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Maserati Shamal

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Maserati Shamal Empty Maserati Shamal

Message par Steph69 Ven 4 Déc - 17:04

Un peu de lecture pour le week-end et l'opportunité de revoir son anglais ! mrgreen

Les articles sont ICI et LA
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Trident Trident Trident

Between Maserati's departure from the U.S. in 1990 and its return a dozen years later, there was the Shamal. We drive the only known example of the twin-turbo flagship in the States, and discover what we missed

As ever, Maserati found itself in financial straits. 1937, 1968, 1975... 'twas ever thus. This time, it was in the late 1980s. The Biturbo line sold well enough, initially, but with quality problems continuing to plague the Modenese marque, and all new models very obviously based on the Biturbo (no matter how cleverly they disguised them), Maserati sales worldwide continued to dwindle. By the end of the '80s, the marque's accumulated debt was stated to be 346 billion lira, or $275 million in 1990 money. And so Maserati faced the age-old conundrum: The company that so badly need a new model to perk up sales is also the marque that can least afford to develop that car.

Maserati pulled off quite the feat with the Shamal, a new range-topping coupe that was announced in the waning hours of 1989. To be fair, large chunks of the Shamal were already in the Maserati parts bin: Starting with the truncated, 94.5-inch wheelbase of the Biturbo Spyder, the doors, basic body structure, and interior largely carried over from the Biturbo. The suspension was, in specification, similar as well. Also returning: naming Maserati models for the wind. A shamal is a violent desert gust, blowing through Mesopotamia and funneling into the Persian Gulf.

You could be excused for thinking that the Shamal was another incremental improvement, a half-measure standing in for fresh thinking and engineering. But for a company hemorrhaging cash as Maserati was, there was a surprising amount about the Shamal that was brand new. First and foremost was the AM 479 engine: There were claims that it was all-new, though it took the existing Biturbo engine architecture and grafted on a pair of cylinders. The result was an all-alloy, wet-liner 3.2-liter DOHC four-valve twin-turbo V-8 fed by Weber/Marelli electronic fuel injection. The two liquid-cooled turbochargers, by Japanese concern IHI, are quicker to spool up than a single turbo; this minimizes lag in the low revs. Each turbo also has its own air-to-air intercooler to dissipate heat. The only other twin-turbo V-8 production cars up to that time were a pair of limited-run Ferraris: the 1984 288 GTO and the 1987 F40.

The four-valve heads are trick, too: Intake and exhaust valves are canted 20 degrees from each other, which minimizes fuel consumption and ensures efficient combustion for maximum power. How much power? A rated 326 horses at 6,000 RPM, and 320-lb.ft. of torque at just 2,800 RPM--low peak-torque revs for a small-cube Italian V-8, much less one that has to exhale through a three-way catalytic converter. The red-crackle-finish valve covers stand out in a black-and-silver engine bay, visual sizzle atop the high-tech steak.

The AM 479 V-8 is backed by a Getrag 560G six-speed manual, identical in specification to what was available in '90s-era BMW 8-series coupes, and the first six-speed in a production Maserati. The differential, nicknamed Ranger, needs no electronics to sense slip and distribute torque between the rear wheels in whatever ratio is required. It consists of a series of central gears surrounded by six satellite helical gears. All the gears work on a common axle, to minimize component wear and boost durability. Performance numbers are healthy for its day: 0-60 times of 5.3 seconds, and top speed approaching 170 MPH--numbers that topped those of sporting Maserati GTs past, like the Ghibli and Bora.

At first blush, the suspension looks to be made of Biturbo parts-bin bits: MacPherson struts and an anti-roll bar in front, trailing arms and coil springs in the back. (At least the new trailing arms were tubular here, and provision was made for a rear anti-roll bar, which no American-spec Biturbo came with.) Yet the tried-and-true bits were given an electronic, active, intelligent, driver-controlled dimension, in joint collaboration between Maserati and shock absorber giant Koni. The shocks register with the electronic control unit and adjust themselves to the road condition within 300 milliseconds. The driver can select one of four modes in the cabin, from low-speed comfort to full-on race mode.

