Welcome to Ridiculous Rebadges, a series of articles in which I go through and examine the details and circumstances surrounding some of the more infamous and some of the more esoteric vehicular rebadges throughout automotive history.
While Lancia is one Italian automaker which probably will not be alive much longer (and arguably is already dead), today’s brand has been gone a bit longer than that. De Tomaso, the great Italian manufacturer of cars such as the Pantera and Mangusta, pulled out of the market in 2004. Now, the name is looking for a comeback in China, just as how the once-great Borgward name has been sullied by a cheap, Audi knock-off. This is one car from De Tomaso’s heyday back in the ‘70s: the Longchamp. Based off the Deauville sedan which was originally built on the Maserati Quattroporte III chassis, the Longchamp was De Tomaso’s only FR coupe during the entire manufacturer’s history, since De Tomaso himself favored the MR format which he used liberally throughout the rest of his lineup.
One thing the Longchamp had in common with other De Tomaso’s, though, was the 5.8L Ford 351 which De Tomaso himself insisted on putting in most of his cars, sourcing them from Australia when American production ended.
This Maserati Kyalami sure looks pretty similar to the Longchamp. As you might have discerned from the Longchamp’s original roots, there was plenty of sharing between the two companies and, once the Quattroporte had turned into the Deauville which turned into the Longchamp, Maserati decided they wanted their car back.
Of course, being the snobbish Italians that they were, De Tomaso didn’t want to use Maserati engines, and Maserati wanted none of that crude American crap that De Tomaso was using; thus, the Kyalami came with a 4.2 and later 4.9 OHC Maser V8 offering generally five PS short of the Ford motors.
The Maser also received a stylistic freshening by Frua since Maserati apparently was not too fond of the extremely angular looks penned by Tjaarda under Ghia. The difference is most evident in the nose and taillights, although for the most part the side profiles remained identical.
The interior saw mild refreshment as well, with the Maser seemingly featuring more Alcantara/suede in the cabin as well as a more fitting Maserati wheel in contrast to De Tomaso’s Ford wheel. Also, the Maser came with the ZF five-speed as standard whereas De Tomaso had Ford’s 3 speed auto, although both could be swapped vice versa as clients wanted.
In the end, this square coupe shared between two Italian manufacturers is largely forgotten today as little more than a European muscle car, with more power than finesse and a huge appetite for fuel with either engine. Still, with around 200 examples of each manufacturer ever made, they are likely increasing in rarity, making this rebadge definitely one to keep your eyes out for.