When Alejandro de Tomaso acquired Maserati in 1976, he had ambitious plans for the marque. His plan was to combine the prestige of the Maserati brand with a sports car that would be more affordable, replacing the higher-priced models that had traditionally made up the Maserati range, such as the Bora and Khamsin which were developed under Citroën ownership.
The Biturbo two-door coupé was initially a strong seller and brought Italian prestige to a wide audience, with sales of about 40,000 units, but sales figures fell in subsequent years.
Its final fling came in 1992, with the reveal of the Ghibli BiTurbo at the Bologna Motor Show. The Ghibli was powered by updated 24-valve twin-turbocharged engines, the flagship of which was a 2.8-litre V6 built for luxury as well as performance, with Connolly leather upholstery and burr elm trimmings.
At the 1994 Geneva Motor Show, Maserati launched an updated Ghibli. A refreshed interior, new wing mirrors, wider and larger 17-inch alloy wheels of a new design, fully adjustable electronic suspension and ABS brakes were added, along with a Getrag six-speed gearbox or four-speed auto, which is what we have here.
This example was originally supplied to Japan, despite being left-hand-drive in a right-hand-drive market. The reason is one of status – a LHD car in Japan is an owner’s way of saying they choose to drive rather than be driven, but can still alight kerbside.
It was imported into the UK in 2019 and has had two owners since.
There’s not much history with M264YRN other than a book pack and handbook and its most recent UK MOTs, most likely due to its imported status. It does, however, have all the hallmarks of a car that has been loved.
The car spent the first 24 years of its life in Japan and little is known of its background until it was imported by a specialist in 2019.
The vendor bought the car last year, primarily as a trip down Memory Lane as he owned one brand new in the 1990s and wanted to revisit his youth. Having got that out of his system he’s selling it and a few other cars to fund the purchase of a new toy.
The Ghibli comes with a beautiful suede document wallet that really shows the attention to detail that Maserati paid in making its cars feel special. Inside are an owners’ handbook, believed to be the original, and a service book that is new and completely unstamped, which was sourced by the importer to go with it.
There are two old MOTs, the current one valid until November 2021, and a UK V5C in the name of the current keeper, showing a previous UK owner and declaring that the car was imported in 2019.
The Ghibli was the culmination of three different restylings by ex-Lamborghini designer Marcelo Gandini and was the last iteration of the classic boxy BiTurbo look.
The wide arches and narrow middle echo the look of the Lancia Delta HF Turbo Integrale, which was no coincidence as Gandini had previously worked on the Delta S4 during his time with Giugiaro Design.
It looks amazing in metallic blue, its narrow headlamps and jacked-up rear giving it a real sense of purpose. Yes, it’s boxy. But it’s also very, very cool.
The car was imported from Japan where roads aren’t salted and where roadworthiness rules are much stricter than they are in the UK, so it’s no surprise that there is no visible corrosion, while what we could see of the car’s underneath looked perfectly solid – something backed up by its two UK MOT tests.
If the outside of this car looks amazing, then wait until you take a look inside. The cabin is wonderful.
The tan leather seats are hand-stitched and are coloured in such a way that it looks like Steven Spielberg’s ET was sacrificed in order to make the interior, a look that is echoed by the shape of the seats.
We’re pretty sure they’re not alien leather, but what they most definitely are is beautiful. The quality is superb, the essence of style over function being something that only an Italian car could pull off. It’s a wonderful ambience.
The tan leather is complemented by gorgeous tweed-style carpets and burr elm veneers, with a gorgeous ellipsoid Maserati clock the centrepiece of the dash. This is a car that’s all about style. The interior is the very essence of that. There are few car interiors more beguiling than this – it’s a wonderful GT and a truly special place to sit.
Under the bonnet, the work of art continues. The 2.8-litre twin turbo V6 is as much about style as it is engineering, as evidenced by the red crackle-finish rocker covers and stylised Maserati script across them.
Only the Italians could pay as much attention to the aesthetic appeal of an engine as they could the rest of the car.
The 24v twin turbo unit fires up on the button and idles smoothly. The 284bhp unit delivers a 0-60 time of just six seconds, with a top speed electronically limited to 155mph.
The vendor reports that it drives perfectly, with no running problems and that the gearbox works just fine. It had new shock absorbers and suspension bushes at the last MOT.
Okay, so the Ghibli isn’t an obvious choice of thoroughbred classic, but it’s a very cool and left field choice. It’s rare, too. In this spec, they only made a handful over 1,000 and very few of them reached the UK.
This one is lovely. The colour scheme is superb, it’s in great mechanical health and it looks truly stunning both inside and out.
It’s seriously cool as well as having amazing performance, and as for that interior? Well… wow. Just wow.
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