Also included is a system engineered to keep all four wheels squarely on the road surface, and to keep the lower suspension arm and steering arm constantly parallel. This interactive lever system, known as Mechanic Attiva, is designed to give instant response with a minimum of effort. It aids braking too--helpful, considering the Shamal lacks ABS.

And then there's the styling. It is not unfair to call Marcello Gandini's shape controversial, but it is equally unfair to ask for an all-new shape that discarded the established understructure. Aesthetics are always a judgment call, and Gandini's stated goal of making a car with a strong visual break from its predecessors, despite the genetic similarities, was successful. Clearly it's of the Biturbo generation, a modern Maserati in its time, but with its own aggressive character, too.

The forward-jutting nose defied aerodynamic convention, and sported no fewer than three headlamps per side in individual housings, the light clusters including then-new projector-beam lamps. The windscreen wipers had their own air deflector, mounted at the base of the windshield, so that the blades wouldn't lift off the glass during high-speed derring-do in rainy weather.

Sixteen-inch rolling stock was standard, though as the aftermarket 17-inch OZ wheels and tires on our photo example prove, there's room for more within the confines of those blistered fenders and quarters. Set against the stock Biturbo doors, the flares, in combination with the ground effects on either side, give a wasp-waisted look that is more easily seen in three-quarter views and, it must be said, lighter colors. The palette initially included only black and red, though other hues came on board later in production.
The rear quarter wheel openings bear Gandini's signature touch, aggressively angled in the mold of his 1970 Lancia Stratos concept, the original flare-free Lamborghini LP500 Countach (and the Bravo concept of three years later), the 1976 Ferrari Rainbow concept, the 1988 Cizeta V16T and the De Tomaso/Qvale Mangusta from the turn of the century. That this signature styling element appears here should not be a surprise.

All Shamals also came with a dark gray targa band with a delicate chrome "Shamal" script on the B-pillar. It's nearly invisible on the black cars, but is far more readily apparent on the red ones. You could argue that it visually thins out the B-pillar, except the stock Biturbo body didn't lack for rear-quarter glass. Yet the targa band courts its share of controversy. Because the roof doesn't lift off the Shamal, the band might seem to be superfluous, but it serves as a structural component, adding to the old floorpan's torsional rigidity. The short wheelbase, wide track and dramatic details result in a machine that looks hunkered down, ready for a fight.

The Shamal sold new in 1991 for 125 million lira--about $99,300 in U.S. dollars of the era. On the wild assumption that half of a Shamal was pure profit, Maserati would have had to sell 5,500 of them in order to dig itself out of its financial hole. Instead, Maserati sold 2,130 cars in 1991, total. By 1990, the last year Maserati sold cars stateside for more than a decade, American sales dipped to just 240 units, all of which were Biturbo-based Spyders.

So, how did Roland Foss, a 31-year-old independent business owner from Fullerton, California, end up with a car not much younger than himself--a non-federalized, not-for-U.S.-sale, French-registered, Italian-built Shamal that few in this nation had ever heard of, much less desired? That, as it turns out, is a very long story (see the web link on the next page). Suffice it to say for now that he'd been in love with the Shamal since he was seven years old, and he made his dream of ownership come true.

Roland found this car in France, on a Biturbo-specialist web page. "I wanted black-on-black, low mileage, and full maintenance records. This car had it all, and was clearly well-cared for," Roland tells us. A previous owner added the 17-inch OZ wheels that you see here, along with slightly wider Michelin Pilot tires (235/265 wide, rather than the 225/245-wide factory rubber); Roland installed tinted windows plus an Alpine stereo head unit with Boston Acoustics speakers. The amber headlamps and French number plates remain, more tantalizingly foreign touches to a machine that's already alien to our shores.

