1971 MASERATI Bora Group 4 Evocation

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1971 MASERATI Bora Group 4 Evocation

Background

The Bora was a seminal change, even a revolution in Maserati history.

The Trident, the Modenese firm of Maserati, one of the grandest most successful racing car manufacturers and prestigious sports car companies in the world had been struggling financially in the sixties and the model range was technologically obsolete. When Citroen decided to buy the historic firm of the Trident from the Orsi family in 1968 and fund it as strongly as it deserved they first renovated the factory and production tooling. Then the time had come to make a grand statement, to show the technological capabilities of Maserati.

This statement was the Bora, introduced at the 1971 Geneva show and what a statement it was. It was no less than the first rear mid engine production Maserati and the fruit of years of intense development. Gone were the rigid rear axles and drum brakes of previous models, the Bora had independent rear suspension, all wheel hydraulic disc brakes, a very modern monocoque chassis and a stunning design by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design, his own firm. It was aggressive without being vulgar and featured a unique stainless steel roof. The engine, located longitudinally with the 5 speed ZF gearbox behind it for ideal weight distribution, was the trusted 4,7 alloy four cam V8 offering 310hp and copious torque: 335Lb/ft with a top speed of 280kph. At 1535 kilos it was no less than 115 kilos lighter than the Ghibli.

It had excellent handling, one of the many qualities top journalists noted in their test drive articles, handling much better than other first generation mid engine cars which tended to be unforgiving. Boras would be reassuringly understeery for the tame less experienced drivers but for those with experience they could be made to oversteer satisfyingly. The hydraulic brakes were a tremendous improvement compared to the previous standard ones, they increased driving safety enormously and were also fade proof, even during an intense track day for those so inclined.

The Bora is thrilling to drive fast yet very relaxing to drive gently, a true GT car that can be enjoyed over continental crossing drives since it is far less noisy inside compared to other rear mid engine cars of the time –some of which are far too uncomfortable noisy for extended use- thanks to very efficient noise and vibration isolation ad an engine that is suspended on silent blocks in a subframe. It is also exceptionally comfortable thanks to incredibly long seats that cocoon passengers down to their knees. The driver’s position has an amazing adjustability thanks to the seat rising forward and up or backwards and down for taller drivers while the entire pedal box can slide closer or further from the driver via hydraulic adjustment and of course the steering wheel could be raised, lowered and moved closer or further ensuring that anyone could have a perfect driving position.

564 Boras were made between 1971 and 1978. As usual the USA market versions, were compromised by big ugly bumpers and emissions restrictions equipment which somewhat strangled their performance. In anticipatory compensation for that the US version was made with a 4,9 litre version of the engine. Some Euro Boras at the end of the production cycle were made with the 4,9 litre engine but there is no noticeable performance difference. 314 were made with the 4.7 engine, 250 with the 4.9, mostly USA market cars. There is no doubt that the Bora was the most accomplished well rounded and usable rear mid engine supercar of its generation when compared with the very impractical Lamborghini Countach and the ill handling 365BB and 512BB Ferrari with its engine above the gearbox giving too high a center of gravity. The Bora was as fast as they were in the real world and contrary to them a flawless mature proposition that combined a consummate gentleman’s Grand Touring car with a ferocious Le Mans prototype when you wanted it. It also had a generously sized trunk in the front. Underestimated at the time, it has gained more and more respect and is becoming ever more desirable. Some buyers of the new MC20 are buying Boras too as historical references for their collection.


THE LEGENDARY BORA GROUP 4’S.


The two Bora Group 4’s are major Unicorns of Maserati history.

In 1973 the factory built highly developed Group 4 specification cars at the request of French Maserati importer Thepenier, valued today at around two million Euros, they are both in private French collections, seen only at major events and absolutely not for sale.

In testing in 1973 they were faster than all Group 4 rivals: Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona, de Tomaso Pantera, Porsche 911 etc. They had the opposition worried and de Tomaso complained to the CSI (what is now the FIA) stating that not enough of them had been built for homologation. Citroen, then owner of Maserati, did not want to lie about production figures unlike other manufacturers, such as another in the same Modena area had done repeatedly in the past, so the CSI did not grant homologation to the Bora Group 4 and the program was sadly still born, leaving a huge question mark. Decades later there was due revenge when one of them won a Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge race at Vallelunga in Italy beating a well driven Daytona Group 4. Poetic justice!

So apart of mind boggling performance the Bora Group 4’s have always had the aura of what might have been, they arouse passion in Maseratisti because of this mystique and the fact that they are the last racing car from Maserati golden era.

