The Biturbo range represents one of the most fascinating and intriguingly granular episodes in Maserati’s history.
Built between 1981-94, this dynasty had a huge number of different names and variants – initially marketed simply as the Biturbo, it variously became the 222, 2.24v, Racing, 420, 425, 430, 422, 4.24v, 4.18v, 228… plus there were all the spec changes, and Spyder versions, and the slightly shorter Karif – all essentially the same car.
They’re all hugely entertaining machines – this was the first ever production car to have twin turbos, which boosted a deep-lunged 2.0-litre V6 in early variants. Later models received larger engines, and it’s one such example we have here today.
The Biturbo Spyder was designed and built by Zagato in Milan, on the same short chassis used by the Karif; at launch these convertibles were offered with a 2.0-litre engine or a 2.5 for export, and a significant facelift in 1989 created the model we see here, known colloquially as a ‘Spyder i 1990’.
Chief among the upgrades were chunkier bumpers, aero mirrors, a rounded grille, and 15” wheels – but the big story was the engine, the export-spec motor being enlarged to a full-fat 2.8-litres. With those twin turbos spooling away, it was good for a hair-raising 250bhp.
This is a model that really benefits from specialist care, and it’s evident from the extensive documentation file that this is exactly what the car has always enjoyed.
The current owner bought the Maserati a number of years ago in the knowledge that it needed work here and there, and proceeded to spend in excess of £25,000 on the bodywork and engine. With a full bare-metal repaint and extensive mechanical overhaul, it’s an impressive example.
However, the owner has decided to sell simply because they spend much of their time sailing around the world, and simply aren’t using the Maserati very often – it’s currently held at a storage facility in Kent, where it’s been for the last four years, the operators of which are selling the car on the owner’s behalf. Kept in dry storage, it’s only been exercised on dry and sunny days in recent years, and is more than ready for a fresh set of adventures with a new keeper.
This car comes with a mountain of paperwork, some choice highlights of which you can see below in the photographs.
The original bill of sale from 1989 is here, and most reassuringly there’s a sheaf of invoices from McGrath Maserati in 2018, detailing the extensive works that were carried out in terms of bodywork prep, wheel refurbishment, supplying and fitting a very long list of engine and chassis parts, and custom-making a new soft-top.
We also find invoices from Classic Workshop in Headcorn in 2020 for a full body restoration and bare-metal repaint.
The cabin of this Maserati is original and unrestored, and its condition is very much in-keeping with the car’s low mileage. The leather of the front seats and centre armrest is beginning to crack and wear with age, as is to be expected, but it’s all complete.
All of the wood trim is present and correct and in good condition; the door cards are good, and the all-important Maserati dash clock is in place. The carpets could do with a clean, but they’re all intact. Part of the recent works included installing a DAB aerial, modern audio and USB connectivity. We’re assured that everything in the interior is working correctly.
The bodywork and restoration has been done to a high standard, and the fresh red paint positively gleams. Every panel is straight and free from scuffs, scrapes or dings, and they all hang true with even gaps. The only really noteworthy aesthetic blemish here is a 5p-sized bubble in the paint.
All of the original plastic trim is in place, in good condition throughout, and the chromework and polished metal elements all appear to be good with no pitting or major wear and just the minor scuffs you’d expect after 32 years.
The wheels were professionally refurbished in 2018 and still look superb today; they wear matching Toyo Proxes T1-R tyres with plenty of tread. The manual convertible roof was newly crafted by McGrath Maserati in 2018, and is in extremely good order. (n.b. the seller points out that they hadn’t folded the roof down correctly in the photos, and it does actually fully fold down into the boot as it should, and has a leather tonneau cover.)
It’s an impressive mechanical package in this car, with the all-aluminium 2.8-litre V6 engine boosted by a pair of IHI turbochargers.
With fuel injection and three valves per cylinder, it’s a cunning little unit, and a peak output of 250bhp was a pretty wild figure in 1989. This is mated to a 5-speed ZF manual gearbox, and the performance is vivid and exhilarating.
The car passed its MOT with no advisories very recently, and its curator assures us that it drives just as one would expect, with no notable issues presenting themselves.
This really is an attractive proposition indeed. The Biturbo family is an iconic design totem in Maserati’s history which has become increasingly desirable in recent years.
It’s no secret that the quality of examples on the market can vary wildly depending on how they’ve been looked after, but this particular example is a rare find: a Biturbo Spyder with a huge amount of history, correctly looked after, which has had a frankly eye-watering amount of money spent on it to get it mechanically correct and aesthetically stunning.
Given the level of recent investment in this car, its sale price in this auction is bound to represent extraordinary value for money.
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