Slip inside, and you're confronted with two vaguely contrasting worlds. The leather-clad Recaro seat looks an intimidating bit of business, and slightly out of place against the optional wood trim that lends a warm air to what could be a very dour and slightly dated cabin. But the leather is both appropriately aromatic and buttery soft, and you suddenly wish that this seat were in your living room as well. The headliner is suede, the A-pillars and just about everything else you touch are covered in leather, the shift knob and lots of trim are a dramatic burled wood for a touch of warmth, and everything else seems dead conventional. The cabin does seem a skosh cramped, but that might be a side effect of the glass area, the steep windscreen rake, the wiper spoiler at the base, and the wide B-pillar all helping you feel hunkered down inside. Normally proportioned folks may grumble about the typical Italian-driving-position bugaboos, but it fit your gorilla-armed author just fine.

Idle holds at exactly 1,000 RPM, never wavering or hunting. A kitteny purr infuses the whole car--it feels alive, and seems pleased to know that you're the one who's going to be rubbing it behind its ears and giving it a bowl of Fancy Feast this evening.

The engine may be a small-cube unit, but the power is tremendous. You're used to a V-8 engine either hitting you down low or pulling cleanly through the revs. The Shamal does both, with the added pleasure of boost pressure coming in around 2,800 RPM, with zero lag to speak of. The transition doesn't slam you back in your seat; rather, it's as if an unseen hand is reaching out of the steering column and pushing you, gently but firmly, into your Recaro. It's a more genteel touch than you'd think possible out of a car rated at 10 pounds per horsepower, but no less exhilarating when you're in the revs, and the boost. Think of a jet airliner accelerating toward take-off, minus the rattly fixtures, uncomfortable coach-class seat and screaming ankle-biter behind you, and you get the idea.

The 4.22 First gear, mixed with the 3.36 rear, helps launch you through the low end and into boost more quickly; shift at the 6,250 RPM redline, and you land in the meat of the powerband. The Getrag shifter is a slick bit of business, offering positive shifts without fighting you through the gate, and between the feel of the stick and the invisible hand keeping you in place, shifting up and back, in and out of boost, is a fun task you're going to want to repeat. Chuck it about in turns, and your confidence grows in every bend. You always feel planted--whether it's the Ranger differential sensing which wheel needs the power, or the Mechanic Active doing its job, was hard to say during our extended test drive. It gives you the confidence that you'd expect in an all-wheel-drive machine, but with handling that's far more neutral. You don't even miss the lack of ABS; everything grinds to a halt with ease. It's times like this that it really doesn't matter how old the instrument panel is, whether the seat's aesthetics match the rest of the cabin, or whether there's a clock in the dash or not: It's just you and the Shamal, which manages to deliver the necessary punch without sending shock waves down your spine.

It all works better than you might think something built on the bones of a fragile-by-reputation Biturbo should work. It's the sort of driving experience that makes you want to go out for dinner... in a town 200 miles away. Everything--the steering, the shifter, the news that filters up through the suspension and up your Recaro--is thoroughly tactile without beating on you; it communicates without shouting; it demands your input but doesn't punish you for your ham-fisted ways. The power is there to be taken and used, but the Shamal doesn't want to punish you for your desire to do so.

History suggests that few who had the zillions of lira to put one in their carport agreed with our assessment. Model year 1996 was the end of the line for the Shamal, with just 369 units sold over the course of six model years. That's about 62 examples a year over the course of its life, or a little more than five Shamals per month.

Endless deal-making saw Maserati continue during the Shamal's manufacture, and beyond. Fiat took a 49 percent stake of Maserati within days of the Shamal's announcement; the Agnellis bought the rest of Maserati from De Tomaso in 1993. Fiat, in turn, sold half of Maserati to Ferrari in 1997, with the rest following along two years later. The twin-turbo AM 479 V-8 engine lived on in both the Quattroporte IV and the new-for-1998 3200 coupe, but by 2002 the twin-turbo V-8 had been swapped out for a simpler, naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V-8 that saw the Maserati marque, now under Ferrari's full control, re-introduced to the American market. That 2002 coupe marked the end of the Biturbo era.

