Affordable to All: 1980 Maserati Quattroporte

While there are any number of cars you can buy cheaply, the age-old question is this: should you? Despite many of us seemingly adopting a negative attitude about the true costs of ownership for some types of speciality vehicles, some sellers just can’t help but keep that optimistic flame alive and tell potential project car owners that this isn’t a costly restoration – it’s the chance to own a car we could have never afforded when new. Case in point is this 1980 Maserati Quattroporte, found here on for $6,500. 

Special thanks to Barn Finds reader Doug M. for flagging down this dusty flagship, which is locked away in a barn somewhere in the United States. The coating of dust looks practically embedded in the paint at this point, but it does provide all the evidence you need that the farmer hasn’t been out joyriding this stately sedan recently. Given the multitude of ways this car can fail quite permanently, I’m guessing it didn’t need brake-stands and burnouts to get parked.

OK, your author here will take on plenty of stupid projects, but something I don’t generally do are cars that have been critter castles for the better part of two decades. No matter how nice that sumptuous Italian leather appears (and really, it’s in damn nice shape for being laid up as long as this car has), the evidence of mice and other rodent infestation is too great to ignore. The seller freely admits to this aspect of the Maser’s condition, mentioning the squirrels and mice that have been sleeping in it (and doing other gross things).

And then there’s the engine bay photo, which tells you even the current asking price is too high. This third-gen sedan may come with all the hallmarks of a classic Maserati formula with the big V8 up front and rear wheel drive, but this is where the seller’s marketing of this as a project car for everyman begins to fall on its face. While the transmission should be a standard-issue Chrysler unit, everything else will be as expensive as a hand-built car can be. Anyone crazy enough to take this mouse-house Maserati on?


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  1. Johnni B

    No thanks

    • P

      You’ve got a better shot of seeing Rex Reed JUNIOR and Paul Lynde Junior.

      • Pat

        Wow, good joke….too bad nobody got it

  2. rustylink

    They’re asking runner money for a non-runner. Parts are not exactly plentiful so you could easily find yourself in a hole on this heap. I knew a guy who inherited one from his father in law. He told me that the car was rock solid – but it needed a very regimented maintenance schedule to keep it that way. He did like the slusher – it was a Mopar 727 and it was easy to get serviced and never gave him any issues. This one would easily eclipse the asking price to get road worthy. I love the design and they are interesting – but not exactly sought after.

  3. revherbel

    He should just take the first $1000 he can get and be happy. Even at $1000, that thing looks to be a money pit, but maybe at a thousand, a true lover of those things would be willing to give her a go.

  4. Fred W.

    For the right price, could be very useful for parts to the guy with a project.

  5. Brian Smith

    There was a much better one available last week on Craigslist for $2500. This is waaay too much for a non runner in this condition.

  6. Jeff V

    Money pit with NO future???

  7. Dovi65

    Back in the late 80s there was one on the abused car lot in my area. I was VERY tempted … VERY .. I mean, c’mon … young guy, decent paying job, no commitments, a MASERATI!!! .. how cool would I be!!! Even then I knew the car was bad news, but still … A MASERATI!!! Thankfully, I came to my senses and bought something more practical, less trouble-prone … as in 9 passenger 1985 Pontiac Paris Safari in Cream Yellow, red velour. a leaky sunroof, and unreliable fuel gauge. Aaahhh .. to be young & stupid again

    • Jeff Staff

      Man, that is quite a spread in terms of the devils on your shoulders. One whispering “Maserati” and the other “Shaggin’ Wagon” – so many possibilities!

      • Jeffro

        Usually, the devil and angel on my shoulders have been doing shots of tequila. I’m so screwed!

      • Dovi65

        It was either owning a Maz [that would put my local mechanics children thru medical school] or .. the Shaggin Wagon [honey, we’re staying at the uhhhh … Hotel Parisienne tonite] :-)

  8. Dave Wright

    I recently bought an 83 just like this, mine looked much better from the start, a new battery and fluid change got it running and driving well. Paid 1700.00 for it on eBay. It is a great machine for the money, I will have it pristine and on the road this summer after running it through my body shop for about what this guy is asking. It is a great 20 footer as it is now.

  9. Rod

    Leave it where it is. Not worth the money or effort. The rodents will have ruined all the wiring and you will never get the smell out of the interior without redoing it. It’s a shame but this is probably only a parts car.

  10. brian crowe

    I was just contemplating buying a 1985 with manual trans and biturbo for $1000 and its a 2 door. I really like the idea of it but I’m affraid of parts costs. I’ve never even looked under the hood of one before. The price seems good but it has been sitting in a barn for the last 10 years. It also had a 1986 Jaguar XJ12 keeping it company all that time. What do you guys think of either of these cars? Same price $1000 each.

    • Dave Wright

      This is no junk Biturbo, it is a real Maserati with a 4 overhead cam V8, 4 dual draft downdraft Webbers. The worst sin they committed building this car is burying the magnificent engine in bodywork. I saw one in a model T roadster one time and to an old sports car guy, was stunning. The same engines were used in sports cars selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars today. Another issue………Maserati is a proper name, not a translatable term, named for the brothers that started the company and sold it off pretty quickly. They went on to start and operate the company Oscca that built performance, race cars and tuning parts for other Italian brands. Maserati (the company) never used V12’s like Ferrari or Lamborghini, preferring 4, 6 and 8 cylinder engines that (until Biturbo) were well known for robust reliability without being prone to heating and other problems the V12 cars were famous for.

