Rare Rides: A 1991 Maserati Shamal - Sporty, and Very Square

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a 1991 maserati shamal sporty and very square

In the 1990s, nobody in North America spent much (any?) time thinking about Maserati products. So you’d be forgiven if today’s Rare Ride slipped from your fond early-90s memories long ago.

It’s the Shamal, and it’s a bit homely.

Named, like many of Maserati’s other models (not the Biturbo), after a gust of air, Shamal is a wind that blows across large areas of Mesopotamia. As the 1990s fast approached, Maserati sought to blow some hot air into its lineup with a new 2+2 grand touring coupe. The company had not offered a coupe in that particular space since the demise of the Khamsin back in 1982.

Maserati telephoned the Khamsin’s designer, one Marcello Gandini of Lamborghini Countach and Lancia Stratos fame. “One more!” they said. Gandini set to work, and the Shamal debuted in December of 1989 in Modena, Italy. As the flagship coupe of Maserati’s product line, the Shamal shared many parts with the related Biturbo. The body shell, doors, and interior were all carried over in the effort. New were the front and rear end designs, as well as the unique Targa-style decorative bar on the pillars and roof.

All Shamals were powered by a 3.2-liter twin-turbo V8, producing a respectable 321 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. Power was delivered to the rear wheels via the six-speed manual. Not resting on their tech laurels, all Shamals were equipped with an adaptive suspension Maserati developed in conjunction with Koni.

The Shamal was the last model presented by Maserati’s then-owner Alejandro De Tomaso. By the time the new model went on sale in 1990, the company was already nestled under Fiat’s huge corporate umbrella. Shamal remained in production throughout 1996. At the end of its run, just 369 were produced.

For most of the time the Shamal was in production, the visually similar, but softer and more luxurious Ghibli was on offer. Ghibli used smaller engines, was available with an automatic transmission, and was priced below the Shamal. Ghibli remained in production from 1992 through 1998. While neither of those vehicles made it to the North American market, a buyer has retrieved today’s Shamal example from Switzerland and brought it to “Etobicoke,” located in Ontario.

With low miles, the Shamal asks $85,000.

[Images: seller]

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2 of 39 comments
  • FWD Donuts FWD Donuts on Sep 20, 2018

    I like it. Not worth anywhere close to $85K -- but it's a crazy little car with some grunt. Only thing I'd do is remove those body colored headlight bezels and paint them black. Very nice wheels on this car, too. The factory ones are fairly pedestrian. Reliability would be a huge concern, though. I remember test driving an early BiTurbo -- and that hunk of crap overheated about 5 minutes in. Electric fans failed to turn on. Couldn't believe it when the salesman popped the hood and took the radiator cap off. That brilliant move resulted in a Yellowstone-like coolant eruption.

  • Scott25 Scott25 on Oct 28, 2018

    Probably the last attractive Maserati vehicle.

  • Arthur Dailey Ford was on a roll with these large cars. The 'aircraft' inspired instrument 'pod' for the driver rather than the 'flat' instrument panel. Note that this vehicle does not have the clock. The hands and numbers are missing. Having the radio controls on the left side of the driver could however be infuriating. Although I admire pop-up/hideaway headlights, Ford's vacuum powered system was indeed an issue. If I left my '78 T-Bird parked for more than about 12 hours, there was a good chance that when I returned the headlight covers had retracted. The first few times this happened it gave me a 'start' as I feared that I may have left the lights on and drained the battery.
  • Jeff S Still a nice car and I remember these very well especially in this shade of green. The headlights were vacuum controlled. I always liked the 67 thru 72 LTDs after that I found them bloated. Had a friend in college with a 2 door 71 LTD which I drove a couple of times it was a nice car.
  • John H Last week after 83 days, dealership said mine needs new engine now. They found metal in oil. Potential 8 to 9 month wait.
  • Dukeisduke An aunt and uncle of mine traded their '70 T-Bird (Beakbird) for a brand-new dark metallic green '75 LTD two-door, fully loaded. My uncle hated seat belts, so the first time I saw the car (it was so new that the '75 models had just landed at the dealerships) he proudly showed me how he'd pulled the front seat belts all the way out of their retractors, and cut the webbing with a razor blade(!).Just a year later, they traded it in for a new '76 Cadillac Coupe de Ville (they had owned a couple of Imperials in the '60s), and I imagine the Cadillac dealer took a chunk out to the trade-in, to get the front seat belts replaced.
  • CaddyDaddy Lease fodder that in 6 years will be on the 3rd owner in a poverty bound aspirational individual's backyard in a sub par neighborhood sinking into the dirt. The lending bank will not even want to repossess and take possession of this boat anchor of a toxic waste dump. This proves that EVs are not even close to being ready for prime time (let's not even talk about electrical infrastructure). EVs only exist in wildly expensive virtue signaling status-mobiles. FAIL! I know this is a Hybrid, but it's a Merc., so it will quickly die after the warranty. Show me a practical EV for the masses and I'll listen. At this time, Hybrids are about the way to go for most needing basic transportation.