Live Auctions

Cheap Exotic? 1984 Maserati Biturbo 5-Speed

The term “cheap exotic car” may seem like the world’s biggest oxymoron. Maybe it should be “cheap entry to owning an exotic car”, or “a cheap way to end up in the poor house”. Truthfully, this 1984 Maserati Biturbo appears to be in outstanding condition from looking at the five photos that the seller has provided. They have it posted here on craigslist in Henderson, Nevada and they’re asking $4,850 – very cheap entry indeed. Here is the original listing in case this listing goes away when someone decides that this is, in fact, a cheap exotic car. Thanks to Rocco B. for sending in this tip!

Call me crazy, but I really like the design of the Biturbo and the later four-door sedan (gasp!) versions, the 425, 420, 430, and 422. I own a couple of high-maintenance German vehicles but there’s something really exotic about an Italian car, especially the Maserati Biturbo ownership experience, that both scares me and excites me at the same time. Sort of like when your accountant calls to tell you that your taxes are done. “Well, come on, is it good or bad news?!” From what I’ve heard and read over the years, it’s more bad news than good news with carburetor-equipped Biturbos.

Interior-wise, though, it’s mostly good news, at least as far as the initial luxury vibe, plushness, and driving position go. Switchgear can be iffy but that can also be the case with your Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, too. Ha, just kidding. We don’t see the back seat or anything else inside or outside other than this photo showing the gauge cluster and an odometer reading of 52,734. The seller gives us hardly any information at all other than “5 speed trans, all stock”. I kid you not, that’s it. That may be enough if the car is as nice in person as it looks in the photos.

There is an engine photo even though we don’t see either side of the car. The engine is Maserati’s 2.5L V6 which had 192 hp and 233 lb-ft of torque. The ZF 5-speed manual will help make this a fun driving experience and the comfort level will make it a car that you look forward to driving. We’ve all heard horror stories about these early cars – after fuel injection, they became much more reliable – but for anyone with a passion for owning something different and having some guts, it would be hard to go wrong here. Have any of you owned or driven a Biturbo?


  1. alphasud Member

    If I was looking for another car to daily and this was in my area I would buy it. Looks good on the outside and the interior is really nice which is rare for these unless it’s been pampered and garage kept. The blow through set-up has had its share of issues. Also the twin turbos are not water cooled units and tend to fail due to coking issues. That’s why I gave them the nickname Bi-trouble. Valve adjustments take a long time and timing belt service is a must but the bottom ends are really stout. Electrics are typical 80’s Italian. 5xspeed is a huge plus. Go ahead Scotty take the plunge. This will give others something to talk about. Like my recent Citroen purchase.

    Like 16
  2. Emel

    Interior looks immaculate. Doesn’t appear like much fast food was eaten while driving…..or any trips to the local Drive-In Theatre were made.

    Always wanted to own a Euro car…..but I was always thinking German.

    Like 1
  3. Big C

    Some people are gluttons for pain. They bought these “cheap” Maserati’s, back in the day. Little did they know…

    Like 5

      You are so right. I love these cars but they are a nightmare to own. Maybe I missed it but was it mentioned if this car was even running. And the price, I have seen them for $2k. That is all I can add.

      Like 3
  4. angliagt angliagt Member

    There’s just one page in the Maserati Buyers Guide –
    It just says “DON’T!”

    Like 9
  5. Bruce

    Head gaskets are a pain but the big problem with them is the turbos. On the early cars when you turned off the engine the oil pump would stop as well and then the oil in the turbos would get too hot and coke as noted earlier. On later cars there was a temperature controlled pump to keep oil flowing thru the turbos to stop this. The carbs are a pain but the turbos and head gaskets were the worst part. Valves and water pump come next but if you were careful and had a calibrated torque wrench it was do able. Torque setting are critical on this engine.

    I have not owned one but I have worked on a couple that belonged to friends an early and late one and the difference is bigger than you might expect.

