|1973 Maserati Bora 4.9 Coupe
|Original List Price:
|Tune Up Cost:
|Chassis Number Location:
|Engine compartment on firewall
|Engine Number Location:
|Stamped on side of block
|Maserati Club International
This car sold for €92,000 ($124,218*) , including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ “The Zoute Sale” in Knokke-Heist, Belgium, on October 11, 2013.
Both Maserati and Ferrari went hesitantly into the world of mid-engine cars — lagging far behind the 1966 launch of the Lamborghini Miura. Eventually, Maserati not only led Ferrari into the fray by two years, but did it with both feet in the pool.
Maserati’s car wouldn’t be like Ferrari’s Dino — a sub-brand with a small engine. No sir, the company’s star GT, the successor of the acclaimed Ghibli, would be a mid-engine standard bearer. And while no one would say it equaled the pure beauty of the Ghibli, the Bora was a stunning statement of brawn and power in a thoroughly modern shape.
In fact, the Bora was somewhat of a departure for Maserati in visual character.
Before the Bora, Maserati’s design aesthetic trended towards the elegant, almost delicate, in feel. The Bora was quite something else. and a return to the earlier feeling would be seen in its successor, the Khamsin. To my eye, the muscularity of the Bora is in perfect keeping with its dynamic character.
I think the Khamsin is a terrific car, but it somehow feels heavier than its looks promise.
Foremost in the minds of many when the Bora and its little sister, the Merak, are mentioned, is Citroën. The fear and loathing that accompany the idea that an Italian luxury GT would contain Gallic mad wizardry in its components is enough to send them screaming from the garage.
I’ll repeat this yet again: There’s no call for such concern. The most important component from across the Alps is the hydraulic servo braking system. Until you’ve used it, don’t knock it, and once you have, any other system will likely seem positively Fred Flintstone in comparison.
As for maintenance, if you’re not doing regular and proper upkeep of a 160-mph GT, then you shouldn’t own one. Once properly set up, the hydraulics offer no challenge.
A fast, comfortable tourer
The Bora is a brilliant, fast and comfortable touring car, excellent for long trips and docile in around-town puttering. The ride is excellent, and the long one-piece seats are unusual in having no back-rest adjustment. They can be raised or lowered and provide superb comfort. Once you’ve experienced their thigh support, you’ll wonder why they’ve never been repeated.
The Bora is no track-day car. It’s fast, but it’s also a bit heavy, thanks to a robust build quality and what may be the best cabin sound and heat insulation in a mid-engine car until the Acura NSX came along. The car’s weight works to give the driver a certain amount of confidence on the road, as the Bora never feels floaty at speed, but it doesn’t get in the way of responsive handling. A small cavil might be the slightly notchy and longish throw in the ZF gearbox.
Owners also enjoy the access to the engine the Bora offers, more generous than many mid-engine layouts, and the trunk space is more than adequate for the long-distance travel the car encourages.
As is often the case with Maseratis, the subtle sophistication of the styling is lost on a large part of the market. This is especially true for the Bora, as many seeking mid-engine GT cars want them to be a bit more flashy and dramatic than Giugiaro’s quiet-but-strong form. However, as in other segments of the market, a slow awakening to the dynamic qualities of the Bora has been pushing prices upwards.
On the rise
Current asking prices for Boras in the U.K. and Europe run a rather large range from $81,000 to $176,000. At the time of writing, I could not locate any for sale in the United States. Interestingly, several of the cars offered abroad had originally been delivered Stateside. This example is one such car.
From the catalog images, this Bora appeared to be quite tidy, with good shut lines and smooth panel fit. The interior was very clean, with what appeared to be original seats nicely broken in, and moderately worn carpets. The silver and red color scheme is classic and suits the Bora quite well.
That it sold for nearly 50% more than the upper range in the SCM Price Guide seems out of line for a refurbished car. However, considering it in the mid-range of the current asking prices for Boras puts it into a different context altogether. A question that remains is whether prices such as these are achievable in the United States.
Time will tell, but without a doubt the Bora is another of the perennially undervalued Maseratis that are being discovered. This car may have been well sold for October 2013, but it will likely be a bargain by March 2014.
*The note on the price in U.S. dollars is for the variance in the posted results. Bonhams used $1.36/€1.00; our posted SCM number is at $1.35/€1.00. The posted rate for October 11, 2013, was $1.355/€1.00, so choose your conversion as you will. ♦
(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)