- Written by webmin
One would assume that any car built by a company with a name that ends in i should automatically join the ranks of desirable, collectible cars, correct? But we all know what happens when one assumes, so let’s put that maxim to the test with this week’s nomination for the Class of 1986: the Maserati Biturbo.
Maserati, under the leadership of Alejandro deTomaso, introduced the Biturbo in 1982, intending it to be a less-exclusive, reasonably priced, volume-built Maserati sports car, at a time when the company had abandoned the mid-engine exotic car field. As its name implied, the Biturbo used a twin-turbocharged engine – specifically a 2.5-liter V-6 good for 185 horsepower, mounted up front and driving the rear wheels. It first came to the United States in 1984, the same year Maserati introduced the Zagato-built Spyder version in Italy (the United States didn’t get the Spyder until 1986). The Biturbo did initially sell well, then tapered off in sales in following years; in the United States, sales totaled somewhere north of 5,000 through the end of Biturbo sales here in 1990. As Jeff Koch noted in the Buyer’s Guide on the Biturbo in HSX #26, October 2007, “their reputations had started to precede them: Maseratis were fun, expensive-to-maintain little grenades… The Biturbo range quickly developed a reputation of being cheap to get into but would bleed your AmEx Black card dry with repair costs if you let it.” The 1987 models, with the introduction of fuel injection and a host of other fixes, seemed to alleviate most of those concerns, but couldn’t turn the tide of opinion in the Biturbo’s favor.
So on the one hand, the 1986 Maserati Biturbo is a rare and exotic Italian – finickiness is all part of the package, right? On the other hand, the repair costs drove at least one Biturbo owner to sacrifice his car to the cash for clunkers sodium silicate solution. So there’s one vote against the Biturbo. What say you? Would you make room in your 1986-only garage for a Biturbo? Or would you stuff sand down its gullet as well and move on to the next 1986 car?