Disneyland once required tickets for its rides, and an E ticket got you on the those that were the best and the fastest. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Maserati is a pretty fast E, but will its price prove to be just the ticket?
Buying in bulk is always a fiscally prudent decision, and when it comes to German wagons, yesterday’s 1987 300TD/1988 300TE/Fender package deal was seen as a bargain to 83% of you who gave it a Nice Price win. Next up, a five-gallon container of mayonnaise. Yum!
So I’ve been noticing a surprising thing happening of late: the value of Maserati’s long unloved Biturbos have been going up at a precipitous rate. Once bottom feeders of the marque’s lineage, sharing space with the Chrysler TC, the cars are now starting to gain some traction.
Remember when Porsche 911s were relatively cheap? Did you take advantage of that? How about C3 Corvettes, which used to be spat upon for their garish ‘70s-ness, did you buy any of them back when they were worth pennies?
Well, it may be too late for those collectibles, but you can still get in on the ground floor of Maserati ownership with an ‘80s Biturbo, and if you’re going to take advantage of their imminent ascendancy, you better get one that’s unique and seems to be in decent shape, like maybe this 1985 Biturbo E.
Now, we all know the main facts about the Biturbo; it was the brainchild of Alejandro deTomaso, who at the time owned the controlling share of Maserati, and was intended to be a cash cow for the company. The styling was excellent, sort of a melding of BMW 3-series and Monica Bellucci, and it was the world’s first production car with two turbochargers.
The Biturbo also had a number of notable features that weren’t so great. First off, those two turbos? They fed a plenum in which the 2BBL Weber carb was housed. The Italians are generally marvelous cooks, but in this instance, that was a recipe for disaster.
The cars also fell victim to two other Italian traditions, rust, and poor build quality. Positioned as a semi-premium car, they typically spent as much time in the shop as they did on the road, and the peaky and torque-adverse motor didn’t live up to the marque’s performance heritage.
Much of the performance issues were addressed in special editions like this E. These received a 193-horse air-to-water intercooled edition of the 2.5-litre V6 and requisite additional tweaking to make the most of those deep breathing capabilities.
This one, in arrest-me red over gunmetal grey has the standard five-speed manual to take advantage of those ponies. Backing that up is a Torsen LSD between the sides of the trailing arm IRS. The ad notes that the car has been gone through by a mechanic and that everything - even the freon-equipped A/C - works as it should.
The body looks to be in good condition, with only a greyed headlight to detract from the appearance. There doesn’t seem to be any noticeable rust, and all the trim and badging appears intact. If there is anything is missing, here’s a parts E for $950.
Head on inside and you’ll see another reason why the these cars are gaining in favor. The seats are covered in buttery soft leather as is every other surface not coated in either some sort of beautiful wood or alcantara, which is like leather for people who like it rough.
Sit in the driver’s seat and you’ll be greeted by a handsome Nardi wheel, fronting a rather mundane IC. There doesn’t seem to be a loose stitch or major stain in here, and you get both a special “E” model badge and Chrysler push button climate controls. What more could you want?
Some hard numbers to consider here. This is claimed to be #111 out of 500 E models made for the year, and the mileage is a not too unreasonable 47,500.
Lastly, the asking price for this claimed fully-functional runner is $6,500 and mark my words, it will be three times that in ten years.
What do you think about this Maser for that kind of cash? Do you think that this Biturbo will follow the Porsches, ‘Vettes, and other once cheap cars into the valuation stratosphere? Or, is this just another Biturbo money pit
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