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Italian-Made De Tomaso Deauville Was a Flop, but It Was the Basis of the Modern Maserati
Not all revolutionary automotive ideas become successful. In America, there was the DeLorean. In Italy, it was the De Tomaso Deauville. Developed to take down the Jaguar XJ, the four-door luxury saloon powered by an American-made Ford V8 stroker failed to take the market as anticipated. Jack of Number 27 YouTube channel got the chance to take it out on a spin and explain why it is the basis of the modern Maserati.

Italian-Made De Tomaso Deauville Was a Flop, but It Was the Basis of the Modern Maserati

Jaguar XJDe Tomaso DeauvilleDe Tomaso PanteraDe Tomaso DeauvilleDe Tomaso DeauvilleDe Tomaso DeauvilleDe Tomaso DeauvilleDe Tomaso DeauvilleDe Tomaso DeauvilleMaserati Quattroporte
Italian-made, De Tomaso Deauville, is a four-door luxury saloon that debuted at the 1970 Turin Motor Show and was designed by Tom Tjaarda from Ghia. Unfortunately, only 224 units of this car were produced in three variants. A single station wagon existed, developed for Alejandro De Tomaso's wife, with two armored variants made for the Belgian Royal Family and the Italian government.

Even though the Deauville was a flop, De Tomaso eventually developed some iconic builds that gained traction, including De Tomaso Pantera.

"De Tomaso wanted to get a rival for the XJ. He thought it was an amazing car, and indeed the XJ was a pretty incredible car in 68. It was a very advanced car for its time," Jack explained.

Noticing the success of the XJ, De Tomaso set out to build a luxury saloon for the high-end market.

After its unveiling at the 1970 Turin Motor Show, critics couldn't help but notice Deauville's similarities with the 1968 XJ6 Jaguar. Still, Tjaarda insisted his design was complete before the British luxury car's premier.

While the Deauville isn't as spectacular looking as the XJ, it has its advantages. It ran on fully independent suspension on all four wheels, with anti-roll bars on both axles. At the back, it featured a unique suspension fitted with double coil springs.

Under the hood, it packed a naturally aspirated 5.7-liter Ford Cleveland V8 engine (front-engine, longitudinally-mounted layout). It also came with a limited-slip differential and a Cruise-O-Matic 3-speed Ford transmission.

"All in all, it made for quite a refined car, but the engine certainly, I can feel this being in the car now, is much much more part of the driving experience that it would be in any Jag XJ," Jack confessed.

There are several reasons why the Deauville was considered a flop. For starters, the automaker only made 244 units in 14 years, making it the second-rarest De Tomaso production vehicle. It was also pricey. According to Jack, it was 50% more expensive than a Jaguar XJ6.

The Deauville only saw two versions: series 1 and  series 2, and the aesthetic differences between these two were minor. They consisted of little design modifications (air intakes), a new steering system, and the engine being moved a few centimeters backward to improve the weight balance of the luxury car.

So, how did De Tomaso inspire Maserati? Well, Citroen bought Maserati in 1968 but went bankrupt in 1974. De Tomaso took on Maserati during that time. Conveniently, it was the same period that Deauville was being developed. During De Tomaso's tenure, Maserati created the Quattroporte MK3 and, as you'd expect, used the same chassis as the Deauville even though it used a different engine.

The Maserati Quattroporte MK3 (Tipo AM 330) got its exterior design from the Italian automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro who’s world famous for the De Lorean. The Quattroporte MK3 sported a Maserati V8 engine. The Italian powerplant was available in two versions with a 4.2- or a 4.9-liter displacement. It was available with either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 3-speed automatic. According to Jack, the Deauville was arguably the blueprint for Maserati becoming a mass-production car. Before its acquisition by De Tomaso, it was a boutique automaker.

He added that, even though the Maserati Quattroporte sold in more numbers than the Deauville, it was responsible for the woeful reputation of the Maserati of that era.

Do you think the Deauville was an inspiration for modern Maserati? Tell us what you think in the comment section. We'd love to read your thoughts.

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