1972 Maserati Bora - Reader Resto

By: Greg Gialouris with Guy Allen, Photography by: Nathan Jacobs

Presented by

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We all know boredom and a little spare cash can lead to trouble. Here's a good example

What was I thinking? It was a Saturday morning, it was a lousy day, it was raining and I got on to the web, and what do I find? A Maserati Bora.

I always looked at them on the internet and thought, well I’ll never own one of those. At the time I owned a Maserati Merak but always thought I’d love a Bora but never thought I’d find one. Blow me down, there’s one in Melbourne. I ring the guy up, did the deal over the phone immediately, went down three days later and brought it home.

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Then all the disappointment started. At that stage I didn’t have a panel-beater or an upholsterer and knew very little about the Bora itself. I talked to a few mates who had Italian classic cars and ended up interviewing a few panel-beaters. Some weren’t really interested in looking at it. It needed a fair bit of work – floors and sills needed replacing, that sort of thing.

I met up with Rob at Race Motor Bodies (Sydney) – we had a look at it and we ended up going ahead. We got stuck in and, slowly, slowly, the car took shape. It took four and a half years. The team putting it together was Rob McDacy with Mark Dumas and me.

| Read next: Maserati BiTurbo review

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Rob didn’t know a lot about Maserati at that stage and I did some of the groundwork. We found with this project that you have to associate yourself with people who have the cars and know where to get things and confide in. You couldn’t really go and compare this with another car.

I got onto a Maserati forum and got to meet quite a few people over the web. And slowly got information. Without the help of other people who own the car, there’s not much chance of getting it restored. There is very little documentation.

| Reader Resto: 1967 Jaguar E-Type I

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You’ve got a company in the United States, called MIE Corporation , that will supply the parts and give you some assistance. The technical side, and the detail in the bodywork in particular, is very hard to get.

They only ever produced 542 all up and, out of those, only 27 were right-hand drive. There have been a few converted from left to right-hand drive and I think there about five in Australia. This was right-hand-drive from the factory and was number 157 in the production, at Maserati. It began in 1972 and then in 1974 they did the same body shape but changed a few things, such as putting vents in the bonnet. I think production went through until about 1982. I think the oil crisis hit and then production completely ceased. It has to be hand-built with those numbers.

| Read next: 2010 Maserati Grancabrio review

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There is no availability of body panels, so if you want to restore them you have to make them yourself. Although I was able to locate a couple of front fenders that I replaced.

It’s a mid-engine DOHC 4.7lt V8, Maserati’s own GT motor, with a transverse-mount five-speed gearbox. It runs four two-barrel Weber carburettors and claims 300 horsepower. They also had a 4.9 litre, which was 320 horsepower. It weighs around 1500kg.

It drives really nicely. The engine had evolved over many years and saw a lot of use. It’s a well-built motor. Corse Motorsport did the engine and transmission rebuild.

| Reader Resto: De Tomaso Pantera GT4 tribute

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Unlike the body, sourcing mechanical parts wasn’t too bad. Some bits I had to source second-hand. That’s where setting up a good network of people really helps. The beauty about this car is it’s virtually the same as the Merak from the doors forward. Now the Merak was produced in bigger numbers – over 2000 – and some of the parts, including suspension, are interchangeable.

The back is completely different, but just that front section made it a lot easier to restore the car.

maserati-bora-interior-3.jpgSumptuous interior is very inviting

That huge glasshouse over the engine is in fact fitted with glass rather than perspex. There is a panel that fits over the motor, but I’ve just left it off because I just like looking at the engine. It is meant to double-up as a parcel shelf. It gets a bit hot, but I guess it gives you a bit of extra room if you’re going on a trip. It’s also got a good-sized front boot.

It has the hydraulics in it from Citroen – the French company owned Maserati at the time. The pop-up headlights, the seat adjustment and pedal box adjustment are all operated by hydraulics. The seat does not go back and forward – only up and down – while the pedal box can be moved. That system also operated the brakes. This doesn’t have power steering.

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The reason Citroen bought Maserati was it wanted the V6 out of the Merak for the SM. They only held on to it for a few years and the brand was passed on to De Tomaso.

Now that I have a few niggles out of it, I’m really enjoying driving it. It’s got a nice sound to it, gets along beautifully and handles quite well. Those big high-profile tyres mean you also get quite a comfortable ride. Though the motor is right behind you, the cabin isn’t noisy.

maserati-bora-11.jpgBare bones and stripped out doesn’t  look at all pleasing

Those full magnesium Campagnolo wheels, they had to be treated the right way. I believe if you don’t treat the material properly, they can become porous. That’s a good example of all the intricate things you need to find out when you’re doing these sorts of cars. They can be different to the norm.

You end up becoming a bit of an expert on the model, through websites, speaking to people. You have to pull in all that information, because no-one knows anything about them – certainly not the local service people who are more used to day-to-day cars.

maserati-bora-8.jpgOne very proud, satisfied and happy Maserati Bora owner

Rob has allowed me to work in his workshop, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed – participating in the build of the car. I’d do certain tasks, thinking I’ve done a pretty good job here for a no hoper. I’d take it to Rob and he’d shake his head and say that’s not good enough, you go back and do it again! He was probably more fastidious than I in the building of the car, but I did want this sort of quality of finish. I wasn’t going to stand for a second-rate job and I’m really happy with where it ended up.

Rob had a real sense of ownership of the project – it’s now his pride and joy, I think. He describes it as one of the most rewarding cars he’s worked on and wants to know what’s happening with the car and what I’m doing with it. I had to pop in on the way here today, to show him the ‘baby’.

The work he, Mark and I put into it was well worth it. 

THE RESTORATION

Complex machinery

maserati-bora-engine-bay-3.jpgThe Bora’s DOHC 4.7-litre V8 engine is a complex affair.

Up up and away

maserati-bora-9.jpgThe Bora about to go skywards once more.

Art and frustration

maserati-bora-engine-bay-5.jpgIt’s a maze of pipes and arms and frameswork under the bodywork.

Pipeworks zone

maserati-bora-underside.jpgAn almost flat undertray houses most of the Bora’s pipeworks.

Flip your lid

maserati-bora-10.jpgTo get to the engine you have to flip and lift the entire rear bodywork.

Almost ready

maserati-bora-underside-2.jpg With the Bora’s internals retweaked, firing it up is next on the agenda.

1972 MASERATI BORA

Engine: 4.7lt DOHC V8
Power & torque:
228kW @6000rpm
460Nm @4200rpm
TRANSMISSION: Five-speed manual
SUSPENSION:
Front: Coil-springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar.
Rear: Coil-springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar
Brakes: Disc brakes front and rear.

 

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