Of Course It’s a 5-Speed: 1987 Maserati Biturbo

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

The first thing your eyes may be drawn to when checking out this 1987 Maserati Biturbo sedan is the strip of LEDs underneath the headlights, no doubt added to emulate what modern luxury cars utilize for daytime running lights. Don’t worry; this is likely not the work of a misguided teenager. The seller is an older gentleman, according to the listing, who is neck-deep in Biturbos and has lovingly preserved this 425i sedan. Find it here on craigslist for $3K.

The listing is on behalf of the author’s friend Santos, who is the elderly gentleman that owns both this saloon and a Biturbo convertible. My favorite part of the listing is when the seller says, “Of course it’s a five speed.” This should be the attitude going forward, shouldn’t it? “Of course it’s a six speed. What more do you people need?” Then maybe we’d give the three-pedal setup a chance at fending off extinction. But I also think those words are a tip of the hat to his friend who seems like a gearhead through and through. And when’s the last time you saw a Biturbo interior that nice?

Despite the fake LEDs and garish hood ducts, the rest of the body seems quite clean. I dig the aquamarine blue color, but no word if it’s original. The sedans appear less often than the coupes and convertibles, but I’m not sure that moves the needle value-wise one way or another. The seller claims his friend is a mechanic and machinist and that this ensures the Maserati has received the best mechanical care possible. Still, service records are a must when buying a car like this.

The 425i models came standard with Weber fuel injection, which yielded approximately 188 b.h.p. to stir through the five-speed gearbox. The 425i Biturbo is located in Connecticut, and the price seems reasonable if the claims about maintenance hold up. There’s no mention of rust but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there; definitely a question worth asking given the car’s New England location. You don’t often see these Biturbos on the road, particularly in sedan form. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Bill Walters for the find.

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Comments

  1. RoughDiamond

    Beautiful! I have never seen one, but with that exterior and interior color combo and the manual trans, it seems like a deal as along as it’s mechanically sound and the tin worm is not too prevalent. Heck, I’d love to just spend some time sitting in that back seat.

    1+
  2. Jimbot

    BiTurbo = BigTrouble – but they’re still cool. Those equipped with manual transmissions are extremely rare. If you can turn a wrench in a somewhat advanced way you would be fine w/one of these, otherwise run. I think they’re super cool, always have.

    5+
  3. bob

    you didn’t say anything about the fake scallops on the front fenders.

    3+
    • Burzel

      Last time I saw that styling “flourish” was stuck on the fenders of a Chevy Cobalt.

      0
  4. AMXSTEVE

    This guy is a lousy photographer. He can’t even get the whole car in frame. This car looks like a bloated nissan sentra.

    0
  5. Rock On

    Car looks to have most of the Kmart automotve department installed on it.

    8+
  6. Dean

    A chance to get in on an “exotic” for 3K..whats not to like? I wonder if it indeed does 185? kmH?.Seriously, it isn’t a bad deal if one could remove the scoops and us it as a once in a while, not a DD

    0
    • John D.

      185kmH is only about 115 mph, which this car could probably do with a NA 4 cylinder

      2+
      • Dean

        Not a big Joe Walsh fan,eh? s’ok

        2+
      • Andrew

        He has accountants that pay for it all

        3+
  7. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    I rode in the front seat of one of these…driven very conservatively…and it was about as luxurious as a small luxo-supercar gets. The Italian leather seats were the nicest I have ever sat on before or since. From memory they seemed nicer than the ones in this car.

    The driver, who was an employee of a dealer who had it at Road Atlanta to promote sales, said good things about it, but that was when they were new and maybe the reliability issues maybe weren’t known at that point.

    Not sold yet at $3K for what looks like a Maserati in decent condition probably says it all.

    0
  8. JDJonesDR

    Since I’m a heathen, I’d buy this and stick a V6 with a 4 speed from something dependable.

    0
    • Murray

      You’re right, you are 🙂

      0
  9. Dave Wright

    This car would turn into the biggest automotive nightmare in any individuals life. I have owned Maseraties for 40 years. If you like it……buy one and use it as a display on your man cave. That would be the highest and best use.

    10+
  10. Steve

    love it

    0
  11. giorgitd

    Wiki sez 320 of these manufactured over a three year production run. If not repainted, how did the hood scoops match? These scoops can be original, can they?

    0
    • Dave Wright

      They look like a Rover 3500S

      0
    • Steve65

      It IS possible to paint non-standard parts to match the original color on a car…

      3+
    • Chris Kennedy

      What does it say about someone who would add those Lund hood scoops to an Italian car like this? I have never been much if a fan of a Biturbo but please!

      1+
  12. Adam T45

    I am a huge fan of Italian cars, and this one appears to be in amazing condition for its age. However, they also have a well-earned reputation for “short-gevity”. The bodies were renowned for rust, and the engines had a propensity to make loud clunking noises which was usually followed by much steam, smoke and silence. However, if you are an automotive masochist, then this is the car for you!!

    9+
  13. John

    Hmmm, right here in my neck of the woods. It’s probably the closest thing I could get to an Italian sports car. What could possibly go wrong? That is a serious question by the way.

    0
    • 63Comet

      With the engine, nearly anything. That is a serious answer, btw. I remember one place we lived had a foreign auto service center. Saw more of these there during a stint when I had to drive by than I’d have expected. Interiors look gorgeous on these things but don’t make an emotional buy unless you’re very advanced mechanically.

      0
  14. Paul B

    If only it didn’t look like a squished Dodge Lancer of the same era and carry a reputation as a fickle companion prone to blowing up engines …
    But it has, in the right hands, somehow managed to cover 80,000 miles, and everything is said to work. So if you’re a master mechanic with time on your hands, there is actually potential for a good experience. Just make sure you’re a qualified buyer, technically, financially and emotionally.

    0
  15. Doc

    I owned a Bi-Turbo in the 90s. It had simultaneous “bests” and “worsts”.

    The interior is the nicest of any car I’ve ever owned, and I’ve had Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volvo, and just about every other euro luxury brand other than Rolls Royce. Those seats were like climbing into a favorite chair, supple and comfortable, you’d sink right in.

    That said, it was a mechanical nightmare. I went through 2 sets of turbos. If you got caught in the rain, the car would get you home, but then wouldn’t start again for a couple of days. It was a real POS in terms of reliability.

    That said… I sold mine 19 years ago, and I *still* love the look of the design. If there ever was a candidate worthy of the “Drop an SBC into it” this one is it.

    1+
    • PRA4SNW

      No doubt that this is true: Great interior, lousy drivetrain, Italian exotic look (minus the fake hood ducts of this car).

      So, is it that blasphemous to transplant a reliable engine into one?
      I don’t think so.
      Similar to what a lot of folks did to the XJ-6 and -12 a couple of decades ago.

      0
  16. Dean

    An online auction site has an ’87 and the starting bid is already at $5700..go figure

    0
  17. angliagt

    I still have a copy of the factory shop manual –
    free (+ shipping).

    0

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