The Story Of The Maserati Indy

Citroen had high ambitions for Maserati; shame these contributed towards them going bust

large image of Maserati Indy

By 1968 Adolfo Orsi decided to sell the company to Citroen, although he remained, at least officially, in control as the president. This was viewed by many people as a marriage made in heaven since not only would Maserati have access to a stronger financial base (at least until Citroen hit their own financial crisis) but they could also make use of advanced technologies that Citroen had developed, particularly in the field of hydraulics.

The first product to be produced by the new company was a high-speed 2+2, the Indy,introduced in 1969. It was named in honour of Maserati's two victories in the Inianapolis 500; although I wonder how many remembered, or cared, that this happened under different ownership, and about 30 years earlier.

This was a two door 2+2 seater coupe, with a conventional front engine and rear wheel drive layout, powered by a 4.2 litre V8 engine with two valves per cylinder and twin overhead cams. The year after it was launched a 4.7 litre engine was also offered and a 4.9 in 1972.

The graceful coupe body was designed by Giovanni Michelotti of stylists Carrozzeria Vignale; one of the most popular car designers of the time and the company was allowed to put their crest on the front wings of the car. The aerodynamic shape of the vehicle helped with performance which was quite impressive for the era, with a top speed of 154 mph and 0 to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds.

This was a luxurious car by any standards. Given the fact that the rear seats were a little bit on the small side it had leather covered reclining seats and electrically operated windows. In order to keep the aerodynamic shape of the bonnet headlights were electrically operated pop-ups, but there was also a mechanical way of raising and lowering them in case of failure. Later versions of the car had air con as well as power -assisted steering.

Between 1970 and 1972 the 4.7 litre 290 brake horse power engine, with Bosch electronic ignition was offered; this was meant mainly for the USA market and it is often known as the Maserati Indy America.

Both engine choices were replaced, however, in 1971 by a 4.9 litre V8 pumping out 320 brake horse power; this gave a top speed of a very impressive 165 mph. What was less impressive however was the small 14 inch tyres and somewhat inadequate brakes which had to handle all this power!

By 1975 production finished with just a little over 1100 Indys sold.