Crapwagon Outtake: 1984 Maserati Biturbo

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
crapwagon outtake 1984 maserati biturbo

This 1984 Maserati Biturbo is the gas station sushi of the automotive world: It sounds like a bargain, but it’s quite possibly the worst idea ever.

I’ll admit, my automotive tastes are varied and odd. While I drive a sensible, reliable minivan, I lust after oddball wagons and pedestrian cars made from unobtainable parts. I often check West Coast Craigslists for old Peugeots — Portland is lousy with them for some reason — that I could fly out and drive home three thousand miles.

Then I stumble upon some truly odd stuff. What could be more “Crapwagon” than an exotic Italian sports sedan sold at an East Philly used car lot that shouts on Autotrader that “EVERYONE IS APPROVED! WALK IN, DRIVE OUT!”

The car still has a Bensi Box anti theft device for the Clarion head unit, fer chrissakes.

In theory, the Biturbo should be a great sports sedan, ranking with the contemporary E30 M3 in performance and collectability. The 185 horsepower out of an exotic twin-turbocharged V-6 sounds pretty stout for the time. Then you look below the steering wheel and notice the choke lever. Yeah, this “exotic” was still sucking the boost through a Weber carburetor in 1984.

The interior is remarkably plush for a down-market car. The wood and leather would not look out of place in a Jaguar or Bentley, though the butterscotch color is not particularly elegant. With fewer than 25 thousand miles on the odometer, the car is basically new. Though knowing period Italian reliability, most of the last thirty years were likely spent broken in the garage, or sitting at a dealer waiting on parts.

I’m a masochist — see above about Peugeot, or my desire to drive a Caterham despite my linebacker frame — but even I have limits, and this one is well beyond.

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  • Russycle Russycle on Nov 13, 2015

    Always thought these were cool, and the that butterscotch interior looks yummy. But carbs and twin turbos? I'll be seeing this in my nightmares tonight.

  • SilverCoupe SilverCoupe on Nov 14, 2015

    I actually street raced one of these in Northeast Philly back around '84 in my new '84 Chrysler Laser Turbo. Who knows, it may have been the exact same Maserati. Though I had previously beaten a Mustang with that car, the Biturbo pulled away from me. Of course, I had expected that before we raced, he had about 45 horsepower on me. I just wanted to see the Maserati go! I gave him a thumbs up at the next stop light for the fun of the race, but he apparently thought I was giving him the finger.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?
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