Maserati Barchetta1991 - 1992
Category: Sport cars
The Maserati Barchetta was a mid-engined, two-door, two-seat sports car, like the 350 and 450S, that was designed by Carlo Gaino of the "Synthesis Design", an Italian design house.
Thirteen examples of the racing model were produced at De Tomaso's factory in Modena, plus two prototypes (one racing-corsa, one street-stradale). It featured a mid-engine V6 AM501 Maserati biturbo engine 1996cc (red intake manifold for the Corsa) an evolution of the AM490 (black intake manifold used for the Stradale), a central frame holding an integral fuel tank and a very light glass fiber/carbon fiber spyder body, accelerating the car to about 180 mph (290 km/h). The development of a road version was stopped at a late stage. However, today some racing cars hold a road title in Europe, after minor modifications to allow road compatibility.
The racing series Grantrofeo Barchetta was held 1992 and 1993. It has featured sixteen races total, most of them in Italy.
The central-frame concept was survived on the De Tomaso Guarà, but the frame was around 13 cm (5.1 in) longer because it was engined by a longer V8.
This was thought as a way to inject much needed excitement and enthusiasm for the carmake whose reputation had been badly ruined by years of producing exciting but maintenance sensitive products, eventually culminating in Maserati's withdrawal from the North American market at this time.
It is also true that the amount of delicate maintenance necessary to take care of these high output small engines was not compatible with the auto repair industry in several territories.
This model has become a collector item valued at several times its introduction price.
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