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by Jay Traugott
It may not be as well known as its Ghibli predecessor, but the Maserati Khamsin was equally beautiful and exotic. Sadly, only 430 were built.
Like most other automakers, Maserati has had its share of ups and downs over the years but it wasn't until Fiat took control of the reigns in 1993 did things begin to look up on a more permanent basis. However the biggest turning point in the marque's recent history was in 1997, when something happened that years earlier would have been deemed sacrilegious. One-time arch rival Ferrari bought a 50 percent share in Maserati and in 1999 took full control of the company.
For many Maserati fans this was both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, Maserati's financial future was secured. On the other, what exactly did Ferrari have in mind in terms of developing new Maseratis? Was it simply a ploy to get a hold of some secret technology Maserati was developing? As it turns out, Ferrari's intentions were pure and Maserati was repositioned as a luxury brand instead of a true performance competitor. The results of this rebranding are clearly evident today and both Maserati and Ferrari each have its own distinct attitude.Yet there will always be those who have fond memories of Maserati during its Citroen and De Tomaso ownership days.
And this rare 1975 Maserati Khamsin is one of the cars that should rekindle such affections. The "Khamsin" - an Egyptian word describing a hot and violent desert wind - was originally introduced as a Bertone prototype at the 1972 Turin Auto Show and was styled by famed designer Marcello Gandini. It was the successor to the Ghibli, which remains more well-known to this day. In 1973 the Khamsin was again displayed at the Paris Motor Show, only this time it had Maserati badging. It was well received and production officially began the following year.
Power came from a front-mounted 4.9-liter V8 with 320 horsepower mated to either a five-speed manual or three-speed slushbox. Its many interesting design features include a Citroen-designed fully hydraulic power steering system and a glass panel placed between the rear lights. The interior also had some unusual elements like hydraulic seats and an adjustable steering column. As beautiful as the car is, its market launch timing was disastrous due to the oil crisis spilling out (pun intended) across the world. In other words, buying an expensive and thirsty supercar was not very attractive even for those who could afford it.
All told, just 430 units were built by the time production ceased in 1982, with just 155 of those sent to the US. Now one of those is up for sale on eBay. This 1975 Khamsin has only 44,470 original miles on the clock and was also put through a proper restoration. Equipped with the optional automatic transmission, it's being offered for $64,900. With its stunning black exterior and red and black leather interior, its latest owner also added a CD player. Aside from that, everything else is true to its Seventies era. This Khamsin is a true supercar classic that was sadly not appreciated properly when it first came to market.