Being primarily a historian I documented them thoroughly and was also able to test drive both of them in 1995 and 2009 for my book Maserati the Citroen years 1968-1975 and for articles in Sports Car International (USA) and Classic & Sports Car (UK). Their potential was fantastic as confirmed by their main test driver in period Francois Migault. The famous racer journalist Paul Frere, winner of the Le Mans 24 hours in 1960, drove the first one in period and was mightily impressed.

The Vehicle

Well in the summer of 2015 on a visit to Sweden I rode with my friend Johan in the car being presented for sale here. I had been eager to do so because it is an extraordinary labour of love and tribute to, evocation of the Bora group 4’s. I can absolutely confirm it was tremendous experience and that the performance is in every way equal if not greater than the actual Group 4’s. Likewise the very, very surefooted handling in intense driving and ease of use in normal driving.

So it is as close as you can get to own a Unicorn: one of the mythical yet unobtainable factory Bora Group 4’s.

Are there other very professionally modified Boras like this? Yes, only one other in the world, totally unrelated to this one, located in France and absolutely not for sale.

MASERATI BORA AM117-024 FACTORY DATA

Chassis number AM117*024*

Model BORA 4700 (AM117)

Body ITALDESIGN (Giugiaro) – Closed

Displacement 4.719 cm3 – Carburettors

Gearbox type Manual type ZF 5DS-25

External colour Marrone Colorado

Interiors leather colour Senape

Date of production 23/12/1971

Delivery area Bruxelles

AM117-024 was sold new in Brussels, Belgium. It was then sold on to England early in it´s life and there modified by persons unknown to a Le Mans Group 4 evocation, with the intent to do club races in England but the project was stillborn, it was not completed at the time.

Currently the odometer reads 85225km. The engine was rebuilt 19000km ago to the racing specs. The car got a full service done 600kms ago including a new water pump winter 2020-2021. Importantly it passed the strenuous Swedish Vehicle Control inspection –equivalent to Germany’s TUV or England’s MOT-with no remarks at all in spring 2021.

On the Outside

The red paint presents very well and is free of damage or dings, the glass as well as headlight covers are unblemished. One wheel has light scouring around the center.

On the Inside

The interior is standard except for the wooden gear lever handle. It is in excellent condition. The seats were redone during the 91-95 restoration and are unblemished.

Underneath

On the lift there is absolutely no leakage. There is no sign of any damage, impacts or rust at all. The tires, 225/50ZR 15 at the front and mammoth sized 345/35 ZR 15 at the rear, are in fine shape with plenty of thread left.

An additional plaque was fitted by Johan on one of the crossmembers and deservedly so, it commemorates his ownership from 1991 to 2017. The Belgian importer’s chassis plaque, Staumont is in place.

The engine and engine bay present impeccably and of course the engine cover does not only save a huge amount of weight –some say 200 kilos but we have not weighed this one or the standard one- but also allow much improved heat dissipation and viewing of the engine at events.


History Highlights

Notes by Johan Helenius former longtime owner and major Bora afficionado who fell in love with the project he found by chance and carried out the tuning with his engineering expertise which is of the highest level:

”This unfinished condition is how it was when it was imported to Sweden in the eighties. I went to a workshop here in Sweden to inspect another Maserati and what a surprise: there it was, I just had to have it.

I bought the car as a restoration project in 1991 and then completed it in subsequent years. I first registered it in 1996. I owned it for 26 years until 2017 when it was sold to it´s present owner who lives just outside Stockholm.

The engine is where most of the work took place. One important aspect was the cam design. They were machined out of solid steel billets to a much more modern profile emphasizing a linear torque figure from 2700rpm to 5700rpm so it is not cammy at all like other cars of that era, it just goes. I am sure that you could get more power from an even more drastic cam profile, but I wanted a very drivable car so we settled for about 100hp more than the standard engine, which incidentally pulls stronger under 2500rpm but not above. The reason for that is that this car uses a specially made inlet manifold, quadruple Weber 48IDF’s, has matching porting of the heads and specially made matching exhaust headers. More work than most would realize. It runs very smooth and turbine like and is seriously faster (yes, I’ve tried...) than a standard Bora, so I guess it all paid off.

I also used special order high compression (10:3:1) forged pistons with special seal rings, bespoke larger valves and specially made con rods. Finally there were a few more tweaks to make it steadier, easily usable in real world traffic rather than more powerful, maximum power per se was never the goal.

ENGINE DETAILS

Original matching numbers engine totally restored by Rosso Corsa AB (owner Peter Juhlin, known for his extremely-meticulous restorations, beyond words). Later checked by Spezialmotorer AB (owner Micke Svens, overly competent mechanic, not just a restorer, also engine component constructor).

