This 1967 Maserati Quattroporte Had a Surprising Career as a Firefighting Pickup Truck

hace 3 meses, 3 semanas - 25 enero 2024, autoevolution
This 1967 Maserati Quattroporte Had a Surprising Career as a Firefighting Pickup Truck
Nowadays, the luxury sedan segment is pretty crowded. But back in the 1960s, when Maserati launched its first generation Quattroporte, competition was not so fierce, so the Modena-based company's four-door sports saloon stood out and became quite successful.

Over the years, the Quattroporte became the pinnacle of Maserati's sedan offerings, having been produced over a total of six generations, with the seventh generation set to arrive in 2025. Vigorous and mighty yet reserved and understated, the Quattroporte has never really been the star in the Trident's lineup. However, it has always been a versatile platform, and it served as the basis for some interesting coach builds.

One of them is the Maserati Quattroporte CEA F1 Fire Truck you see here, one of the five examples built by coachbuilder Grazia from Bologna, Italy. This is not your usual coach build, though, so don't expect the sleekness of the Pietro Frua-penned Agha Kan unit or the Carrozzeria Pavesi-bodied example for the then Italian Republic president Sandro Pertini.

This unusual 1967 Quattroporte was skilfully modified into a firefighting pickup truck for fire extinguisher company CEA to be used at Formula 1 Grand Prix circuits in Italy. The car was chosen primarily due to its high performance, something that was utterly necessary when dealing with fire hazards. The Quattroporte's 4.1 liter V8 produced 260 hp and gave it a top speed of 143 mph (230 kph), which was a lot more than the fire trucks of the era.

Introduced at the Turin Motor Show in 1963, the Quattroporte marked an important milestone in Maserati's history, a brand that was, until then, primarily known for its racing cars and sports/GT models. It was the first large four-door sedan offered by the Modena brand and the first equipped with a V8. It features long overhangs and an airy cabin that gives it balanced proportions. Credit for the car's body styling goes to world-renowned designer Pietro Frua.

The first-gen Quattroporte offered a harmonious blend of luxury and performance. It initially came with a 4.1 liter V8 engine producing 260 hp under its hood, but halfway through the production run, the Italian carmaker upgraded the mill to a 4.7-liter V8, dialing power up to 286 hp and increasing the maximum speed to 143 to 159 mph (230 to 255 kph). These figures made it one of the fastest sedans of its time.

Actually, the car was advanced in more ways than one by the standards of 1963. It was built with a steel unibody structure with a front subframe, independent front suspension on coil springs, and a De Dion tube rear end also on coils. It features Girling disc brakes front and rear, as well as anti-roll bars as standard, while a limited slip differential was an optional extra.

The sleek appearance and impressive performance made the Maserati Quattroporte a favorite among wealthy buyers who wanted a high-performance car with more than just two seats. With its long wheelbase and impressive performance, it also piqued the attention of Italian fire extinguisher company CEA, which wanted a reliable vehicle for emergency fire response at Formula 1 and other motorsport events. Bologna-based coachbuilder Grazia was entrusted to turn five Quattroportes into firefighting pickups.

The unit pictured here is one of them. It left the Modena factory in July 1967 with an Argento Auteuil livery and black leather interior. Without modifying the structure of the car, Carrozzeria Grazia converted the rear into a platform capable of accommodating a water tank, an electric water pump, a water reserve, and fire extinguishers. The cabin was closed behind the front seats, and the front of the car was left unchanged, with all the luxury specific to the original Quattroporte still present, including the air conditioning system.

This particular car and the other four modified Quattroportes were extensively used on many Italian circuits for over a decade, greatly outpacing the diesel trucks typically used on racing circuits at the time. Their firefighting career ended in the late 1970s. After they were removed from service, the modified cars were sold to a person from Modena and were later acquired by French enthusiast Guido Bartolomeo, who saved them from being scrapped.

The unit in question here got into the hands of its current owner in 2011. It then benefitted from a full, high-quality restoration to bring it back to its original "fire truck" condition. It took six years to accomplish the feat, and the result is impressive, to say the least.

This rare 1967 Maserati Quattroporte CEA firefighting pickup truck is now offered up for auction and is due to go under the hammer in early February with a price guide of $163,200 – $272,000. It comes accompanied by historical documentation and Maserati certificates of origin and manufacture. It might not be a good fit for a daily driver, but this unusual machine would certainly turn some heads on the road, on the circuit, or at car shows. 

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