    Now it is possible to add a pump and alter the oil lines and I suspect that this driver allowed the turbos to cool by running the engine at idle for a few minutes (5Min) after a trip to allow the oil to cool the turbos

    Like 3
  6. Timmy V

    I remember the early ones ending up on the “buy here, pay here” lots pretty quickly, hoping to find a sucker who wanted a cheap, flashy car. Kind of like the Jaguar X Type.

    Like 3
  7. jwaltb

    Bring a fire extinguisher.

    Like 1
  8. Troy

    Just put a American built manufacturer of your choice engine and transmission in it and drive it, Toyota Tundra V8 /V6 maybe will fit but then it will be a dependable car

    Like 3

      Hold your horses, these cars had major wiring problems. That is what caused so many fires. And I still love the looks of them.

      Like 2
      • Arthur

        Perhaps a custom wiring harness from a company like Painless Performance could solve that issue?

  9. JMB#7

    Lack of description and photos. If this is the model I am recalling, then the best photograph would have been from the side. Jim Trueman drove a BiTurbo in the 24 hour Escort Radar series (around 1984). As I recall, it was dark red and did very well until is missed a turn on the first back straight (Jim Mullen driving). We were camped out very close to the point where it ended its day headlong into the barrels. Found a link to the article.

    Like 1
  10. Rick

    BiTurbo is Italian for leaks oil.

  11. david R

    agree with Troy, they are great looking cars.

  12. carbuzzard Member

    I was very fortunate to drive one of the first Biturbos in the United States. The first two were media test cars, one on the east coast and one on the west coast, and I got to write it up for AutoWeek as the first drive in the US.

    Of course, spending a limited amount of time in the car, I had no idea of the future reliability, but infatuated with compact sedans as I was–an earlier daily driver had been a modified Datsun 510–this was an almost attainable exotic. I agree now that a transplant might be the best way to give this Maserati life again.

    Like 3
  13. PairsNPaint

    Biturbo? Bye Bye Wallet.

    Like 2
  14. Kurt Member

    Just one question, are new parts really really expensive? My experience with German cars is that, especially with older Mercedes, OEM parts (if you can even find them) are very costly. Same true of Italian stallions?

    Like 1
  15. Howie

    You can not give these away.

    Like 3
  16. bob

    I am the only person who has owned a Bitubo and never had any trouble with it. My was a 87 so fuel injected. I used it as a daily driver, except in winter, I’m in western PA. I had it for years only to learn later how lucky I was and didn’t know it

    Like 5
    • alphasud Member

      Like I have said before. The cars I worked on that were the most unreliable were the ones that didn’t get driven. Your 87 had water cooled turbos as well. That no doubt helped.

      Like 2
    • SubGothius

      Much of the bad rap these got were due to the early blow-thru carb setup and various related and other early teething problems that got sorted out in production over the years. The later versions with fuel injection like your ’87 were much improved; those are the ones to have if one simply must have a Biturbo of any stripe, and the later the better.

    • George

      Most of what I’ve read and heard over the years has said that the 84-86 models had the most problems. Most of the issues were fixed after that.

      As for the price, around 89-90 there were two on local lots for $4000 with 25K miles for an 84 or 85.

  17. Harold Lohse

    Several years ago there was one of these with a for sale sign on it right down the road from our house. My wife thought I was crazy to spend near five thousand dollars for an “old car.” My reply was I would pay half that for someone to paint MASERATI INSIDE on the side of the garage. Research came up with an article thar said biturbo was Italian for junk. Glad that the oppertunity passed me by, the offer is still open for the painting.

  18. Randy Wendt

    I got one for free while cleaning out a warehouse. It had been sitting for years, got it going, it was fun to drive. Sold it for $500 happy to see it go.

    Like 1

      Hey Randy, by any chance was that in Moss Point Miss. There is one there that the owner believes his is worth a fortune.

  19. Stan

    A beautiful looking automobile. A new 2.3 turbo Ford would go well underhood

  20. Wenpri

    Best suggestion was to do an engine switch. The gas mileage was in the teens and at close to 6 dollars a gallon for premium you better have deep pockets!

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