Today, with Maserati's success seemingly assured, the Shamal emerges as a missing link for the marque in the States. It arrived between Maserati's quiet 1990 disappearance from our shores and its re-emergence in 2002; between an independent Maserati and one co-opted by what was once the competition; between sketchy '80s Biturbo and Ferrari-fied new-millennium Coupe; between keeping the old bones and filling it with new guts while dressing it in new skin; between financial ruin and a distinctive new model needed to shake the marque out of its doldrums; between struggling for independence and Ferrari's guiding hand seeking to steer Maserati as a maker of swanky coupes and sedans, positioning Poseidon's pitchfork parallel to the prancing pony; between luxurious softness and the all-out sporting needs of its well-heeled clients; between the balls-out sports car you want and the comfort that the entry price seemingly demands. It's emblematic of the marque's dozen-year vacation from American soil. It bridged a gap. Our gap.

The Shamal was, from our driving experience, a worthy flagship for the storied marque in its day. It's also the one we missed out on. We are all the poorer for its absence.
1991 Maserati Shamal

Owner's Story

When I was seven or eight years old, I saw a blurb in Car and Driver that announced the Shamal, and that Maserati's dozen or so remaining dealers were eagerly awaiting it. I was too, but it never came. I never forgot how that car's front end and wide proportions appealed to me.
I spent a few months in Iraq in 2006, and I saved enough cash and had enough spare time to do research, and eventually I found this car. What do I love about this car? Everything. The tapered front end. The well-appointed interior. The exhaust gurgle. The aggressive stance. The gorgeous engine. It's exclusive, and way under the radar--which is why I'd choose my Shamal over a Ferrari 348 or F355 any day. -Roland Foss
What to Pay

1991 Maserati Shamal
Low: $35,000
Average: $50,000
High: $70,000

Pros & Cons

You'll probably never see another
Eye-opening acceleration
Enthralling blend of comfort, control and speed

The hassle of getting one in the country
Constantly having to explain what it is
That dodgy Biturbo reputation

1991 Maserati Shamal

Type: AM 479 DOHC V-8, alloy block and heads, four valves per cylinder
Displacement: 3,217 cc (
Bore x stroke: 80 mm x 80 mm
Compression ratio: 7.5:1
Horsepower @ RPM: 326 @ 6,000
Torque @ RPM: 320-lb.ft. @ 2,800
Main bearings: 5
Fuel system: Weber/Marelli electronic fuel injection
Ignition system: Electronic, integrated into EFI
Lubrication system: Internal pressure, gear-driven
Electrical system: 12 volts
Exhaust system: Two exhaust-mounted, air-to-air intercooled, water-cooled IHI turbochargers (one per bank); catalytic converters; twin pipes

Type: Getrag 560G six-speed manual, single dry-plate clutch
Ratios: 1st: 4.22:1
2nd: 2.688:1
3rd: 1.71:1
4th: 1.265:1
5th: 1.00:1
6th: 0.848:1
Reverse: 3.62:1

Type: Maserati Ranger limited-slip
Ratio: 3.36:1

Type: Rack-and-pinion, power assisted
Turning circle: 32 feet

Type: Hydraulic, independent, power assisted twin circuit
Front: 11-inch ventilated disc
Rear: 11-inch ventilated disc

Construction: Unit-body monocoque with front and rear subframes
Body style: Two-door coupe
Layout: Front-engine, rear wheel drive

Type: Independent on all four wheels with electronic active control
Front MacPherson strut with dual-effect hydraulic telescopic shock absorbers and anti-roll bar
Rear: Tubular trailing arms, coil springs, oleodynamic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar

Wheels: 17-inch OZ Racing, 8-inch front/9-inch rear
Tires: 17-inch Michelin Pilot SX 40-series, 235 mm front/265 mm rear

Wheelbase: 94.5 inches
Overall length: 161.4 inches
Overall width: 72.8 inches
Overall height: 51.2 inches
Front track: 54.5 inches
Rear track: 61 inches
Shipping weight: 3,124 pounds

Crankcase: 8 quarts
Cooling system: 10.6 quarts
Fuel tank: 21.1 gallons
Transmission: 18 quarts

Bhp per liter: 101.33
Weight per bhp: 9.58 pounds
Weight per 15.91 pounds

0-60 MPH: 5.3 seconds
Top speed: 168 MPH

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Messages : 3401
Date d'inscription : 04/09/2015
Age : 50
Localisation : Clermont-Ferrand

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Maserati Shamal Empty Re: Maserati Shamal

Message par Steph69 Ven 4 Déc - 17:06

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Remember the Maserati Shamal? We’re not surprised if you don’t. Launched in 1991, after Maserati pulled out of the States, it never officially came to the U.S. Today, there’s exactly one in the country, and in the June 2015 issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car, we take a look at (and drive) that Maserati Shamal.

