In the first year under Alejandro De Tomaso’s leadership, Maserati unveiled a new model called the Kyalami which shared its basic layout and elements with the De Tomaso Longchamp coupé.
Powered by Maserati’s reliable 4.2 V8, the Kyalami was seen as a transition model while the new management formulated their future plans. Even so, it proved worthy of the Trident badge.
Unveiled at the 1976 Geneva motor show, it revived a notchback four-seater coupé philosophy which had been discontinued with the last Mexico four years earlier, and fittingly took its name from the South-African race track where Pedro Rodriguez won the 1967 F1 Grand Prix driving a Cooper-Maserati T81. The Kyalami was Pietro Frua’s last creation for Maserati, crowning a successful collaboration initiated 25 years earlier.
The 4.2 litre V8 produced 265 hp (later reduced to 253 hp with a new exhaust) powering the Khamsin to a top speed of 235 kph (146 mph). The sub-frame mounted independent rear suspension descended from the Khamsin, with disc brakes installed.
The Kyalami appealed to a clientele favouring comfort and understated elegance for long journeys. The ride was supple and the interior was plush, with Connolly leather enrobing the seats, suede covering the dashboard and thick carpets completing the picture. Out of 200 Kyalamis produced, 25 were specified with a 3-speed automatic Borg-Warner gearbox. The model remained in production until 1983 after which the Maserati range would remain without a V8 coupé until 1990 and the arrival of the Shamal.