Bye-Turbo: 1987 Maserati Biturbo Spyder w/ Ford V8

By Matt — Living with a Maserati Biturbo is to us in this small circle of obscure cars as carving your own blowfish is to amateur home chefs; something your primal instincts tell you to try but your friends and better judgement both say ‘no’. On paper, how could two turbos on a multivalve Italian V6 in a relatively light, rear drive chassis possibly go wrong? And then, sitting Indian-style on the side of the road in the rain, head in your hands as the fire department is hosing down the last of the smoldering, molten copper and plastic, you mumble aloud “fine…they were right”. Let’s let the others learn that lesson for us while we buy small-block-Ford swapped examples like this 1987 Maserati Biturbo Spyder on L.A. craigslist for $3,000.

From the outside, this Biturbo is wildly attractive in a skeezy kind of way that you’d never personally want to be described as. The wonderfully garish gilded center 3-piece BBS’s, interesting proportions, and awkward stance would make anyone swing by Goodwill on the way home and grab a handful of gold chains and a navy-buttoned sport coat to wear…shirtless.

The Biturbo’s 90 degree, odd-fire V6 was familiar to the Merak and Citroen SM but it seemed to work a bit better when it wasn’t forcefully blown into. The motor’s hard bits were fairly solid but the complexity – particularly the parts that current flows through – was too much for the maintenance budget of those in the market for fully depreciated European cars. When motors succumbed to seized camshafts or frozen turbochargers, folks would jam small (or big) block whatevers inside of them. Lord knows what kind of surprises await the buyer pertaining to the install but I spy guides on the plug wires and an aluminum radiator. In the small block swap world, that’s meticulous attention to detail!

The interior is expectedly crunchy but looks redeemable. Kudos to the installer for keeping the big glossy tree shift knob instead of going the B&M route.

See a better way to go NA?

Matt, a self-proclaimed bottom-feeder of the classic car market,
spends half of his time buying cars, half of his time retrieving them,
and the remaining third on keeping them on the road.