Dan Neil says the Maserati Biturbo is one of the worst 50 cars of all time, but I still see Biturbos in the junkyard every year or so. This probably means that Biturbo owners cling to their dead, hopeless project cars for decades before reality— in the form of angry landlords and/or spouses and/or homeowners’ associations— summons the tow truck.
No discussion of a Maserati is permitted without reference to the “my Maserati goes 185″ Joe walsh song, so let’s get that out of the way.
The Biturbo couldn’t go 185, or even close to it. The factory claimed a respectable-for-1984 134 MPH top speed, no doubt using the same math that led the LAPD to claim that Rodney King’s first-gen Hyundai Excel reached 115 on the Foothill Freeway.
But still, it had a beautiful leather and big Maserati badges that told mid-80s businessmen that you’d made it (i.e., you’d skimmed a middling quantity of cash in a “dead horses for dead cows” loan swap involving Lincoln Savings and Loan). I was a college student in the S&L-scam nexus of Orange County, California, during the Biturbo’s heyday, and I recall seeing plenty of these things cruising Newport Beach. Then… they were all gone. The economy slowed down, the FSLIC hammered the many hundreds of crooked S&Ls, and Biturbo owners could no longer afford to pay Tony to fix it again.
A big part of the problem with the Biturbo, apart from the terrible build quality, was the blow-through carburetor fuel-delivery system. Even super-penny-pinching Chrysler was using electronic fuel injection on their turbocharged cars by 1984.
I’m not sure if this is a clock or a lap timer, but I had to have it. We’ll resume the Name That Car Clock series very soon, I promise.