1988 Maserati Biturbo Spyder i 2500
The Maserati story is a fascinating one. It is the story of a family with daring, courageous and forward thinking ideas. The story starts with Rodolfo Maserati, a railway engineer who was employed by the Italian monarchy and the father of seven sons who all had a passion for engine design and racing cars. The Maserati brothers all became involved in the automotive industry in some way or another, however, it was on the 1st of December 1914 that Alfieri, Ettore and Ernesto Maserati officially opened Alfieri Maserati Workshop in Bologna, Italy.
Maserati chose the trident logo to adorn its cars. Its design was based on the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore. The colours chosen for the logo were also the colours of Bologna, red and blue.
The business was focused on repairing, servicing and preparing cars, however, the world war cut business short and it wasn’t until 1926 that Maserati built its first car, the Tipo 26.
It was all about motorsport back then and in 1937 the Orsi family acquired ownership of Maserati which was in desperate need of financial backing to be able to survive. During the Orsi years Maserati grew from a boutique but very successful race car builder to one of the world’s leading manufacturers of hand built sports and GT cars. Orsi sold to Citroen in 1969 and subsequent owners of Maserati included the Italian State, De Tomaso, Fiat, Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler.
Maserati built its first road car in 1946 even though times were tough in post War northern Italy. The car was the Maserati A6 – where ‘A’ was for Alfieri and ‘6’ for the number of cylinders. The initial reception of the car was positive and a ‘production’ Maserati A6/1500 was then shown at the 1947 Geneva Motor Show.
This was a significant milestone in the Maserati legend and subsequent models included the A6G/2000, 3500 series cars, 5000GT, Mistral. Quattroporte, Mexico, Sebring and Ghibli. Maserati also continued to build very successful race cars that dominated tracks around the world including the 250F, 300S, 150S, 450S and the Birdcage.
Maserati built some fabulous cars during Citroen’s ownership (including the Indy, Bora, Merak and Khamsin), however, times were tough and the company struggled financially. Citroen placed Maserati into liquidation in May 1975 and it was ultimately saved by the Italian government and Alejandro de Tomaso took control shortly thereafter.
Under de Tomaso’s reign, Maserati quickly ‘de-Citroenised’ their cars and introduced the Kyalami (in 1976) and Quattroporte III (in 1979) which shared many components with the De Tomaso Longchamp and Deauville respectively.
One of de Tomaso’s key strategies was to introduce a new model that leveraged the Maserati brand but was more affordable and built in far greater numbers than all previous Maserati models. In December 1981 the Maserati Biturbo was introduced. Initially as a two door, 2+2 coupe and later, in 1983 as a saloon. The convertible, designed by Zagato, was introduced in 1984. The car was in many ways similar to BMW’s 3 series cars of that era. As the name implies, the Biturbo was powered by twin turbocharged, V6 engine of 1996cc capacity. Whilst one could argue that the Biturbo’s styling was not particularly exciting, the car’s two greatest assets were the luxurious interior and high performance. The Maserati Biturbo was well received from day one and it went on to become the most widely produced car in Maserati history. Engine size evolved from the initial 1996cc to 2491cc and ultimately 2790cc. In total 37,000 cars were built, from 1981 through until 1993. This included 3,076 Spyders, which was a production record for open topped Maseratis.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1988 Maserati Biturbo Spyder. This car is 1 of only 122 Biturbo Spyder i 2500’s built (powered by a 2491cc fuel injected version of the Biturbo engine).
This Maserati Biturbo Spyder, with an automatic gearbox, was sold new in Australia on 18th July 1988, through Maserati Australia in Sydney. The service book shows the first owner was a company by the name of Marinic Industries. The car received a 10,000 km service on the 27th of August 1990 and the mileage at that time was noted as 9,879 km. Given the limited mileage travelled during its first few years, it is most likely that the car was used for weekend trips only early in its life. In June 1996 the second owner purchased the car through Maserati Australia in Sydney. The exact mileage at the time of purchase is not known, but the next service registered in the service book notes the mileage as 38,585 km on 13th August 1997.
