Low-Budget Super-Sedan! 1985 Maserati Quattroporte

Here’s a face you don’t see too often:  a 1980s Maserati Quattroporte. Like most phrases, even “four-door” (quattroporte) sounds sexy in Italian, so much so that it’s rather unforgettable. This 1985 Maserati Quattroporte in coal-rich Pottstown, PA seeks a new owner wiling to pay what the seller describes as the cost of its Tipo 107 engine, $3500. Check out the listing here on eBay for more details.

A visually exciting masterpiece of motor vehicle motivation, the 4.9L (300 cid) V8 sports a quartet of two-barrel Weber carburetors and made 290 HP during a year when the Chevrolet Corvette made 230. The engine is not running but the seller scoped the internals and suggests it looks “promising” inside the combustion chambers if care is taken in its revival.

Since this is the closest picture in the listing to a view of the entire vehicle, click here for some shots of what one looks like. The California plates support the visual evidence that this Italian super-cruiser lived most of its life outside the rust belt.

Wikipedia.org shows this interior color combination in handsome original form. Oddly the Quattroporte III included reworked instrumentation from a Plymouth Horizon, a fact I would share with no one after buying one. Other Chrysler DNA includes the three-speed automatic 727 transmission, an unexciting but reliable beast that backed many a muscle car motor. If this one’s a little far gone for you, take heart; Maserati sedans from this century regularly sell under $20,000 here on eBay. Is this merely a donor engine wrapped in a large useless container, or would you rescue / update this once-fabulous sedan?


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  1. Kevin Harper

    Donor engine.

    I was looking at this earlier just for the engine. The rest I would scrap out and try to recover most of my cost

    Like 1
    • SubGothius

      Unfortunately, I gather the engine won’t swap readily into any other Maserati, as it has a model-unique bellhousing bolt pattern to mate up to the Chrysler A/T, which doesn’t match the pattern for other Masers’ manual gearboxes.

      Like 3
      • Kevin Harper

        Nope the back of the engines on V8’s are all the same. The crank has to be machined to accept a input shaft bearing, but other than that it is plug and play. In fact the back of the engines are basically a big circle, and because of that one of the easiest engine to adapt to.
        There is some variation in the engines and the HP varies from around 270 up to 360. Some of this is due to engine size they ran from a 4.2 to 4.7 and up to a 4.9. The 290 quoted in this article is actually for the 4.7 as the 4.9 in the Qporte actually made less at around 280. The reason the Qporte makes less with a bigger engine is due to emission strangulation and a drop in compression. So if you have an early car like an Indy or Ghibli you do have to change things to bring up the HP and the Ghibli was dry sumped so the pan and pickups have to change.
        Also Maserati engine parts prices are eye watering.

        Like 5
      • hypoluxa38

        The engine blocks are different at the bellhousing between automatic and manual cars. However, the manual cars use a ZF transmission that you would be lucky to find for less than $10k! So most people adapt these engines to a Getrag or Tremec trans using a custom bellhousing.

  2. Coventrycat

    That’s because it’s got a face only a mother could love. Looks like an 80’s Ford with a nose job.

    Like 5
    • SubGothius

      The nose is IMO the only thing slightly “off” about this otherwise masterful design. The rest of it is so well-proportioned that it’s hard to tell from photos just how huge it really is in person, where it comes across like a burly yet impeccably-groomed Mob enforcer wearing the most sleek and rakish designer suit you’ve ever seen — impressive, imposing, and not to be f*cked with.

      Apparently Giugiaro originally designed it with a lower, slimmer nose and more sloped hood, but DeTomaso wanted a taller prow with a bigger grille befitting its luxury-status pretensions, so Guigiaro fudged some details to satisfy his client and earn his design commission. Notice how the headlight surrounds kinda swell out, with a strip of body-color sheetmetal below them? I’m pretty sure those didn’t exist in the original, where the headlights would have sat right at bumper level and been more tightly framed — more like the later Biturbo, whose designer Andreani I’m pretty sure just copied the QPIII nose as originally proposed.

      Like 1
      • hypoluxa38

        The european model QPIIIs are much better looking. Different headlights/surrounds, and bumpers flush to the car. Luckily it’s easy to swap these parts. I’m not sure how much influence Giugiaro had on the final model, but in my opinion the production QPIII aged better than Giugiaro’s Medici concept cars.

