Wednesday, March 6, 2013

10k: Top Down, Hood Up; 1989 Maserati BiTurbo Spyder 5spd; Tipo 116

The Maserati BiTurbo was one of the first twin turbo engines produced for mass consumption and could put out a respectable 150 horsepower/liter - on par with your average VW hot rod dreamer numbers.  Unfortunately the result was a turbocharger writing checks that the bottom end couldn't cash...and a pile of metal chips that will cost the owner a king's ransom at your local hairy chested gold chain wearing Maserati mechanic.  It is cheaper to buy another BiTurbo than attempt even the most basic repairs, so if your current BiTurbo's engine has gone Bi-Bi, we suggest picking up this 1989 Maserati BiTurbo Spyder equipped with 5spd gearbox, located in Sonoma, CA and offered for $9,500 via craigslist. Big thanks to tip from Kaibeezy T!

The BiTurbo was the first new offering after Alejandro de Tomaso's acquisition of Maserati in 1976 and sold 40,000 units in its 13 year production run, successful in terms of raw sales.  Out of the world wide production, only 3,076 of them were open top roadsters making them quite a rare sight on the road today.

Original sales quantity isn't the only thing making the BiTurbo a rare sight, the twin turbo V6 engine isn't
exactly known for its overstatement along the lines of "the Academy Awards are a farce
and rigged by wealthy racketeers and influence peddlers."  In 1989 the Spyder was available in 2.5 
trim putting out 188 horsepower or 2.8i putting out 225 horsepower, but the seller does not indicate 
which engine in equipped in this example. 

The leather looks surprisingly well preserved for the age, but a quick check of the odometer shows only 25k miles since new.  We can only assume that the repair shops it spent most of its life in had covered parking.

It is possible to get a 'running' BiTurbo for a lot less, but it probably won't be a Spyder and it will blow up the minute you try to drive it home.  Time magazine calls the Maserati BiTurbo the worst car of 1984 but we think a nice example could bring joy to its owner...for a while.

See another Trident equipped car for less? email us here:


  1. ~ (LSX) is the whisper i keep hearing,

  2. The fuel injected engines were much more reliable than the original carb'ed versions but being a low production Italian car there are still plenty of things to go wrong. The first order of business would be to make sure that regular maintenance has been done and that the little stuff has been taken care of otherwise you'll be chaaing a long list of repairs.

  3. This article is nothing more than a rehashing of the same misinformation that has been repeated by so-called "experts" over the years...filled with basic errors and bogus opinions.
    I won't bother to point out the factual errors contained here but simply comment that if anyone wants a fun, fast car that is no less reliable than any Italian sports car, this Spyder is a great buy...
    I've owned one for 11 years and love it on a daily basis

  4. Not a particularly attractive car, not a particularly fast or decent handling car, not a particularly reliable car, not a particularly safe car, not a particularly cheap car to insure. Well, this one checks all the boxes for me, where do I sign up?

  5. The spyder is very quick with 0-60 time in 5 second range for 89 and up, nice build quality, as far as looks a red spyder will turn heads anywhere.


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