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1986 Maserati Biturbo: Zagato Spyder


Now, we have seen them all: we’ve featured a Biturbo E edition along with a rare Karif. Today we have the Zagato-designed Spyder here on craigslist that is desperately in need of a sympathetic Maserati lover. It’s only $1,000 but will need a fair amount of work – starting with a paint job.


Surprisingly, the interior is in fair shape but who knows how long that top has been left down. The steering wheel is the correct Nardi unit but the leather is clearly cracked. The wood trim looks salvageable as well, but it’s hard to tell for sure. The Spyder was the first project Maserati and Zagato collaborated on in close to 30 years, so this project Maser does have some significance to the automotive universe.


Maserati’s venerable V6 was at the heart of the Biturbo, but is also one of the many reasons why these rare cars end up sidelined. Cost of maintenance and reliability were never strong suits of these cars, but given just over 3,000 were ever built, I feel this rare soft top deserves to be brought back to life. The car does have a clear title but based on the seller’s description, it seems like it has been slapped with non-op status by the state of California.


Is this one worth the work? That’s up to you. It’s a rare car made rarer still by the 5-speed manual transmission and its affiliation with one of the world’s most famous styling houses, Zagato. If you can get the seller down to $700, it may be worth taking shot at. Hopefully, the California location means you’d be starting with a rust-free foundation. Would you take it on?


  1. Avatar photo Dolphin Member

    Almost anything with 4 wheels and the name Zagato on the body is worth big $$, sometimes very big $$. Unfortunately this is one of the few, or maybe the only exception.

    I’m sure there’s a lot more than the asking in parts value given that fewer than 300 of these early Spyders were made, but it would be a shame if it were broken up and not saved, even if it is a Maserati Biturbo.

    The Zagato name and bodywork, and the 2-seat design ought to be worth a Grand to someone……

    OK, maybe $700 then?

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  2. Avatar photo Tirefriar

    At first I was going to say that if you don’t see $1000 worth of parts here, run the other way.

    But then I thought, why not swap in a different running gear? Yeah, $700 seems like a fair shake for the amount of work to done. The Nardi wheel should be worth at least $200…

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  3. Avatar photo Charles H.

    Yeah…..swapping in a reliable American engine and running gear seems like a great option at that price!

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  4. Avatar photo James

    I was the collision repairer for the Atlanta importer of these cars when new. I drove several of these quick little roadsters and was very impressed with how fast they were as well as the nice sound they made. The leather was glove soft and I knew it would not hold up well. They came with a gold clock in the center of the dash that this one is missing. This is one of those cars that I would buy if I had a huge Chicken coop to fill with cars to store for the future. While we may scoof at it today, the future will look better upon this model.

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  5. Avatar photo Jose

    Where is this thing located? The articled says it’s in California but California is a big place.

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  6. Avatar photo The Chucker

    ….and now, something for your inner mechanical masochist.

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  7. Avatar photo 64 bonneville

    Chevy 4.3 V-6 and 700R4 trans, Mexican blanket seat covers. make sure lights, horn and brakes work, then drive the snot out of it.

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  8. Avatar photo Don Sicura

    I’m not sure but I believe that once California designates a car as a “non op”, it cannot be registered or driven ever again.

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  9. Avatar photo afro_lou

    California non-op status just means that it isn’t allowed to be driven on public roads until it is properly registered. Also, California doesn’t put non-op status on cars, the owner does. I have a 67 Dart that’s been needing brake work for a couple years now (I know, I know…), and it’s been non-op status since 2013. All I need to do is insure it and tell the DMV to put it in operation status. Same deal here, I’m sure.

    Also, it’s on SFBay craigslist, so that sort of narrows down the area it might be in.

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  10. Avatar photo Gastegal

    California salvage title says it all. It was totalled in an accident. Frame and other components have been compromised. Run away from this nightmare.

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    • Avatar photo Axel Caravias

      It states clear title (non-op) in one side and salvage on the other. I guess it is the first one and the seller wrote salvage on the options available on the scroll down menu.
      Anyways a PPI and paperwork check is a must

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  11. Avatar photo Axel Caravias

    Wrong coast….
    Car is under a car cover, as seen on the last picture, otherwise that Nardi would be splitted along the rim.
    Car looks complete and unmolested, very few made, Maserati+Zagato, it does not state miles but my guess is low miles in it, 5 speed, for 1k.
    For a diy this is a great deal, most of the issues are well known by these days and turbos are not the mistery they used to be anymore.
    1986 cars are on the low if not lowest part of the value curve now, but in 5 years we will be looking at a different scenario.

    Sadly for me, it would cost around 1500 to put it here in Orlando, Fl.

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  12. Avatar photo Gastegal

    BTW, Russian Hill is is in San Francisco.

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  13. Avatar photo HeadMaster1

    I have to fight myself NOT to inquire about this one, It’s up in the bay area, so rust can be an issue but not the frame-rotting rust of middle America. Parts are easy, cheap to find as they are all generic euro parts. These cars were built from he parts shelves of Fiat/Alfa/Bertone/Volvo/Merc, with an occasional Maserati logo thrown in for good measure ;-)

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  14. Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle

    I missed this one the first time through I’m glad I caught with the conversation because it gave me a good laugh.

    If 300 bucks makes or breaks this deal for you I’m not sure whether you are masochistic or optimistic LOL.

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