The car changed hands again in c2005. At that time the mileage was 47,000 km. The car was retained by its enthusiastic owner for the next 12 years and it continued to be used sparingly, averaging around 1,000 km per year.
In 2017 the car was sold to a collector on the Gold Coast, joining an eclectic collection of cars. The car was stored and not driven and in May 2018 its then owner decided to change direction with his collection and the car was sold to its current Brisbane based owner. The car was immediately sent to Maserati specialists Automotion in Enoggera for a major service. At that time almost $ 10,000 was spent on the car. The brakes were reconditioned, the leaking steering rack was repaired, a new radiator was installed, the air conditioning system was repaired & re-gassed along with other miscellaneous work. At that time the mileage was noted as 61,424 km.
Over the last three and a bit years the car has travelled almost 2,000 km and today the odometer reads 63,318 km.
Today this car presents exceptionally well. From the exterior it is hard to believe that it is almost 35 years old! The paintwork, which is most likely original, is in exceptional condition with a very high gloss finish and a strong depth of colour. All of the external trim, including the bumpers, the lights/lenses, the fog lights with Cibie covers, the wonderful front grill and Maserati trident badge are all in very good condition. The delicate slotted alloy wheels are also in good condition with no kerb rash. The wheels are shod with relatively new Michelin Energy XM2 195/60R14 tyres (date stamped 47/17) all around. The soft top looks to be original and it fits exceptionally well. Whilst it is generally in good condition it does have a split on either side of the rear window. The rear tonneau cover which clips over the soft top when lowered is present and in good condition.
Inside the cabin is indeed luxurious. The seats are incredibly plush and incredibly comfortable. The driving position is very good, though the offset pedals do take a little time to get used to. The interior of this Maserati Biturbo Spyder is in very good condition for an original car of this age. The top of the instrument binnacle has been repaired and there is some light patina evident in the leather and some of the timberwork, but there is nothing that really detracts from its overall presentation. The instruments & controls are crisp and clean, the steering wheel is in very good condition and everything looks to be in working order, except for the clock. The air conditioning blows cold air and even the heater works!
The car starts easily at the turn of the key and it initially idles at about 2,500 rpm as the car goes through its start up ritual. After a relatively short period of time as everything warms up, the idle speed drops back. So once buckled up you select “D” and off you go. So what’s this car like to drive? It is great fun and a real blast! This car is a typical 1980’s turbo and pushed hard the ‘turbine-like rush’ of power is intoxicating. Driven sedately the car is easy to drive and comfortable, particularly on the motorway and smooth roads. On a bumpy surface the car is prone to some scuttle shake, which is a characteristic of this model. Overall this car drives really well. The engine has loads of power on tap and it pulls strongly through the rev range. The automatic gearbox changes up and down smoothly, the brakes work well and the car steers directly, though we should point out the turning circle is terrible which is another foible of the Maserati Biturbo.
Under the bonnet everything is very original and the condition is totally consistent with a car that’s travelled a tick over 63,000 km. The boot looks to be have been sparingly used and is in excellent condition.
The build quality of the Maserati Biturbos was never great and as a result many of these cars have suffered and many have had hard lives. Finding one in this condition is difficult.
The Maserati Biturbo Spyders have taken off in Europe as reflected by their prices. In Australia they are still somewhat of a sleeper and quite frankly they offer a huge amount of car for the money. With unique Zagato styling, a powerful twin turbocharged V6 engine up front, a luxurious interior and of course the Maserati trident on the bonnet, these cars have to be one of the best value classic cars available today.
- Australian delivered, factory right hand drive example.
- known ownership from new, with only 5 owners.
- books, including the original service book in the Maserati leather pouch, tools and jack (unused).
- low mileage, with only 63,318 km on the odometer.
- an incredibly original car, just a real ‘time capsule’.
- Maserati Biturbo Spyder i 2500
- 63,318 km