Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

The Eagles once advocated in song to take it to the limit, one more time, while guitarist Joe Walsh - in his solo days - lamented that having done so one too many times ended his Maserati driving days. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Maser Spyder offers the chance to be like Joe, but is its price way over the limit?

Yesterday's '84 Caddy Eldorado proved to be a Biarritz cracker - and one that proved unpalatable to 68% of you who felt its presence was not equatable to its price. That result may have an effect on today's candidate as the two cars share quite a bit in common - V8 engine, interior awash in leather, a self-folding convertible top, oh and they both have a bit of a reputation for questionable reliability.

There's no question that today's 2003 Maserati Spyder is as drop dead sexy as, contrastingly, yesterday's Caddy was a rolling reminder of the upcoming AARP meeting and the need to restock the Depends. Maybe that'll be enough to sway things the little Maser's way. Introduced in 1998 as the 3200 GT, and later renamed the Coupé and Spyder when federalized, Maserati's resurgent dynamic duo attempted to hypnotize with their sleek lines and make everyone forget the ignominy of the precedent Biturbo-based series of craptacular cars.


Adopted by Fiat, and sent to live for a time with Uncle Enzo, the 104-inch wheelbase Coupé and 8-inch less extravagant Spyder were allowed the use of his 90° V8 - here in this car rocking 4,244 ccs and producing 385-bhp. Oversquare with a bore of 3.62 inches and 3.15 of stroke, the 11:1 compression ratio DOHC dry sump engine is everything you would expect from Ferrari, available here however, behind a trident.


Both a six speed manual and Ferrari's Cambiocorsa, or drives like shit in traffic, gearboxes were made available, and this fly yellow Spyder sports the latter. Situated aft of your ass and constituent with the limited slip differential, the hydraulically-operated clutchless six speed is operated by the de rigueur paddles behind the wheel. Engineered for lightning fast shifts at speed, in automatic mode it's a lot less happy having to work in School Zones or heavy traffic. In fact, it's pretty effing maddening. Better to paddle your own boat here and it is possible to learn to live with the tranny's idiosyncrasies.

The rest of this car, from its covered headlamps to the fish on the boot lid, looks to be in most excellent shape, and the shorter and more droptoppier Spyder looks even better than the Coupé with its punched up roof for back seat headroom. No need for that here as the convertible makes no pretense for transporting any more than two. That lucky pair will probably praise the transmission whiplashing them as every stop sign as their heads will be bounced against the supple leather of the high-backed and lightly bolstered bucket seats. The dash has a bunch of chicklet-sized buttons strewn across its embossed plastic surface, and to spruce things up there some carbon fiber trim seemingly equally applied in random fashion. Dead center, pushed deep into the space between the air vents, is the ubiquitous Maserati analog clock. Overall, not a bad place to spend some time.


Time seems to have been kind to this Spyder, as it's presentation bears few signs of wear. The mileage - at just under 12K - is appreciably low, but remember that miles on Italian exotics are like years on dogs and even though there aren't many here doesn't mean that expensive maintenance can be ignored. And that's the big question with this Maserati - how much would ownership cost over the long haul? The Florida seller - what is it with Florida anyway? - wants $37,788 to get started on that experiment, which for a Spyder seems like its dangling over the low end of the market. But is it?

What's your take on that price? Is $37,788 a price that could lure you into this Spyder's web? Or, is that an amount that's not pretty fly even for a Maserati guy?


You decide!

Naples Florida via eBay or go here if the ad disappears.

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