Complete Maserati Barchetta Stradale lineup, specs, economy, dimensions

1991 Maserati Barchetta Stradale - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1992 - 1994 Maserati Barchetta Stradale CabrioletBarchetta Stradale1 Trim 306 Hp

The Maserati Barchetta Stradale is a mid-engine street-legal racing car produced in 1992. While 16 Barchetta Corsa’s were built for racing purposes, only one street-legal Barchetta Stradale was produced by Maserati. The term Barchetta means “little boat” but also commonly refers to lightweight open-top sports cars. In the 1950s, Maserati used to sell barchetta race cars to drivers regularly. They resurrected the name to build a small handful from 1991 to 1992, and allowed just one to receive the Barchetta Stradale moniker with street-legal features.

Maserati Barchetta Stradale Design and Leadership

Alejandro de Tomaso was the head of Maserati from 1975 until 1993. During those years, the car manufacturer had seen some difficult times where it was forced to forgo its usual race-oriented models in favor of cost-effective mass-production vehicles. Maserati eventually had to pull out from the North American market entirely due to repetitional issues and lack of demand across the continent. Before that, many Maseratis were hand-built race cars that led the charge down the track. The Barchetta was a chance to bring back some of the glory. But even after creating an incredible sports machine, some drivers wouldn’t take to the brand which had a tarnished reputation. They were designed by Carlo Gaino with Synthesis Design consultancy. This was not your everyday car. Nor was it much of a comfortable daily driver. But if you wanted a race car that you could take out on the streets, then the Maserati Barchetta Stradale was the perfect choice.

Specifications and Performance

It had a mid-mounted 2.0L V6 engine capable of producing 315 horsepower and 275 lb ft of torque. As with most race-oriented cars at the time, it was paired with a 6-speed manual transmission. Performance figures would make most people quite happy, including race drivers on the straights. The 0 to 60 mph time was 4.4 seconds and the top speed was 186 mph. Double-wishbone suspension featured inboard springs and push-rod dampers to keep cornering top-notch and provide all the support one needs in high-speed situations. To make modifications and maintenance easy, the three-piece body was entirely removable. It was constructed from an incredibly lightweight combination of aluminum honeycomb, fiberglass, and carbon fiber layers. The overall height was insanely low. It made the 42-inch tall Lamborghini Countach, low by almost anyone’s standards, seem large in comparison. The Maserati Barchetta Stradale had a highest peak height of just 36 inches. A lack of any real windshield and a completely open top meant that the occupants had no way of protecting themselves against rain and would often opt for using helmets for wind protection. In some ways, it was more like riding a motorcycle than a usual street-legal vehicle. Weighing in at just 1,708 pounds (775 kg), the  power to weight ratio showed that it meant serious business and allowed for serious race performance. The original use of the Barchetta was for single-make championship held in 1993, not meant to be road legal. The Maserati Barchetta Stradale was the lone example which took the single backbone chassis and 315 horsepower to the streets. In future years, it is reported that some of the race-only versions of the Barchetta were fitted with road-legal features to cruise city streets. While a road-going version was considered by Maserati itself, they found great difficulties in homologation of the race-specific vehicle. The overall concept of a central-frame vehicle was used in the future in the De Tomaso Guara, but the V8 engine required a longer frame.