Inexpensive Exotic? 1985 Maserati Biturbo E

I don’t know if there is such a thing as an inexpensive vehicle, in general. They all take regular maintenance and they all have issues that come up every now and then. A car like this 1985 Maserati Biturbo E may seem inexpensive to buy initially but over the long term, that’s another story. This one is listed here on eBay in Denver, Colorado and the current bid is $2,550, but the reserve isn’t met.

I’ve always been intrigued by the Maserati Biturbo in any of the body styles: the two-door, spyder/convertible, or four-door sedan. If there would have been a wagon version that would have been even better. A Maserati wagon? I know, but they make an SUV now so anything is possible. I remember 1981 as most of you do. I was a year out of high school and was dirt poor so maybe that’s how I missed seeing the Maserati Biturbo’s introduction at the end of 1981. Our city didn’t have any exotic car dealerships but I subscribed to Motor Trend and other car magazines. Still, I never saw one in person until years later.

This 1985 example looks nice but as you can see in the photo above there are a few issues with the exterior. Finding the rubber bumper trim may not be the end of the world but there are a few scrapes here and there as well as on the wheels. There is no mention of rust and it doesn’t look like that’s an issue. The seller says that it runs good and the clutch, brakes, and tires are good. That’s more than half the battle. The “E” stands for export, this isn’t an EV, as if I had to say that. Hagerty isn’t very bullish on the Biturbo of this era, at least yet. They give a #2 excellent condition car a value of $5,600.

The interiors are legendary in Maseratis of this era, it’s impossible to not instantly know when you’re looking at a Maserati. These inflatable-looking leather seats are supremely comfortable if maybe not the best for all-out cornering. There isn’t much bolstering here, not that many owners would drive a Biturbo all out on track day. There is work to do inside, especially on the side of the driver’s seat – which oddly enough we don’t see a photo of – but the door panels also need some help.

Here’s a big part of the exotic nature of this car, and what the question mark is for in the title as far as it being inexpensive. The seller doesn’t give us much information but this should be Maserati’s 2.5L twin-turbocharged V6 which had around 185 horsepower. Sadly, that’s about 20 hp less than the least powerful Camry made today, but that’s not the point of owning a Maserati, at least a mid-80s Biturbo. A 1987 or later car may be the way to go with fuel injection. If you’re mechanically adept and like to do your own maintenance and repairs, it sure would be fun to own one of these things. Have any of you owned one?

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    That Maserati has some go fast parts applied. 85’s did not have water to air intercoolers, upgraded ignition, and what looks to be an aftermarket boost control valve. If it was done right I’m sure it’s making more than stock HP. Like I have said in the past I rebuilt a 2.7L Maserati engine. It was quite a time consuming and expensive job. The ad doesn’t mention how it runs or if it runs but I personally would rather buy a nice running and driving example over this nightmare. Preferably an injected one over the blow through.

    Like 5
  2. Frank Sumatra

    If you have some experience with Maseratis this could be interesting. Maybe not the best introduction to the hobby for others.

    Like 1
  3. carmicheals

    Power it with a 300+ horsepower 3.6 GM LFX V6 and six-speed out of a wrecked Camaro or CTS…

  4. nlpnt

    “If there would have been a wagon version that would have been even better. A Maserati wagon?”

    Probably the easiest way to get to a Biturbo wagon would be to start with a four-door and graft the rear section of a K-car wagon on. I’m not sure if there’s something structural behind the back seat that would get in the way of it folding though.

    Like 1
  5. KEVIN L HARPER

    I would prefer Charles’s Ford escort to this fright pig

    Like 12
  6. sir_mike

    Sorry but looks like a Chevy Citation…

  7. Charles Atlas

    Thanks for the kind words Kevin!
    Best, Charles

    Like 7
  8. JagManBill

    Why is it that the most expensive cars are the ‘inexpensive’ ones?

  9. Randolph Dull

    I worked for MAI in Baltimore during ’84-’84 doing PDI. I recall that if you let one sit at idle with the choke on, it better not be over leaves or high grass. Since the choke was manual, we had at least one burn up when the diverter kicked air to the CAT. The early 85s were actually late 84s with a dab of sealer to change the E to an F in the VIN stamping :) Had a lot of fun driving them to the DC auto show. I had to remove the awesome Pirellis and mount Michelins due to the crazy tastes in the US. Fun little cars.

  10. Steve Clinton

    There’s no such thing as an ‘inexpensive’ Maserati.

    Like 1
  11. Howie Mueler

    Very short description, they like the word good.

    Like 1
  12. Fast Eddie

    I can testify that this is not a car for a shade tree mechanic, like myself. They are rather brittle and need to be serviced regularly by a Maserati mechanic who knows these cars. For example, there are tiny little springs in the head that are there to filter debris before the oil goes to the cams. If they get blocked the cams will sieze up in the aluminum heads, and since there are no bushings, the head will need to be replaced.

    The control box for the anti-knock control works well, until it doesn’t. The circuit board is made of cardboard and moisture is not its friend. Parts availability is sketchy.

    However, the Biturbo (Pronounced Bee-turbo) is super fun to drive! It accelerates like a rocket ship as the turbos spool up. They handle great. I loved mine!

  13. CJinSD

    Sold for five thousand fiat dollars. This was a condition 2- price for a condition 4+/3– car with no meaningful description. There’s a train coming down the tracks being chased by a black swan.

    Like 1
  14. Paul

    Looks every other square, boring 80’s car.

  15. jwaltb

    Bring fire extinguishers!

    Like 1
  16. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Indicates that it was SOLD via Buy It Now for $5,000. But, the “buyer” was the same person who had the high bid of $3,333.
    Shill is the only explanation on this one.

    Like 1

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