But there’s a greater question at play here: How did it get here? (Anyone who says “by boat,” go to the back of the line.) There are considerable federal and state hurdles to import any car that’s less than 25 years old, and this Shamal’s owner, Roland Foss of Fullerton, California, jumped them all. How he made it happen applies to anyone looking to import a car into the States that wasn’t ever meant to be here. Now he tells us how he did it.

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Our first question is of the chicken-or-egg variety: Did ownership come first, or did he fight to get one brought in, then bought it once he was cleared? “The car came first,” Roland tells us. “I never intended to import it since I didn’t really think it was possible. I bought it when I was stationed overseas, and thought it would be easy enough to sell there when the time came. Well, when I came back, the economy was bad, and I didn’t want to sell it for a loss—I didn’t want to sell it at all, really, but I couldn’t have a caretaker look after it in Europe indefinitely. Eventually I learned that I had one shot at a Show or Display exemption.”

“I reached out to the DOT in Washington, which handles these applications; there was a specific person there to talk to. I tracked him down, and asked him to look at what I was planning to do. He got back to me, and said I probably wouldn’t be successful. It was really discouraging.”

1991 Maserati Shamal

“Then I reached out to both The Maserati Club and Maserati Club International. Some members there put me in touch with Doug Magnon, of the Riverside Auto Museum, who has a huge Maserati collection of his own. He had successfully managed this process with an MC12 he bought. He gave me some information, including how to make it street legal in California, and the knowledge that the fella at DOT was a car guy. If I could talk about the car and make a persuasive case, Doug suggested that he might be amenable. I didn’t know how much influence one guy has over the process, but Doug gave me hope.”

The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration’s website covers all aspects of bringing a car into the States. “Thing is,” Roland tells us, “there’s no information as to what the application must look like, or what the components are. It gives limited information—really none—as to what a successful application looks like, or contains. Basically, any car with 500 or fewer made had a shot of making it in, but you still have to meet the hurdle of demonstrating technological or historical significance. If more than 500 were built, then it had to demonstrate exceptional historic or technological significance.”

“And so, I had to choose: Do I focus on the historical significance or the technological significance? It wasn’t in a movie, it wasn’t the last off the line, there was no royal ownership in its history. And, so, I went with highlighting its technological significance. I mean, it’s not a Porsche 959, but there are some interesting aspects to the car’s mechanicals. (For a complete rundown, see the driveReport in the June 2015 issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.) So, I included some talk about the design elements that were functional—everything that made this a serious, compelling performance car ahead of its time and unique.”

“I took an academic approach to it, as if I were writing a research paper. I used a variety of sources, including news reports, factory presentations, road tests and books. My writing was packed full of information, but still concise, and rigorously footnoted. I’d like to say it was impeccably edited by all my family members. There were no references to Wikipedia or other websites, only solid, reputable sources. My arguments were original, while based on fact. I was literally creating a story about a car that had never been told.”

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The result is what you read in the gallery below. “Really, I was winging it,” Roland confesses. “I wanted to create a story—to make it as easy as possible for them to accept my application. I didn’t just give them what they asked for; I gave them an easy-to-read format. I also wanted to introduce the marque to someone who may not know about it, arguing for the significance of this car within the marque. The Shamal was an important car at the time for an important Italian manufacturer, and I thought it would make for interesting reading. Doug was invaluable for helping to provide context.”

