bagatelle Concours in Paris, where Giorgetto Giugiaro was a judge and proudly hand-signed the rear panel. Since then, the Boomerang has been invited to all major events in the world, including Pebble Beach, and has deservedly won numerous awards.

The Boomerang's unforgettable wedge-shaped body was the inspiration for some small-series Maseratis, for the Lotus Esprit-which nearly 30 years after its launch is still being produced-and significantly for the hugely popular Golf 1 that was marketed in 1974. It is extremely rare that a one-off masterpiece such as this, a fully engineered work of art with its unique pedigree, reaches the market. Following the Cisitalia in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Lotus in the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the Boomerang is worthy of a place in a museum; it would certainly enhance any collection in the world.

The German TÜV legalized the Boomerang (under one condition: that turn indicators had to have yellow bulbs) and the car is duly road-registered. Though road use is not its primary vocation, it is comforting to know that the car drives very well. Its engine, transmission, suspension, brakes and steering all work as they should. It does show some traces of use but presents very well and still is in excellent condition. It comes with the original fitted luggage and also with the collection of models, magazines, books and trophies won at various events.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1972 Maserati Boomerang
Years Produced:1972
Number Produced:1
Original List Price:N/A
Tune Up Cost:Approx. $1,500
Distributor Caps:$200
Chassis Number Location:On rear bulkhead
Engine Number Location:On side of engine block
Club Info:Maserati Owner's Club, PO Box 8402, Long Beach, CA 90808 Maserati Club International, Box 1015, Mercer Island, WA 98040
Investment Grade:A

This car sold for $627,923, including buyer’s premium, at Christie’s Rétromobile sale in Paris, France, on February 12, 2002. That, for the moment at least, is what it’s worth, whether based on practical or artistic considerations. That benchmark value will probably be bettered at the car’s next sale, since the Boomerang’s value as an artistic object is likely to increase with time.

There are two approaches to fixing the value of the Boomerang. First, as a practical, functioning vehicle it is certain to appeal to those who express themselves through their possessions. Personal icons are worth whatever the market will bear: $628k is not a significant amount for someone who can afford $1.4m for a McLaren F1 or $8m for a Ferrari 250 GTO. In fact, $628k is barely pocket change more, in relative terms of course, than the combined price of a new Lamborghini Murciélago ($273,000) and an Aston Martin Vanquish ($228,000). And which do you think will be worth more in five years, these or the Boomerang?

Second, and on the other hand, the Boomerang can be evaluated as an important cultural artifact, like the Cisitalia at MOMA or, even, Michaelangelo’s David. Aside from auctioneers, most people avoid attaching dollar values to works of art because money is not the point. As an example of Giugiaro’s genius and a genre of hyperangular, hyperperformance cars, the Boomerang, then, is a priceless piece of art. It extended a theme seen in the 1968 Bizzarrini Manta, the 1969 Alfa Romeo Iguana and Giugiaro’s own 1970 Tapiro. A similar treatment is seen in the 1971 Alfa Romeo Caimano. Geometric designs following the Boomerang include the Maserati Merak, Lotus Esprit, and a 1974 prototype for the Hyundai Pony (don’t be too hard on Giorgetto as even artists have to make a buck now and then).

In practical terms, apart from value, this car could prove a challenge to maintain. Nothing is stock, especially the windshield and body panels. The body that was not originally designed “as a fully operational vehicle” now carries a 310-horsepower engine that endows the car with the potential to reach 185 miles per hour. The auctioneer’s assertion that “all components work as they should” is not ultimately reassuring. Hopefully at some point, important real-world considerations such as aerodynamic lift, directional stability, brake capacity, engine cooling and basic ergonomics were all taken into consideration (without significant compromise) during the conversion of the show car to a functional road machine. The new owner would be prudent to verify that things like the wipers and defroster actually function before setting out on a jaunt.

But not to fret too much: as the auction copy suggests, this is not a car that is likely to be driven often. Nor is the buyer likely to be deterred by practical engineering issues as for a price, anything can be fabricated. Like any piece of art, this car is what it is. And in this case, that is an irreplaceable, significant expression of the talent of one of the seminal designers of our time. Considering that, $628k really doesn’t seem like very much, does it?-Pat Braden

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