1989 Maserati Karif: A Better Biturbo?


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While we have featured some pretty bad Biturbos on these pages, I think this is the first-ever Maserati Karif to earn the spotlight. Of course, with only 222 ever sold, it’s not a surprise this is the first one we’ve seen. Listed on eBay and fresh from importation into the U.S. from Japan, it’s listed at $9,900 or best offer.


The Karif was an oddball if there ever was one. It was built on the shortened chassis that the convertible rode on, and given an odd fixed roof design that left the car with an awkward greenhouse. Despite its odd proportions, it was a seriously quick car for the day. It used the most powerful Biturbo engine offered and could rip past 60 in 4.8 seconds. As you can see here, the body is not in great shape with surface rust poking through at both the front and rear.


The interior featured the typical Maserati appointments, which is to say, it was a luxurious cockpit. You’re unlikely to find a Maserati Biturbo with an interior in good condition and this rare variant is no different: the seats are torn, the gear shift knob is worn, and the wood veneer is peeling away from the doors. But even in dilapidated form, those seats look enormously comfortable.

Biturbo Engine

Although the seller claims the car runs and drives and that they’ve done some basic work like clean out the fuel lines and empty the gas tank, there’s likely still substantial work to be done. There’s plenty of visible rust and the engine bay is corroded, so inspecting the car for moisture infiltration and other signs of dampness is a must. Japan isn’t exactly known for its dry climate, so rolling the dice on a rare specimen like this requires plenty of due diligence.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. steve

    I would run far and fast from this one. I though it would be RHD if thats where it came from.

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    • Wayne Thomas

      Japan imports LHD vehicles from Europe as many Japanese here prefer the authenticity of LHD from a LHD country.

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    • jimmy

      I’ve also never seen a biturbo that rusted either

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  2. MikeG

    This was the injected version of the Biturbo, the Karif was slightly modded by the factory with a higher horsepower rating than the other 2.8’s. A good car overall, (I own an ’89 Spyder). This however looks like it may have been a storm car. I purchased a 4 valve version of this 3 valve 2.8 engine (from Japan), right after the Tsunami and it’s internals were packed with a clay substance, quite a mess.

    Like 0
  3. Bobsmyuncle

    I’ve never seen a Japanese import in such bad condition.

    Like 0
  4. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    Hope you don’t Karif I pass on this one.

    Like 0
    • JeffAuthor


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  5. Mark S

    I can see why they only made 222 of these it is butt ugly.

    Like 0
  6. francisco

    What possesses people to buy these expensive cars and abuse them to hell?

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  7. DolphinMember

    Only 2 profile shots in the group, most other outside shots from low down…probably to avoid showing that awkward greenhouse. If I owned it I would be asking myself why I bought it every time I went to drive it, even if it does the 0-60 run in under 5.

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  8. Audifan

    There are many good cars coming from Japan, this not one of them. Granted, a Maserati Karif is a rare car which does not necessarily make it desirable or collectable, especially being a rust bucket.

    Like 0
  9. Uked
    • MikeG

      The interior is in decent shape for a neglected car, but that rust is out of control!

      Like 0
  10. Spiderman

    This wasn’t exported from Japan. It was deported

    Like 0
  11. John

    “This is as new.”
    Ha ha.

    Like 0
  12. Larry M

    Ran when parked. No, I Mean I ran Away from it when I parked it.

    Like 0
  13. yanmarley

    Hey Barnfinds I just don’t understand your use of the term “surface rust” in your write-up. Even here in the interior of B.C. that would not earn the surface rust moniker. And the seller’s claim for it being “as new” is a bit of a joke as well. I wish them no luck at all with this sale.

    Like 0

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