1991 Maserati Shamal1991 Maserati Shamal1991 Maserati Shamal 1991 Maserati Shamal

“Another important component I think helped: I taught myself the basic functions of a graphic design program. The better the presentation, and the more time it looked like I put into it, I figured, the more they’d put into it.” The result: a six-page document, including cover sheet and bibliography. “I did it over a Christmas break. I had a couple of weeks off and spent two or three weeks solid, just maniacally researching, obtaining road tests. An indispensible source for me … Standard Catalog of Imported Cars. The Shamal wasn’t in there, but it helped confirm two key pieces of information: that this was one of the first 6-speed manual transmissions available, and one of the first twin-turbo V-8s (behind only the Ferrari 288GTO and F40). Having a book like that is critical for any argument you’re going to make.”

“Early in 2012, I sent the DOT a packet of information: the application document itself, which was only three pages or so; a bound copy of the presentation; and a series of photos of the car. I sent prints. And that was it.” Roland got his approval in roughly four months. “The DOT website had prepared me for a much longer wait,” he explains. That said, bringing in the next Shamal might be simpler. “Doug imported several MC12s, but after going through the process for the first one, the rest were easier. I believe the same would apply to the Shamal. For any follow-on importers, as I understand it, they still have to go through the application process mostly for accountability purposes, so it should be a lot quicker and easier to get the DOT permission letter.”

From there, it was full steam ahead. “Paperwork is required to get customs to release the car, but it’s also necessary to get a shipper that would bring it over. Shippers won’t often bring over items that they can’t release, although some idiots do bring things over with no way to get them out of impound.”

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The shipper, Horizon Auto Shipping, was highlighted in an early issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car, and Roland has only good things to say about them. “The shipping process was very smooth—very easy. The paperwork wasn’t as daunting as you’d think. Some other shippers might not be so savvy. Horizon sailed out of Barcelona, and so I finagled a vacation out of it … in November, I flew to Paris with a friend, took a train to southwestern France, where it was in storage at a Maserati dealership. I took it to Barcelona on a road trip, and dropped it off at the port.” The Spanish exporter needed a vehicle technical sheet, copy of passport, registration, and a letter addressed to Spanish Customs in Barcelona (Horizon wrote this letter). “We tracked down the Spanish customs broker in Barcelona to ensure we had good instructions on entering the port and that the booking and paperwork were all in order. It was a good thing I reached out, because the shipper on that end didn’t have all the paperwork, and I hadn’t been provided necessary paperwork to access the port. I was lucky my friend spoke Spanish!”

1991 Maserati Shamal

The Shamal set sail on November 12, 2012. “Cost was $2,300 through Horizon—this was for the more inexpensive Ro-Ro shipping versus the more more expensive container option. Containers are safer, but there’s a greater risk of detainment, which gets super-expensive. Charges included ocean freight and all terminal charges, customers and agent broker fees on both sides, and importer filing on the U.S. side.

“Paperwork involved in the importation and clearance onto U.S. soil included: letter of instructions (Horizon’s form); EPA 3520-1 Declaration Form, Importation of Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Engines Subject to Federal Air Pollution Regulations; U.S. Customs Service CF 3299, Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles (in consultation with Horizon, Roland chose to complete this form as if he was returning from his four-year active duty stint); U.S. Customs Service CF 5291, Power of Attorney; U.S. Customs Service Supplemental Declaration for Unaccompanied Personal and Household Effects; Letter to U.S. Customs stating my intention for importing the car: show or display, personal use, no intent for resale; Vehicle Registration; Vehicle Bill of Sale (and translation from the original French); DOT NHTSA HS-7 Declaration, Importation of Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment Subject to FMVS, Bumper and Theft Prevention Standards (this is the important document, with Box 10 checked); DOT Show or Display letter; and a copy of the owner’s passport. “Horizon also put us in touch with the Customs agent in Houston who would be handling our car. We exchanged contact info and got all of our questions answered. Based on the Customs release form, it looks like the Shamal was released the very day the ship arrived! It landed in Houston on December 7, and I had it trucked from there in an enclosed trailer for another $1,000. I got the car a week later.”

“The government did not collect duty; in 2016, when it turns 25 years old, I’ll have to refile paperwork with the DOT and EPA, so it can become a permanent resident.”

