1981 Maserati Kyalami 4.9 Coupe (RHD)
Produced between 1976 and 1983 in tiny numbers, Maserati’s Tipo 129 Kyalami is the ideal GT car - handsome, restrained styling by Frua clothing a robust chassis and powered by the same classic quad-cam V8 found under the bonnet of legendary models like the Ghibli, Khamsin and Bora. Debuting at the 1976 Geneva Salon, the Kyalami was named after the South African race track where Pedro Rodriguez won the Grand Prix in 1967 at the wheel of a Cooper-Maserati. Based to some extent on the De Tomaso Longchamp, considerable changes were made to both the styling - with Pietro Frua’s design studio in Turin improving on Tom Tjaarda's already elegant lines - and under the bonnet, where a lot of work went into housing the Italian running gear. Inside the spacious cockpit, the Kyalami abounds in luxury features; opulent Connolly leather hides, suede dash with full instrumentation and the advantage of usable rear seats. Initially offered with a 4.2-litre version of the familiar V8, most early Kyalamis came with ZF’s five-speed manual gearbox featuring a limited-slip diff and 3.54:1 final drive ratio, while a Borg Warner three-speed auto was optional. Tested by Autocar magazine in July 1978, the newest car to wear the three-pointed Trident reached zero to 60 mph in just 7.6 seconds with a top speed estimated at 147 mph. That same year Maserati made the larger 4.9-litre V8 available and - underscoring the relaxed nature of the model – Chrysler’s Torqueflite automatic gearbox was standardised. According to factory records, just 200 Kyalamis were built during the eight years of production and just 44 of these were configured for right-hand drive markets like the UK, Hong Kong and Australia.