Thorium-228, an isotope of the element thorium, has a half-life of 1.9116 years. Many Maseratis from the eighties, especially the Biturbo, seemed to last about as long, although today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Maserati 228 seems elementally un-decayed.
Maserati has a rich history of grand touring coupes, and the 3500, 5000 and Mexico are all extremely desirable classics, as are their more sporting stablemates. That didn't keep the company from suffering the financial challenges that were seemingly endemic among exotic car makers that weren't Ferrari. During the seventies, Maser moved from home to home, with each patron attempting to extract profit from the it as though it were Oliver Twist. While under the auspices of Alejandro De Tomaso, the company embarked on a series of lower-priced coupes intended to compete with BMW's successful 3-series.
The Biturbo took its name from the twin turbochargers fitted to a V6 engine that could trace its lineage back the Merak and Citroen SM. In original Biturbo form, it came in 2.5 litres, and a tax-dodging 2.0 for the Italian market. When introduced in 1981, the car became the first production twin-turbo ever, although its carbureted engine became its biggest liability as it was a blow-through design which housed the Weber two-barrel in a massive, pressurized plenum- not something that engendered reliable running.
By the time this Biturbo-based 228 was built in 1989, Maserati had replaced the Weber carb with Weber electronic fuel injection. That, along with the displacement bump to 2,790-ccs, provided better drivability, as well as 225-bhp. Mated to the twin-turbo six is a ZF 5-speed manual, and rowing all those gears can take the car all the way to a top end of 146-mph. Suspension is McPherson struts up front and a semi-trailing arm arrangement in back, while braking is handled by power-assisted four wheel discs.
The 228 looks like a larger and smoother version of the original Pierangelo Andreani-penned Biturbo, and that's exactly what it is, riding on the longer 102.4-inch wheelbase of the 4 sedan, and carrying a updated version of the earlier car's coupe body. Here, in silver, this 36,000-mile example appears factory fresh, and that's not dunning the car as by the time the 228 was introduced, much of what made the Biturbo a turd had been fixed. The iron-sleeved alloy engine now had water-cooled IHI turbos and the aforementioned FI, and the rest of the car, with the exception of the electrical system, was remarkably simple.
Not simple was the interior, luxuriously appointed in real leather and suede, real wood, and sporting a real thief-magnet of a Swiss clock embedded in the dash. The interior on this car is a light biscuit - although the seller calls it saddle - instead of the typical Biturbo catcher's mitt brown, and it looks to be in beautiful condition. Nowhere - either inside or out - does the car appear to have been re-muddled, right down to sporting its original flat-disc alloy wheels. That's a good thing as with fewer than 100 officially imported into this country, finding replacements for the bespoke parts would be a daunting task.
This particular 228 made it to the states, and in fact all the way to the 50th state, Hawaii, where it is being offered for $12,875 by a dealer who also provides exotics for rental when you're visiting Oahu. While not of the historical importance of Pearl Harbor, Jack Lord's hair, or the birth of Barack Obama, driving this Masarati around the Aloha State might still be personally rewarding. And, though you'd probably never want to leave Hawaii to begin with, having a ride like this might make you seriously consider donning a grass skirt for good.
To do so however, you'd need to hula up with that $12,875 that the dealer thinks the car is worth. What do you think, is that a deal for this tropical twin turbo? Or, is spending that much a roll of the island pair-a-dice?
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