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Ferrari engines: “Imported from Detroit”

by David Zatz on

Ferrari station

Months after unconfirmed reports made it to Allpar’s pages, the power of Automotive News, in the person of reporter Larry Vellequette, pried a key fact from Chrysler executives — that they cast and build “Ferrari” engines for Maserati.

As our sister site reported, the engines are actually cast in Kokomo, and machined in the Trenton Engine plant, using a mixture of dedicated and “normal” machinery.

Both Automotive News and Allpar sources reported that the engines are made to Ferrari’s exacting specifications, which go beyond even the new Chrysler requirements. Still, one source wrote, “A few machines are set up for the F-160 [Maserati V6] only, but most can also run on the 3.0, 3.2, and 3.6 Pentastar V6. We send them a block that’s ready for assembly.” Ferrari itself supplies and adds the heads.

The Ferrari-Maserati V6 is made like all Chrysler aluminum engines have been — with cast-in steel cylinder liners, though inside sources told Allpar that the liners are thicker than normal. (This system was reportedly admired by Mercedes engineers when they first saw it.) The space between the cylinders is quite large and the oil passages are oversized for better cooling.

The twin-turbocharged V6 produces 404 horsepower in the Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte, whose designs were themselves, according to insiders, loosely based on large Chrysler sedans, with many changes to the front suspension design, the sheet metal, and the interior. The Maseratis, whose sales have skyrocketed since the current generation appeared, use Chrysler’s UConnect system and the same ZF eight-speed automatic as Chrysler (and Rolls-Royce).

The V6 engine was, according to a Chrysler spokesman, designed by Ferrari, and is also being machined in Europe by Weber; but demand has exceeded Weber’s capacity. Chrysler was examined along with a number of other suppliers and was chosen based on their merits.

The Trenton Engine plant has, as Automotive News pointed out, made some of the most famous engines in Chrysler’s history, from the 2.2 four-cylinder to the slant six to the 440 V8.  The plant is currently making around 50 blocks per day, and is planning to make 80 per day soon, according to global powertrain manufacturing chief Brian Harlow (as quoted in the story).  Mr. Harlow said that some practices used by Ferrari have been adopted by Chrysler for their other engine programs.

See more details on the engine at

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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