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.

  • Bullnuke It may be awhile before these show up on US shores. The MV Fremantle Highway has just started demo/reconstruction in Rotterdam after the large fire when transporting its last shipment of electric Porsche products.
  • Fie on Fiasler Big, fast and thirsty does not equal good. True luxury is not cobbled together by the UAW.
  • Inside Looking Out I see it as gladiator races - only one survives in virtual world.
  • Crown They need to put the EcoDiesel back in the Grand Cherokee. I have a 2018 and it has been the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. 69,000 miles and only needed tires, and regular oil and fuel filter changes.
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