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So, all of that was just to get it into the country legally. Getting it registered in the state of California, where Roland lives, was another matter altogether. “The EPA has nothing to say about my car—it’s over 21 years old, and it’s exempt. It has an exemption code. But the state of California doesn’t recognize that. Anything built after 1975 has to go through a smog test. I did get it smog-tested, to see where it stood for the year and the ECU, and it failed. They tested the HC02 levels at over 20 times the California limit. I took the car to a smog ref, and they didn’t let it pass either. At one of the only two CARB-certified emissions laboratories in the state, they estimated it would cost $8,500 and take at least three months, with no guarantee of success. They would literally take the engine apart piece by piece to figure out how to clean it up.”

1991 Maserati Shamal

“I wouldn’t subject the vehicle or myself to such a harebrained process, so I tried to look for every alternative. There were just a lot of questions, and back and forth and lack of understanding. I spoke to people at CARB, a couple of local smog referees, the Bureau of Auto Repair, and finally the Technical Compliance Section of DMV. I had at least four different contacts in this department, and they are ones who eventually made it happen, after some resistance. With no apparent exemption from smog certification even for such a special car, I sought a Title Only. They contended I was not entitled to a Title Only because they said they only gave out titles to cars that could be registered. Since mine couldn’t legally be registered without a smog certification, they refused to give it to me. This made no sense, because that’s the whole point of a Title Only. But they said Title Only comes with a PNO (planned non-operational) registration. Supposedly with that, at a later date I or another owner could change the PNO to a full registration.”

“After a few weeks of wrangling, California DMV found a solution. They had me fill out a Statement of Facts (REG 256) attesting to the fact that I purchased the vehicle while a resident elsewhere, and that vehicle conformed to both EPA and DOT standards. They considered it a Direct Import Vehicle, which has specific meaning and allowances in the CVC (12.070).” So Roland’s Shamal is titled, but not registered—hence it’s still wearing its original French plates.

“Throughout the whole process, verifying my ownership was a constant request, made more difficult by having no current title document issued by one of the states. The original French title also doubled as the registration card, and so was long expired. My U.S. Army Europe title document also was a registration card, and was expired. However, these documents along with the bill of sale were deemed sufficient to establish my ownership, although I was always nervous they wouldn’t be enough for somebody.”

1991 Maserati Shamal

“Compliance versus conformance really became an artful distinction. It didn’t conform to the standards, but it complied with the standards, in that it was legitimately exempt from them. I remember this being important language to master. Throughout the process, I had to master the regulations, be ready to anticipate objections and constantly assert myself. Most reaction to my initial requests was boilerplate, or even dismissive, not understanding that I had a truly special case, had done the research, and wasn’t taking no for an answer.”

“Once you get a title, title only with no registration still gives you the ability to use a one-trip permit. This is the one loophole I was able to find to drive it.” The result is that Roland can only drive his car occasionally, and not without permission from the state. “The DOT limits me to 2,500 miles per year. That’s not a problem, with the cost of a One-Trip Permit at $19 each. The California Vehicle Code (CVC 4003) says that each permit is valid for “one continuous trip,” i.e. one-way. If the car is intended as a “display in a lawful parade or exhibition,” it may use a permit for one round trip, so long as the round trip is 100 miles or less. If a trip is over 100 miles one-way, you need a one-trip permit for each direction. I’m thankful that they’re so generous that they even let me do that.”

You’d think that Roland would be keen to set up a P.O. box in Arizona or Nevada, or some other state with slightly less onerous motor vehicle regulations, and register his car in another state, but he has decided against that. “California vehicle code is pretty clear: If you live here and use the car here, you have to register the car here. Any sort of monkeying around would be an automatic loss of the car, and I’m not willing to do that. So, what this means is, I really only drive it about once a month.

“I’m poor. The Shamal still runs great, though.”

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Message par ALFIERI69 Ven 4 Déc - 20:48

Surprised L'espace d'un instant j'ai cru que je m'étais connecté chez nos amis de SportsMaserati UK

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Message par Steph69 Sam 5 Déc - 11:29

Allez, deux articles en français alors : CLIC ICI et CLIC LA. Wink

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Message par Steph69 Dim 6 Déc - 20:33

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