1976 Maserati Medici II: the Original Luxury Super-Saloon

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It was back in the mid-70s that legendary car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro sweated love and tears in creating the first luxury super-saloon.

Prestige car manufacturers are falling over themselves to create the next best luxury super-saloon, but it was back in the seventies when the idea of a car that combined performance, luxury, and four-door practicality was born. In 1974, the visionary designer Giorgetto Giugairo began his 4-door Maserati project that intended to combine the luxury of an American limousine with abundant power. The Medici, a name inspired by the celebrated 14th century Florence family, was born.

The car sat on an existing Maserati chassis with a 5.0-liter V8 replacing the underwhelming 3.0-liter V6 of the Quattroporte II. Inside there was seating for six, boasting four 'living-room' style chairs facing each other, and the body took styling cues from previous works such as the Audi 'Asso Di Picche' concept as Giugiaro sought a 'balanced and elegant' shape. Having been disappointed with the Medici's styling, most notably the hood being too streamlined for the roofline resulting in an oddly-proportioned car, Giugiaro decided to start over and took the super-saloon back to his workshop where the Medici II was created.

Here, the legendary designer got to work 'cutting and stitching' the bodywork to achieve a classier, if less sporty, look with a raised hood line, and conventional headlights and grille; the interior was also suitably reworked. The rearward-facing pair of seats were replaced by two newly installed cabinets containing a minibar, refrigerator, desk and file-holder; the rear bench was replaced with a pair of armchairs; the velour upholstery replaced with leather and briarwood; and a TV and radiophone completed the modern upgrade. Finally, the Medici II received a warm reception at the 1976 Paris Motor Show.

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The revised Medici inspired one of the principle super-saloons in the modern Quattroporte as well as other offshoots such as the Rapides, Panameras and CLS AMGs. Currently, the Medici II resides in the Louman Museum in Holland, and its creator was awarded Car Designer of the Century in 1999 for his work on this and other legendry cars including the VW Golf, Audi 80, Lotus Esprit and DeLorean DMC-12.

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