Credit or blame it, this car inspired years of “folded paper” design
The Maserati Boomerang was first displayed as a non-functional model at the Turin Motor Show in 1971. By the Geneva Salon of March 1972, it had been transformed into a fully operational vehicle, fitted with the race-bred, 4.7-liter Maserati V8, developing no less than 310 hp. It was claimed to be good for an indicated top speed of 186 mph. One journalist observed that it looked as though it was already doing 100 while standing still.
Until 1974 it was successively shown at the Paris, London and Barcelona motor shows, and was unanimously praised for its audacity. It is often considered that this, the fourth sports car concept introduced by the young Italdesign firm after its inception, proved to be the most influential. Its unforgettable wedge-shaped body was the inspiration for some small series Maseratis and the Lotus Esprit, as well as the Volkswagen Golf.
Unlike now, it was not uncommon at the time for manufacturers and coachbuilders to sell their concept cars once they had served their purpose. After the Barcelona show, the Boomerang remained in Spain and was eventually sold to a cabaret owner in Benidorm. It then passed to a noted Maserati enthusiast, who discovered it during a holiday trip to Spain in 1980. After a careful restoration, it reappeared for the first time in the 1990 Bagatelle Concours in Paris, where designer Giorgetto Giugiaro was serving as a judge. He proudly hand-signed the rear panel.
Since then the Boomerang has been invited to most major events, including Pebble Beach, and has deservedly won numerous awards. In 2002 the Maserati Boomerang Concept passed into its current ownership. Upon acquisition, the car was found to require some refreshing of the older, largely cosmetic restoration. It was therefore entrusted to marque specialist Paul Grist’s Traction Seabert company to be returned to usable order. Over a period of 18 months, the car was systematically worked through and perfected in terms of mechanical and electronic function. Early in 2003 this work was completed, at a cost of some £20,000 (approx. $32,000). Since then the car has been road-registered by the current owner.
Though road use is not its primary vocation, it is comforting to know that the car drives well. Its engine, transmission, suspension, brakes and steering all work as they should, as well as the electronics. The Boomerang does show some traces of use, but presents well and where possible is still as it was originally shown in the early 1970s.
It is extremely rare that a one-off masterpiece such as this, a fully engineered work of art with its unique pedigree, comes to 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 would deserve a place in a museum and it would certainly enhance any collection in the world.