MODEL YEAR: 1971
MODEL YEAR: 1971
The Momo Mirage was a grand tourer produced in 1971-72 that failed to go beyond the prototype stage. The genesis of this car derives from the idea of two men: Alfred Momo, a former Jaguar agent, and a wealthy entrepreneur, Peter Kalikov. To make it a reality, the two Americans did not hesitate and went to Italy to find the most suitable partners for the car's development. The bodywork was made by Pietro Frua along with American designer Gene Garfinkle (one of the "authors" of the Corvette Stingray C2), while the chassis was entrusted to none other than Giulio Alfieri, who was then with Maserati. He designed a monocoque that was then built by Stanguellini of Modena. The support of these big names was evident, and the car was elegant and well-balanced: the bodywork reveals some similarities with the Fiat 130 Coupe and introduces some styling cues that Frua would later reuse on the Maserati Kyalami of 1976.
Once the chassis was defined, the only thing left was to think about a mechanics that was up to the ambitions of a car like the Mirage. For a small manufacturer, the design costs of a brand new engine were not sustainable, so an American engine of large scale, reliable, and economical was adopted, a solution already successfully executed by Monteverdi, De Tomaso, and ISO, which had V8 engines derived from Ford or General Motors. And it is precisely the latter that is the heart of the Mirage, specifically a 5.7-liter engine for which different types of fuel injection systems were experimented with. Initially, it was equipped with a four-barrel carburetor, later revitalized with a battery of four double-body Weber injection carburetors; power is around 300 hp.
Everything suggests a commercial success, and parts are ordered to assemble a first batch of 25 cars ready to challenge cars like the De Tomaso Longchamp or the Iso Rivolta Lele. But the twist came in 1973, when the American dollar suffered a heavy devaluation, making the prices of components made in Italy prohibitively expensive. Kalikov, who was the project's financier, realized that the venture was economically disadvantageous, the high costs and the energy crisis on the horizon led him to abandon the Mirage project, despite the car's demonstrated excellent aesthetic and dynamic qualities.
The only two complete cars are the two pre-production prototypes, while there is no more precise information about the other three or four partially assembled examples. After a long period of oblivion, the two existing Momo Mirage cars reappear perfectly restored on the occasion of some of the most important elegance competitions, admired for their great, unfortunately, unexpressed potential.
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