The Maserati Khamsin, the name of a hot Sahara Desert wind, was developed under the Citroën ownership for the clientele that demanded a front-engined grand tourer on the lines of the previous Ghibli, more conventional than the mid-engined Bora. The first pre-production Khasmin appeared at the 1972 Turin Motor Show. Partly due to the concurrent fuel crisis that shrunk demand for big V8 grand tourers. Production ended in 1982, with 435 vehicles made. 150 of these ended up the States from 1975 onwards.
The Khamsin's body is prominently wedge-shaped, with a fastback roofline and kammback rear end. The tail is characterized by a full-width glass rear panel, carrying inset "floating" tail lights with enough room for the 2+2 seating. Combined with the wide, almost all-glass rear hatch this gave exceptional rear visibility. Cosmetic triangular vented panels are inlaid in the C-pillar, with the right-hand one hiding the fuel filler cap. Another distinguishing feature is the engine bonnet, pierced by asymmetrical vents. Design features as the wedge body, glazed tail panel and the location of the fuel filler cap all carry Gandini's signature, as they were all present on his earlier Lamborghini Espada. In 1975, Maserati added a grill in the front nose which affected both European and American models.
It featured a large V8, equipped with power brakes, power clutch and power steering. Much of the suspension and braking systems were similar to the Bora and Merak with a double-wishbone setup and Citroën SM power brakes. The engine was a long-stroke version of Maserati's V8 that 320 bhp. This was mated either to a ZF 5-Speed manual or 3-speed Borg-Warner automatic transmission. Top speed was 275.14 kph / 171 mph. 0 - 60 mph in about 6 seconds. (supercars.net & wikipedia)
Khamsin models destined for the United States were also subject to significant design alterations to comply with newly enacted legislation with respect to bumper height/strength and placement of tail lights. Maserati and Bertone designer Marcello Gandini strongly objected to the NHTSA's decision prohibiting tail light assembly fitment in the rear vertical glass panel. The federalized Khamsin went on sale in 1975. These models required fitting a solid version of the glass tail panel. The tail lights had to be moved downward, to the rear bumpers' former location; the new, protruding bumper was mounted below the tail lights. The front bumper was also replaced by a bigger one. Square side markers found their way on the front and rear wings. The engine had to be revised too, gaining smog control equipment (air injection, thermal reactors in the exhaust manifolds, different carburettors and leaner fuel mixture) and losing 5 hp. (wikipedia)
Maserati Khamsin Spyder
Single copy in the Spyder version of the Maserati Khamsin was produced. It was commissioned by Jean Claude Paturau, the famous French collector. The conversion was carried out in 1975 by an American dealer. (rmc-cars.fr)
(Photos from iagclassics.com, mad4wheels.com, rmc-cars.fr, forum-auto.com
classiccarsmagazine.co.uk, rmc-cars.fr supercars.net & autowp.ru)