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.

  • Urlik My online research seems to indicate it’s an issue with the retaining clips failing and allowing the valve spring retainers to come out. This results in the valve dropping into the cylinder.
  • EBFlex Typical Ford. For those keeping track, Ford is up to 44 recalls for the year. Number one recalled manufacturer (yet again) by a wide margin.
  • Lorie Did they completely forget the damn 2.0 ecoboosts that have the class action lawsuit? Guess those of us that had to pay out of pocket for an engine replacement for a fail at 76k miles are out of luck? I will never buy a Ford again.
  • Mncarguy I remember when the Golf came out and all the car magazines raved about it. I bought an early one in the mid level trim, brown with a beige vinyl interior and a stick. I must have blocked out a lot about that car, because the only thing I remember is one day with my wife and infant in the car, the brakes went out! I could use the parking brake and made it home. There must have been other issues (beside an awful dealer who felt like they were doing you a favor even letting you come in for service) because I swore I'd never buy a VW again. I did get a new Beetle and later a Passat. That's another story!
  • Oberkanone The Chrysler - Plymouth - Dodge Neon's racing successes - SCCA and elsewhere (allpar.com)Inexpensive racing.