      • John K

        I saw one of these mills in a Model A a few years ago. glad to know there’s another jalopy out there with one of these engines hanging out where everyone can see.

  11. The Walrus

    Fun Fact: Although there’s no direct translation, the Italian word ‘Maserati’ loosely translates to the English phrases ‘Garden Gnome’ or ‘Lawn Ornament’.

    • '63 Lark Daytona ragtop

      “Leather Sofa”

  12. Jeffro

    Critter castle. Almost pissed myself laughing at that!

  13. Jeff V

    I would compare my feelings for this like seeing a beat-up RR. Man cool, I can restore it! Yeah right $$$$$, if only I win the lotto! Then u would just buy new, right? This car should only attract a seasoned mechanic preferably with his own shop & a best buddy that’s an interior guy or a weathy person who lost their innocence in the back seat of one (sentimental) lol

  14. nessy

    I laugh where you said, “affordable to all”….6500 is not peanuts for a car that in good condition, sells for 6500. I guess you never had one of these? Once again, another lazy seller who does not know how to wash a car, never mind a comment on that interior….

  15. DRV

    Wiring….not my favorite thing to do…

  16. jaybird

    That’s a no for me too.

  17. daniell wright

    The debris on the carpet is from mice and other rodents. I would suggest taking the interior out and burning it. You are NEVER going to get the pee smell out of that car…

  18. Jeffro

    I’ve always been under the impression that when selling a car, no matter if it’s nice or a clunker, to simply wash it and vacuum it out. Am I missing something?

    • Dave Wright

      Barn find patina insanity gone wild

      • Jeffro

        So…I’m guessing it’s nothing like “Girls Gone Wild”? Damn.

  19. sciguy58

    Rodent droppings, No thanks. Google Hanta virus.

  20. Randy Rush

    Run Forrest Run!

  21. Wiley Robinson

    $6500? Someone’s an optimist. A few years back, $650 would have been doing well selling this car in this condition. I’m guessing it’s probably still pretty close to that number today.

  22. RichS

    Every time I see one of these, I think of Richard Dawson’s character Killian in Running Man. Rode in a Quattroporte limo…

  23. Rodney

    When a small herd of barn mice say they are going to Italy for the summer, this is what they mean. They tend to bring along a lot of friends and stay up all night drinking and making other mice. Never trust mice on holiday.

  24. james boyd A 1985 Maserati w/t 26,000 miles only $15,000. I’d say this barn find will stay a “critter castle”.

  25. Dolphin Member

    Since the world…or at least the Web…seems to have forgotten the birth of the first Maserati V8 engine during the 1960s, I have to go on my memory of reading issues of R&T, C and D, and SCI back then. I’m sure that if I don’t remember correctly someone will correct me.

    I have always thought that the V8 in the ’80s Q-portes was a direct descendent of the racing V8 that powered the Maserati 450S race car. The 450 was made in both coupe and open versions, and a few guys some people might remember raced them, like Stirling Moss (who is still alive in his ’80s) and another guy named C. Shelby. The engine was then developed for street cars including the 5000 GT and, I believe, the later Bora.

    (and for fun:) More recently there has even been a Maser V8 installed in a 4-wheel motorcycle. I think that V8 was from the modern Q-porte that IIRC came in for the 2003 model year. There are photos of that bike on the Web.

    BTW, the SCM Guide says median auction price paid for these Q-porte IIIs is $29,500.

    • That Guy

      I think $30K for an 80’s QP is Barrett-Jackson money for the best one in existence. Granted, it would probably work out cheaper than getting this car back into decent-driver condition. The rodent damage is almost certainly terminal for this poor thing. It’s a parts source only at this point.

  26. Joe

    Said to be a good running Q-porte with good exterior and excellent interior just sold last week on ebay for $3500. Don’t believe that SCM median auction guide–very few sold at auctions with available sale statistics. Maybe $30K for a museum car. Many were junked or sold for almost nothing due to extemely high cost of maintenance. This car is a rodent motel—and a 1 star motel at that!

    • Dolphin Member

      I’m just the messenger, Guy and Joe. I wouldn’t touch this car for all the reasons so many people have already mentioned above, but that doesn’t mean that a few people haven’t paid crazy money for a Q-porte at somewhere like B-J, which by the way, is a place I wouldn’t ever go for a car anyway.

      Some people keep cars well and don’t drive them much, and those few Q-portes will be the ones that get crazy money at high end auctions. Even if people on here don’t think any Q-porte is worth $30K that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. A lot of that kind of auction result is published in SCM, with details, and cars like a few well kept Q-portes are definitely not the only ones that are bringing crazy money at high end auctions….as we all know.

  27. Mike Burnett

    In the UK Aston Martin/ Lagonda engines from less desirable classics are being cannabalised for use either in desirable models that need an engine or for the sharply upcoming race car replica market now that the real thing has become unaffordable to most people, making the less desirable models scarce. I wonder if the same will happen to Maserati?

  28. Jeff V

    Just a FYI fellow car buffs, I just learned something interesting that some may not know about the big car auction houses. MECUM is the best! Reason; sellers have the option of placing a reserve on the car & also get paid “ON-THE-SPOT” when it sells. BJ only does “no-reserve” & sellers have to wait 45 days to get paid. Correct me if the info is wrong, but this makes me look at this in a different light.

    • The Walrus

      B-J makes up for ‘no reserve’ with shill bidding, so in many cases there’s an agreement with the seller, it’s just not disclosed publicly.

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