Maserati is a venerated name, built on both street and track. They have also had, over their 96-year history, a string of owners, each of whom has had a different vision for the company, and as proven by today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe '84 Biturbo, sometimes that vision has been somewhat clouded. It's up to you to see if its price makes it a clearly good deal none the less.
Yesterday's wildly customized Porsche 912 packed a punch from its also twin-tubo'd engine. However, it also apparently was a punch in the eye visually, and its over the top presentation, coupled with its underwhelming description, meant that even at only thirty dollars per horse, it came away with a 75% Crack Pipe loss.
Poor Porsche is poor.
That topless Frau sprouted two turbos from its Chevy-sourced V8, however for the first factory road car ever to carry a pair of pressurized snails, you need to go back to the 1981 Maserati coupe. Dubbed the Biturbo, and seeking to grab some of the monies that BMW seemed to be raking in with their similarly sized 3-series coupe, it took the Italian company in an entirely different direction than before.
Alejandro de Tomaso bought Maserati from Citroën in 1975, after the French company had failed at making the expressive timeItalians appreciate the art of the Mime. De Tomaso canceled the Bora and Khamsin supercars and set forth with a plan to set Maserati to profit by making lower-priced cars in greater volume. The resulting Biturbo showed lots of corners cut, but it did rock the world's first production car twin turbo set up, and its Pierangelo Andreani-penned body was a beautiful amalgam of form and function.
Unfortunately, its 2.5-litre 90° all-alloy V6 used Bazooka Joe bubble gum for seals, and its intake system was comprised of a Weber 2BBL sealed in a pressurized engine-top plenum like a Martian king. Everything else in the car, from the electricals to the stitching and dye of the admittedly lovely when new interior leather seemed predestined to fail at an early age. Outside, the cars attracted rust like the Cyrus family attracts tattoos and poor life choices.
This 1984 Biturbo coupe, in an appropriate shade of red, is claimed to show some evidence of infection by the tin worm, however the lack of photos identifying the specific locations makes it hard to judge if it's minor or as bad as Jake Gyllenhaal's character at the end of Sourcecode.
Oops, spoiler alert!
The inside looks to be in pretty good shape, and as is the case with Biturbos could be worth the price of admission just to sit in even if the car proves immobile. Haters can relax because the 196-bhp six is backed up with a ZF-sourced five speed stick.
The seller says that the car actually belongs to his brother-in-law whom he claims has moved out of the country. That country by the way happens to be Canada, and by moved out of the county he probably means went to the Mooseville prison. That seems to be par for the course with brothers-in-law, the scumbags that they typically are.
He also says in the ad that the car has 54,000 kilometers on it, which is 33,000 in dog miles, and that before going
to the stoney lonesome out of the country, he gave him an appraisal for the car to the tune of $15,000. I wonder if his brother-in-law also took an enormous crap at the seller's house that he's also saving? That'd be about a relevant. Perhaps not, maybe he just left the car, and while many may consider the little Maser to be the equivalent of a steaming dump - and one that multiple flushings can't seem to rid - for others these cars maintain a certain appeal. Sure Time magazine rated them one of history's worst cars, but damn, they're still very pretty, and with nearly 200 ponies and a good power to weight ratio, they're also damn spritely - once the turbos kick in.
Sure, this one's turbos won't be kicking in any time soon unless somebody fits it with a new starter - according to the seller - or bump starts it down a steep hill. What other nightmares await its next owner? Who knows, and that's just part of the adventure, which requires a modest $2,500 Canadian (add about $25 to that to get the cost south of the Moose-n Dixon line) a modest sum indeed. But is that a deal? You'd have to add the cost of that starter - there's one for $395 on eBay right now - but that seems cheap for something with a trident in its grille.
Or is it? The Biturbo is a bit of an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, cosseted in a nest of expensive repair bills. On one hand, it has been anointed by Time as one of history's most craptacular, while on the other, who reads magazines any more? It's also an historical entity with still relevant levels of performance and a small but dedicated fan base. Is $2,500 a reasonable price to join them? Or, is this the more likely reason Joe Walsh decided to travel by limo?
Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a tip, and remember to include your commenter handle.