In addition to all parts normally installed in a restored engine (like chains, chain guides, valve guides, bearings, gaskets etc) the engine contains the following high quality special parts made especially for this engine:

* Ross racing pistons. Forged, specially designed for this engine as regards to position of piston rings, compression (10.3:1) etc.

* Piston rings. Specially adapted piston rings from TOTAL SEAL.

* Con rods. Specially made state of the art AUTO VERDI racing con rods.

* Camshafts. Designed and machined from solid steel billet by the legendary engine constructor Nisse Hedlund. With the purpose to give the engine a more linear power curve. The camshafts breathe perfectly between 2.700 - 5.700rpm (tested on dyno).

* Studs for main bearing caps screwed in extra strength steel liners. (as opposed to just screwed in the aluminium engine block) For extreme safety measure.

* Crankshaft/clutch balanced.

* To mention a few more improvements: Enhanced combustion chamber design, specially made/angled valve seats, specially made larger valves, exhaust/intake ported for larger valves, larger diameter exhaust pipes and larger diameter inlet ports.

* Specially made inlet manifold for WEBER 48 IDF.

* Specially made stainless exhaust headers and silencers by HAYWARD & SCOTT.

* Every part is carefully checked before assembly to racing tolerances, in other words blue-printed.

*MSD electronic iginition.

The original gearbox was restored by CHARLIE PERTZ who had worked at the ZF factory’s "meisterklasse division" years ago.

Original steel chassis with original suspension. Naturally a bit stiffer than standard due to lower weight, 1375kgs vs 1600kgs, a serious weight improvement.

The car is equipped with original Le Mans Bora racing magnesium wheels, 13 inch wide at rear. Only this car and the two Le Mans Group 4 Boras are so equipped. Unobtainable.

The wheels have been carefully painted to eliminate contact with air/oxygen.

I can add that the biggest weight gain is probably the rear engine cover with the deletion of the glass, the headlight buckets etc, etc. The plexiglas was installed by me in order to save weight, also the front bonnet louvres were added to aid cooling. Note that the original glass comes with the car.

It has non hydraulic brakes: all hydraulics were removed before I bought it.

The car is substantially lighter than a standard Bora and is therefore

already stiffer sprung and does not need stiffer springs. It is now very

precise in steering and road holding.”

End of quote.

It is an amazingly impressive piece of work, equal to his decades long passion for Boras. Typically all the work done is logged as are the parts suppliers so the buyer has the back up of knowing exactly what is what.

The photo gallery includes an interview extract of Johan in which he mentions his work on the car.

What We Think

This is clearly a unique proposition, an incredible creation to the highest standards and completely unrepeatable.

It is an amazingly impressive piece of work, equal to his decades long passion for Boras. Typically all the work done is logged as are the parts suppliers so the buyer has the back up of knowing exactly what is what.

With the two real Bora group 4’s costing millions of Euros if they were ever to reach the market this car is as close to owning one of them as one could get plus it is fully road legal, the perfect car for a blast through the countryside or for track days, vintage racing or all three. Note that this car has never been raced, just used sparingly on the road and in some rare track days.

It should be obvious and is unquestionable that reproducing a Bora like this would take a six figure investment in terms of expertise, labour time, parts manufacturing and machining, building, assembly, set up. Anyone with engineering qualifications and experience will understand that this is beyond a doubt. Selling this car for half a million Euros would be well deserved in terms of both its quality and uniqueness.

Since the real Bora Group 4’s would cost around two million Euros if they could be bought which is not the case this car is the closest one can get to the iconic last racing car of Maserati’s classic era. Again there is only one comparable Bora group 4 evocation like this, unrelated, located in France, and it is most definitely not for sale.

Based on this and on verifiable standard Bora auction prices we feel this extraordinary and unique creation should reach a price between €240,000 - €300,000 which is a very conservative, reasonable estimate when you consider the expertise, parts manufacturing, supplies and time invested. This car has been a literal sensation at all events it has attended and never ceases to draw a crowd, to elicit questions, compliments and enthusiasm.

Inspection by appointment near Uppsala, Sweden one hour north of Stockholm. Pick up and drop off at Stockholm Arlanda International Airport is possible. The winning bidder will pay the owner directly. We will be happy to assist with transport quotes to anywhere in Europe or the world and have a network of safe enclosed transporters specializing in classic cars.

Sweden is of course a member of the European Union and as such no taxes are to be paid by any buyer from another EU country. I remain at your disposal for any further information or assistance.

If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage options plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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Seller

MarcSonneryServices

  • Location: Uppsala, Sweden
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 85225 Kms
  • Chassis Number: AM117-024
  • Engine: 4700
  • Gearbox: manual
  • Steering position: LHD
  • Colour: Red
  • Interior: Black leather
  • Estimated Price: €240,000 - €300,000

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