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Vehicle Overview

The Shamal was introduced on 14 December 1989 in Modena, when Maserati president and owner Alejandro de Tomaso showed it to the press. It was the last model announced under the De Tomaso ownership: in January 1990, half of debt-plagued Maserati was acquired by Fiat S.p.A..Sales began in 1990. The final year of production for the Maserati Shamal was 1996; factory figures indicate that 369 examples were produced.

The Shamal was designed in collaboration by Marcello Gandini and Maserati’s own Styling department. A debt ridden Maserati was not able to develop an entirely new car, and accordingly the Shamal shows its Biturbo heritage in the doors, interior, and basic bodyshell, which were carried over from the Biturbo. It sits on the shorter 2.4-meter wheelbase, as also used by the Biturbo Spyder and Karif. Gandini’s styling signature is visible in the slanted profile of the rear wheel arch, also present on the Quattroporte IV and first seen on the Lamborghini Countach. An unusual design element introduced by Gandini on the Shamal was the additional spoiler in front of the windshield, also seen on his redesign of the DeTomaso Pantera and later across the remainder of Maserati’s Biturbo-based lineup. It was intended to direct the flow of air (as well as water) across the windscreen and to push the wipers down at high speeds. The feature was never adapted by other automakers.

The center pillar is also an actual roll bar, not simply a styling element. Finished in black, it wraps around the cabin. “Shamal” badging appears on either side of the central pillar in chrome lettering. The car came with 16-inch alloy wheels, a small rear spoiler and a blacked-out grille with chrome accents, the only chrome element on the car aside from the badging.

Another defining feature of the Shamal are its numerous headlamps in individual housings: outer round Carello low beams of the then-new projector type, inner rectangular high beams, combined turn signals and position lamps in the bumper, and two pairs of square lights in the lower grille—fog lamps and driving lamps. This headlight design was then introduced across the rest of the updated Biturbo range in 1991.

The two-seat interior of the Shamal features extended leather seat cushions, temperature control and the famous Maserati oval clock, which is situated in the centre of the dashboard. It continued Maserati’s tradition of building cars with cheerful, well-appointed interiors, with leather or wood coverings for almost anything one would touch, such as the center console, handbrake handle, or the gear lever which is finished in burled elm. While built for comfort as well as performance, the Shamal was not as luxuriously appointed as the contemporary Ghibli. The Shamal was initially only available in red or black exterior colours; other colours became available later in the production run.

Technical Specifications

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  • Designer
    Marcello Gandini

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