THE SHOP

February '17

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28 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2017 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ PERFORMANCE section with inboard brakes, was essentially a knockoff of the setup that Jaguar had favored since the E-Type. "It's basically the same diff used in sev- eral Jaguar models for many years," de Groot notes, "and loved by many hot rod builders." He figured the stock ratio of 3.54:1 would be good for 150 mph. Steering components were comprised of a ZF power rack and pinion and an adjustable Saginaw steering column. But the heart of it all, of course, was the 4.9- liter (301-ci) quadruple-overhead-cam hemi-head V-8, rated 288 hp and 308 foot-pounds of torque in stock Quattro- porte tune. In these components, de Groot saw the beginnings of a great one-off sports car. So he salvaged the engine and running gear, along with some lighter-duty but still potentially useful hardware, parted out what remained, and cut the body up for scrap. Light weight ranked high among his paramount goals, so he fabricated a steel tube space frame that incorporated high doorsills and a broad center tunnel for rigidity. Careful mass management would keep the weight of the finished car to just about 2,000 pounds, with near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution. Minimizing weight drove other decisions as well. De Groot had already mounted the Quattroporte's Girling disc brakes, with their cast iron hubs and calipers, before he decided that "they weighed a ton and had to go." He replaced them with Wilwood discs and aluminum Brembo calipers. He also replaced the donor car's standard coilovers with new GAZ Varishocks and 250 inch- pound springs. The engine would prove to be one of the easier parts of the project, needing only a "thorough cleaning," a valve job, and a tune-up. The four original two-throat Weber DCNF carburetors were rebuilt and reinstalled. He reused the original exhaust headers, too, after some modification and a new, silver-colored Jet Hot coating. Swapping right and left headers moved their outlets forward, so de Groot could mount the engine well back in the chassis, between the driver and passenger foot wells. On the other hand, mating the Mase- rati V-8 to the 5-speed Tremec TR-3550 transmission that he wanted proved to be a challenge. The rear end of the engine was configured specifically for a Chrysler 727 automatic. "After messing unsuccessfully with an aftermarket Chrysler bellhousing," de Groot recalls, "I instead sawed the bell- housing off the 727 that was in the car, welded a plate to the back of it, and machined it to fit the Tremec." He modified a Chrysler Hemi flywheel to bolt up to the Maserati crank; that allowed the use of a heavy-duty 10-inch McLeod/ Roadster Redefined Even rarer driver's-eye view of the Arnolt Bristol. De Groot points to one of the many Dzus buttons that secure the body panels. Service accessibility was a priority from Day One. Off for a drive in the country. Exoticars' woodsy location lies, in fact, less than a mile outside of Milford's town center. De Groot started with three service bays in 1979; his business has since grown to over 10,000 square feet. Maserati 450S inspiration is clear in this view. Yet "Mazzer" is more muscular, more modern. It's something new.

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