Junkyard Find: 1986 Maserati Biturbo Spyder

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1986 maserati biturbo spyder

Yesterday, we saw a junked Jensen Interceptor that I photographed during a trip to Los Angeles. Today, I’ll follow that up with another rare import from the same yard: a Maserati Biturbo Spyder! This is only the second Biturbo in this series, after this ’84.

I lived in Orange County during the mid-to-late 1980s, and the torrents of ill-gotten cash being sloshed around Irvine and Newport Beach during what became the the S&L Crisis (the notorious Lincoln Savings and Loan, poster child of the scandal that tarnished the reputations of John Glenn and John McCain, was headquartered a mile or so from my home at the time) resulted in an explosion of low-level scamsters buying brand-new European status cars. Most of them bought BMW E24 s or E28 s, but a significant minority went Italian and got Alfa Milanos or Maserati Biturbos.

I have a vivid 1987 memory of being at a stoplight at Jamboree and Campus in Irvine and pulling up behind a brand-new Biturbo convertible in my hooptie-ass 1968 Mercury Cyclone. I remember having Yello’s “I.T. Splash” (part of the excellent “Frank Johnson’s Favorites” compilation) on cassette at that moment. I thought the E24 was sort of a cool car at the time, though as much out of my financial reach as a Jupiter Base would be out of the reach of the Guyanese Space Program, but the sight of this top-town twin-turbocharged Maserati made me feel a deep and painful longing.

Of course, it wasn’t long before it became clear that the Biturbo was really a profoundly terrible car (the Milano turned out to look pretty good in hindsight, but maybe that’s just me), but it was a badass machine for about 18 months in S&L-looting circles.

The car I remember was blue, so this one— spotted at a wrecking yard about 35 miles away from that intersection— is a different one. The dirt and grime suggest that it sat dead in a back yard or driveway for the last couple of decades, then got junked when it became clear that even a Biturbo convertible isn’t worth restoring.

What would I have bought, had I gotten my nose in the Lincoln Savings trough in 1986? Sad to say, probably a Starion.








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  • Davew833 Davew833 on Jan 16, 2014

    There was a lot of misbegotten angst a few years ago when a "mint" '85 Biturbo with just over 18k miles was traded in on a Subaru Impreza in the Cash for Clunkers program. Apparently the owner had tried for some time to sell it with no luck before turning it in for $3500. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiORhKnwXF4

    • FreedMike FreedMike on Jan 17, 2014

      I've seen some of the videos of those cars being killed...at least the Biturbo went down quickly, I'd imagine.

  • Vtnoah Vtnoah on Jan 22, 2014

    I would love to grab a set of those seats and rehab them a bit and use them as loungers in my garage.

  • MaintenanceCosts At least on the US West Coast, Waze is perfectly happy to send cut-through drivers down residential streets or to disregard peak-hour turn or travel restrictions. I hope if it's going to be standard equipment the company starts taking a more responsible approach.
  • MaintenanceCosts I'm more curious about the effect (if any) on battery lifetime than range. Drawing current faster creates more heat and if that heat is not promptly drawn away it could affect life of the cells.I agree this sort of thing can make sense as a one-time option but is consumer-hostile as a subscription.
  • Ajla "The upgrade is permanent" 🤔Journos really should be calling out the automakers like Mercedes that are attempting to make this sort of thing subscription only because it obviously doesn't need to be."with a one-time price tag of $1,195"This also shows the poor consumer "value" of Mercedes wanting $1200 per year for a 60hp jump on the EQE350.
  • Dukeisduke Will the next owner have to pay up, too, like with Tesla? What's the starting price of the Polestar 2? I saw a clean used one listed locally the other day, and it was under $50k. I wasn't sure if that was a deal or not.
  • Buickman what about EMFs from riding on a giant battery?is there a vax for that?
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