Quattroporte III/Royale AM330, 1979-1990
The third generation Maserati Quattroporte (Tipo AM 330) was developed under the Alejandro de Tomaso-GEPI ownership. After the brief parenthesis of the Citroen-era front-wheel drive Quattroporte II, the third generation went back to the classic formula of rear-wheel drive and large Maserati V8 engine. It was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro.
During 1976, Giorgetto Giugiaro presented two Italdesign show cars on Maserati platforms, called the Medici I and Medici II. The latter, based on Maserati's Kyalami coupé, had features that would make it into the production version of the third-generation Quattroporte.
Maserati Medici II
A pre-production Quattroporte was introduced to the press by Maserati president Alejandro de Tomaso on 1 November 1976, in advance of its début at the Turin Motor Show later that month. It was only three years later though, in 1979, that the production version of the car went on sale.
Initially, the "4porte" badging was used, but changed in 1981 to Quattroporte. Two versions of the V8 engine were available: a 4,930 cc one producing 280 PS (206 kW; 276 bhp), and a smaller 4,136 cc engine producing 255 PS (188 kW; 252 bhp) — later 238 hp (177 kW; 241 PS), which was phased out in 1981. The interior was upholstered in leather and trimmed in briar wood. The Quattroporte III marked the last of the hand-built Italian cars; all exterior joints and seams were filled to give a seamless appearance. From 1987 the Royale superseded the Quattroporte.
On 14 December 1986, Maserati's 60th anniversary as a car manufacturer, De Tomaso presented the Maserati Royale in Modena, a built-to-order, ultra-luxury version of the Quattroporte. It featured a higher compression 4.9-litre engine, putting out 300 PS (221 kW; 296 bhp). Besides the usual leather upholstery and veneer trim, the passenger compartment featured a revised dashboard with analogue clock, four electrically adjustable seats, retractable veneered tables in the rear doors, and a mini-bar. Visually, the Royale was distinguished by new disc-shaped alloy wheels and silver-coloured side sills. De Tomaso announced a limited run of 120 Royales, but when production ceased in 1990 only 53 of them had been made.
In all, including the Royale, 2,155 Quattroporte IIIs were produced.
The third generation Quattroporte used an all-steel unibody structure. The chassis was related to that of the Maserati Kyalami, in turn derived from the De Tomaso Longchamp and therefore ultimately related to the De Tomaso Deauville luxury saloon. Front suspension was of the double wishbone type, with single coaxial dampers and coil springs and an anti-roll bar. The rear axle used a peculiar layout very similar to Jaguar independent rear suspension. Each cast aluminium hub carrier was linked to the chassis only by a single lower wishbone, the half shafts doubling as upper control arms, and was sprung by twin coaxial dampers and coil springs units. Rear brakes were mounted inboard, the callipers bolted directly to the housing of the differential. The entire assembly was supported by a bushing-insulated crossbeam. Initially a Salisbury-type limited slip differential was used; in 1984 it was replaced by a more advanced Gleason-licensed Torsen - or "Sensitork" in Maserati parlance.
The engine was an evolution of Maserati's own all-aluminium, four overhead cam V8, fed by four Weber carburettors. The automatic transmission initially used was a three-speed Borg-Warner automatic transmission, soon replaced by a Chrysler A727 "Torqueflite" gearbox. Manual gearboxes were ZF S5 five speeds. When leaving the factory all 4200 Maseratis were originally fitted with Pirelli Cinturato 205VR15 tyres (CN72)