When I started the Lairy Scary Classics tribe, I wanted to celebrate those cars from the 1980s and '90s that were characterised by two things: in-your-face style, and seat-of-your-pants power. Today, I came face to face with a car that epitomises the LSC ethos: the Maserati Shamal.
You can't pretend that the Shamal is a pretty car, but it's definitely a product of its era; squint, and this Gandini-designed coupe could be an Audi Quattro or a VW Corrado. Boxy wings have become all the rage in the last few years, and this ultra-rare right-hand drive Shamal has to be top of the box-fender tree. It squats down on its big alloys, ready to put that twin-turbo 3.2 V8 to good use.
Inside, the car is a pretty nice place to be. The seats are comfortable, all the gauges well-placed, and the dash design subtle- very different from earlier Maseratis where 'subtle' wasn't included. Start the engine and pull away, and that quiet confidence continues. My daily driver is an Alfa Romeo GT 3.2 V6, and my first impression of the Shamal was one of a little disappointment; there was no noise, no fuss, and not as much grunt as the GT. As we drove away from the Classic Motor Hub where the car is for sale, and down the small Cotswold lanes surrounding it, the car behaved like just any other two-door saloon.
A mile or so later, and our country road met the A429. It was busy, and I had to push the car to get it out into the line of traffic. Clutch dropped, right foot floored, and the Shamal leapt out onto the carriageway. Like a Jekyl & Hyde character, at about 4,000 rpm it transformed from docile to demented. As the boost gauge on the dash leapt up towards the redline and the twin IHI turbines kicked in, the bonnet lifted and small animals began to be sucked out of the hedgerows, only to be converted into pure torque by 3,217cc of Maserati muscle.
As the road opened up gaps in the traffic started to appear, and this was when the fun really started. Hang back, drop a gear, wait for the warp drive to spool up, then hang on as you're blasted around the car in front- there are few better ways to spend a November afternoon.
Cotswold Collectors Cars have this Shamal up for sale for a shade under £80,000. That's a big call for a '90s Maserati, but is it worth it? All I'd say is that this one is pretty special- it is one of only seven right-hand-drive Shamals, and is a Maserati Club UK concours winner. It drives superbly, and looks the absolute business, but it is also comfortable enough that you could drive this every day. This is my only concern- it is too nice. If I owned this car, I would want to drive it all the time, and before long this spotless machine would be bug-spattered, stone-chipped and bald-tyred. But what fun I'd have. :-)
With thanks to The Classic Motor Hub www.facebook.com/TheClassicMotorHub/