La Dolce Vita. Style. Passion. Elegance. These are the carefree ideals that informed the evolution of the Italian car industry. Stop a random passer-by on the street and ask them which country builds cars with the most passion, they’ll invariably cite Italy as the lotharios of the automotive world. It’s just a fact of life, and it stems from the seeds of striving through hardship, carving a niche, and capturing imaginations.
The Maserati name dates back to 1926, when the three eponymous brothers, Alfieri, Ernesto and Ettore, who had all previously worked at Isotta-Fraschini, used their combined skills and know-how to open a tuning shop. After the end of the first world war, they started making racing cars under their own name – Maserati evolved primarily as a racing outfit, the road cars paying for the real business of the day: taking scalps under the chequered flag.
So the provenance is strong, and as the decades wore on, so the focus on quality road cars grew and evolved. As for picking the most desirable Maseratis… well, that’s like shooting fish in a barrel. The world wouldn’t be the same without the 250F, the most iconic of all racing Masers.
The early Quattroportes were magnificent, and you’d be happy to give garage space to any of the cars named after winds – Mistral, Khamsin, Ghibli, Bora, take your pick. But the car we have here, the Indy, represents a truly fascinating chapter in the marque’s history. You see, the late-1960s saw the bubbling up of the impending oil crisis – while this meant extreme strangulation of engines for the Americans, it had broader financial implications for the Italians; basically, it was a case of sink, swim, or find a lifeboat. In Maserati’s case, this rescue ship came in the form of Citroën. The Indy was the first model produced under Citroën ownership – a slightly larger alternative to the Ghibli (which was a 2+2), the new Indy was a full four-seater grand tourer, offered at launch with a 260bhp 4.2-litre V8. It was named in honour of Maserati’s victories at the Indy 500 in 1939/40, and from 1970 a more powerful 292bhp 4.7-litre version was offered. Of a total production run of 1,104 cars, just 364 were built with the 4.7-litre engine.
The car we have here, then, is a rare treat indeed – a representative of a new dawn for the iconic manufacturer, in a spec level you’re supremely unlikely to happen across in the wild.