1989 Maserati BiTurbo Spyder

I have been collecting Maseratis for over 35 years but had mainly avoided the "BiTurbo era" since to be frank, I found the cars not too interesting and they have a terrible reputation in the USA. That is ... until now.

The Car Nut

First, a little history lesson. In the late 1960's Maserati was acquired by Citroen. For a few years Maserati enjoyed an influx of cash and cars such as the Bora and Khamsin were developed. Unfortunately then came the oil crisis and Citroen was taken over by Peugeot, who wanted nothing of Maserati. In to the "rescue" came Alejandro DeTomaso who got the Italian government to give him money to keep Maserati alive. DeTomaso complete changed the direction of Maserati, from being a brand of limited production expensive sports cars to that of a volume producer of mid-priced cars. The idea might have worked but to compete with the likes of BMW and Porsche you need a reliable car and a dealer network that can maintain those cars. Maserati introduced a "half baked" car which still needed a few years of development, into a market it was not ready to service them. The results were catastrophic, especially in the USA. The original carburetor setup was unreliable, cams would seize due to improper oiling, many electrical problems ... and the list goes on and on. Bottom line is that repairs costs and lawsuits were costing Maserati way too much money to justify staying in the USA market and by 1992 Maserati closed its USA operations.

With that introduction you might ask, why on earth would I want to get a BiTurbo spyder! As it turns out the cars did have many problems but most were worked out over the years. One big improvement was switching to fuel injection in 1987 which eliminated many of the fuel issues. 1989 saw many additional improvements in what is now referred to the "5 bolt wheel cars". On the spyder the body was softened with rounder edges, engine displacement was increased to 2.8 liters, brakes and differential were improved and the car overall got a more luxuries look. Maserati continued importing the spyders in 1990 and 1991 but some genius at Maserati decided that the USA would only get mostly cars with automatic transmissions! This makes the 1989 model, with its ZF 5-speed gearbox, the one to get. Not that many 1989 models were imported since Maserati already had a terrible reputation, making it a rare model in the USA. I had been looking for a 1989 spyder for some time, and I preferred one that was not red.

This particular spyder came from an enthusiast that was planning on making it a track car. He had invested in a set of very nice and expensive coilovers that had yet to be installed. Although the car had some issues for lack of use it was very accurately represented and ideal for what I wanted. The body is in very good condition and the engine has good compression and has not been altered. I wanted to learn about BiTurbos without having get involved with a full restoration. I would have preferred a fully sorted out 1989 spyder but finding one of those is practically impossible in the USA. In the end this car was perfect for me! Now that the car has been sorted out, I am very pleased.

The list of all I have done is very long. New timing belt and bearing, new tires, repaired the air conditioner, replaced tyhe fuse box, added extra relays to avoid damaging teh new fuse box, cooling system flushed, timing sensors adjusted, Bluetooth radio with backup camera, Injection monitoring system installed, and much more. Needless to say I've learn a lot about the fuel injected BiTurbos. My mentor has been Alexis Pavlov who developed the Biturbo Injection Monitoring tool which you can see mounted on one of the AC vents. Great tool to help debug the electronic ignition system. This guy is a walking encyclopedia of anything BiTurbo related!

I purchased this car in 2018 and once it was sorted out it has been very reliable and is a blast to drive!

This 1989 BiTurbo spyder stands as a testament of what the fate of Maserati could have been had this been the car they introduced in 1984.

I've recently purchsaed two cars and hate to see this car go, but I do need the space and I've had my fun with this car.


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