        The US QPIIIs were pretty much ruined by the US DOT/EPA. An 80s Quattroporte has less power than a 60s Quattroporte, even with a bigger engine! The US QPIII has 4 catalytic converters, a smog pump, and milder cams. Some early cars also have the 85MPH speedometer (later cars are 200MPH).

        Like 1
    • Paul T Root

      I’m not a mother, but I always liked these. The trident on the C pilar is fantastic. Given the era, these were very good looking sedans.

    • Sunshine

      The unassuming look was part of the appeal during the 70’s and early 80’s. You did have to look twice to notice it was a Maserati, and not a European Ford Granada. It was a sleeper, and had no true competition as an European Executive Express until BMW Alpines and MB AMGs began to appear.

  3. Bultaco

    Use the engine for a crazy swap. Like into a Fiat or Alfa Spider. Or a Hudson Hornet resto mod.

    Like 1
  4. SubGothius

    I’ve read these should never be parked nose downhill, as the fuel tank mounted high in the rear can gravity-feed to the front where a tiny diaphragm or gasket leak in any of the four (!) Weber carbs can flood the engine with fuel, potentially resulting in a fire upon startup. May be a good idea to install a fuel petcock you can shut off in case you ever need to park it nose-down.

    Like 2
    • Fiete T.

      Take the Masi engine/727 out for a donor, slap a 340 or 360/727 combo in and drive it ratty….

      Like 1
  5. KenB

    FYI: Pottstown, PA, is not a coal town; you’re thinking of Pottsville!

    Like 1
  6. Joel

    There’s nothing more expensive than a cheap Maserati, unless it’s a cheap Rolls, Bentley, Ferrari…..

    Like 4
  7. Del

    Maseratis are over rated.

    No I would not buy it.

    Like 2

    sold for $3500

    Like 1
  9. Joe Elliott

    Okay; who told the author that “the Quattroporte III included reworked instrumentation from a Plymouth Horizon?”

    Very funny, but easily disproven in a world with access to Google Image Search.

    • Todd Fitch Staff

      It seems to have originated on jalopnik and also referenced by wikipedia… so it must be true! Joking aside it would be interesting to see where this story originated.Thanks for your healthy skepticism, Joe! Does anyone else have information on this claim?
      HVAC https://jalopnik.com/for-10-500-could-this-1984-maserati-quattroporte-iii-1819052261
      “Instrumentation” https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:UcmegF9SE_YJ:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maserati_Quattroporte+&cd=19&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-b-1-d

      • Joe Elliott

        While the instruments of the two cars have nothing in common, Jalopnik’s observation about the HVAC controls may have some merit; I’ve seen three different HVAC control arrangements on QP3s, and one of them (seen on late-production cars optioned with manual HVAC) does look an awful lot like the HVAC control panel on late-production (1990 only, IIRC) Plymouth Horizons, albeit with more buttons on the Maserati panel. If (and I’m totally speculating here) that version of the QP3’s manual HVAC panel was developed specifically for the USA market, maybe it’s plausible they would have gone to an American supplier that might have also been used by Chrysler??? If so, they must both be common to some other car, because there’s no way Maserati had that tiny American-looking HVAC control panel designed specifically for a mid-life change to the QPIII–it almost had to have been borrowed from somewhere else, but I’ve seen it in the Quattroporte as far back as at least 1986, but only in 1990 Horizons.

      • hypoluxa38

        Yes, the HVAC controls in the US-spec QPIII’s is another reason to buy a European model. I’m sure it was pulled from some awful K-car or something. I have had a few QPIII’s and this part is always broken, or the leather surround is falling off. I would guess some part of the DOT/NHTSA code made Maserati change the system for US import.

      • Joe Elliott

        A regulatory reason certainly seems less silly than an “American cars never have rotating knobs for climate control so Americans must not like knobs” product planning decision. But the truth may be only slightly less silly—I’m aware of only one pertinent regulation—the one saying that you have to have a clearly labeled Defrost mode. Is it really possible that Maserati was unaware of the loophole used by other European manufacturers??? (You can show compliance merely by adding a little pictogram of the correct knob positions for max defrost.)

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