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

Shanghai Auto Show or not, it's a week of Italians on Nice Price or Crack Pipe, and today we have a bargain Maserati for those of you who might just be bi-curious.

In the early 1980s the Italian manufacturers were trying to shake off the ‘70s maliase. Ferrari was cultivating its Miami Vice image; Alfa Romeo was punishing everyone for not buying more Alfas by introducing the Milano; And Maserati attempted to emulate cool-kid BMW by debuting the Biturbo.

The 1981 Biturbo cut a dashing figure, looking like a more debonair and muscular version of the 320i. As with the small BMW, it arrived with an available 2.0 litre engine, but the Maser's was a 6 rather than a 4, and those 6 cylinders were fed by the twin turbochargers of its honorific. While not sharing any parts with its predecessors, the design borrows liberally from the Citroen-era V6 which had powered the Merak. Those cars seeking a better life in America received a 2.5 litre version of this 18-valver, that provided a 5-horsepower bump over the displacement-tax hindered relatives back home, for a total of 185.

These cars were developed under the time of DeTomaso's ownership of Maserati, and Alejandro never made a car that didn't have one or more quirks to it- the Biturbo being no exception. In addition to a build quality only a communist would find acceptable, the original biturbo motors were topped by a Weber carburetor. That little Weber was housed inside a pressurized plenum, fed by the eponymous turbos. This led to air leaks, cooked carbs, and hours in which to contemplate your latin lemon while on the side of the road due to frequent breakdowns. All of which leads us back to this particular Biturbo.


Our car is an '87, and by then Maserati had abandoned the carburetor for a Weber Marelli fuel injection system, and an additional 3hp. This SI version complements the improved motor with a lowered and stiffened suspension, ZF 5-speed and an air-to-air intercooler. Zero-60 times were quoted as under 7 seconds, competitive back in the day. Sadly, you wouldn't be able to immediately test that out as the seller claims this car has been sitting a year, and that It CANNOT BE DRIVEN, it DOES NO RUN as it is. They do say that there doesn't appear to be any visible reason for this, such as a giant anvil having fallen through the roof, or a family of rabid badgers having taken up residence inside. Speaking of rabid, it appears the rust fairy has feasted voraciously on this car on more than one occasion, indicating that perhaps a more thorough appraisal of its condition would be warranted.

So, to bi or not to bi, that is the question. Is $2,800 a Nice Price for an Italian car, built under an Argentinean, with a German gearbox and an engine based on a French design? Or does that price call out the Crack Pipe, despite all the multiculturalism?

You decide!


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