Maserati’s owner since 1968, Citroën decided that the successor to the Italian manufacturer’s Quattroporte luxury saloon would be based on a stretched Citroën SM platform. Thus the Quattroporte II inherited the SM’s underpinnings, on which was carried a four-door saloon body designed by Carrozzeria Bertone’s Marcello Gandini. Bertone was also commissioned to build the bodies. The Quattroporte II was equipped with the 2,965cc V6 engine of the Maserati Merak SS, itself an enhanced version of the original Citroën SM engine, which was coupled to a five-speed manual gearbox.
The Quattroporte II made its official debut at the Paris Motor Show in October 1974 and the following month was displayed at the Turin Motor Show. Considerably different from its predecessor, the Quattroporte II featured front-wheel drive and Citroën's hydro-pneumatic suspension and swivelling directional headlights. The Quattroporte II was scheduled to commence production in January 1975, but by then Citroën was in serious financial difficulty. Fearing significant job losses, the French Government brokered a deal that saw Citroën merge with Peugeot, while Maserati was sold to the Argentine industrialist, Alejandro de Tomaso. The Quattroporte II was a casualty of the resulting restructuring, and in the event only 13 cars were completed.
Origins and Documentation
Dating from 1974, the car seen here is the first Quattroporte II manufactured. Finished in Silver and the only one built with headlight wipers, it was used to illustrate the Press Pack handed out at motor shows where it was on display. As well as the aforementioned Press Pack, the car’s comprehensive file contains all the paperwork documenting its transition through the hands of only three owners.
- A delivery note from the Maserati factory, dated 20th September 1974, states that the car should be sent to the Maserati stand at the Salone dell’automobile di Pargi (Paris Motor Show). It also mentions that the car is equipped with a sunroof and a Blaupunkt Goslar radio.
- A second delivery note, dated 23rd October 1974, states that the car should to be sent to the Maserati stand at the Salone dell’automobile di Torino (Turin Motor Show).
- A third delivery note, dated 16th December 1974, states that the car is to be shipped to Ets. François Staumont in Brussels. This note also states that the car is to be displayed at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1975, followed by the RAI Car Show in Amsterdam in February 1975.
- Finally, a fourth expedition note, dated 31st March 1976, states that the car is to be shipped to Auto Paris in Barcelona and displayed at the Barcelona Motor Show.
After being displayed at the Barcelona show, this car was sold in Spain. The registration certificate dated 9th June 1976 shows that the first owner was Mr. Roura Fernandez, residing in Barcelona. A bill of sale dated 19th September 2013 shows that the second owner was Mr. Bernard Guénant of La Roche-sur-Yon, France, who purchased it for €42,000. Dated 25th February 2019, a Certificat de Cession shows that I became the third owner of this exceptionally rare car.
Only cosmetically restored by Mr. Guénant, the car was by this time in need of a thorough mechanical restoration. Taking more than a year to complete, the rebuild involved dismantling and overhauling the engine and gearbox, while numerous parts had to be custom made.
In total, 16 Quattroporte II bodies were built: three being scrapped and 13 finished. Of the 13 cars completed, six were sold in Spain and seven in the Middle East. Today only seven Quattroporte IIs are known to exist, of which only three are in driving condition while four need to be completely restored. Of the survivors, this car is by far the most historically important, having been displayed at five motor shows: Paris, Turin, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Barcelona.