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Help me decide on a car

726 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  bianchi2
well I registered here because I saw that there seemed to be decent amount of info on Maserati Biturbos and I was thinking seriously about getting one. But I am thankfully having second thoughts and now I am trying to decide what I do want. I have not omitted the biturbo yet though. This post isn't only about Alfas but it is in part so sorry if I put it in the wrong place.

regarding my initial enthusiasm for the Biturbo
I know this is a terrible idea and obviously it would not be a DD (that would be even a worse idea then owning one to begin with!). Im going to keep my saab for a DD.

If it is running decently, I would probably autocross it. And aside from that, I would use it for the occasional weekend drive.

Just wondering if anyone on here has experience owning one and doing DIY work on it. Obviously I don't want to be paying Ferrari of Denver when the car needs work. My goal is to do everything myself and learn in the process. From what I can see there are a somewhat decent amout of parts available for decent prices on ebay. The main fear I suppose is if I have to ever rebuild the turbos or engine.

I found one for sale. It has 36k miles on it and he says it 'runs great.' Its an 1987 and my understanding is that if the car has not be abused, by 1987 they had gotten many of the kinks worked out. The interior is not great, but it is acceptable, the exterior seems pretty decent. He is asking 3k for it in the add but in an email he told me he would take 2k. It is from the Southwest so rust is not as much of an issue.

If I go through with this, it will probably be the most extreme love hate relationship I have ever been in, and at least I realize that but hey, its a 2.7l V6 with two turbos

I know many of you will tell me to RUN. What I am hoping for is someone who has some actual experience or at least knows someone who has owned one. My understanding is that by 1987, the reputation of these cars had been ruined but many of the problems had finally been sorted out.

Having given more thought and having posted this on a biturbo discussion board, here is one response I got:

Do You have an inside place to work on the car?
> This is not a Saab though many a sob story have originated with these cars ...
> You WILL dispose of your income on this car unless you pick up a near perfect one. ROTFLMAO
> The typical Biturbo for sale:
> 1. It's usually for sale for a very good reason. If it was mostly good the current owner would be enjoying it. Not always but usually.
> 2. It's had more owners than a *****house bastard has potential fathers.
> 3. Very few of those fathers knew what they were doing with the car. They just got hot one night and made a huge mistake. After the initial "investment" making that mistake they become disenchanted with it and spend precious little further effort fixing it or maintaining it.
> Folks on here don't fall into that category which is why you're here. Good move.
> It's not that these were such terrible cars as much as it's that the first two years of production did have legitimate issues but they are correctable and those can be quite lovely cars. The change to FI is not quite the panacea that some would have you believe. Many issues are not related to carbs or FI. These cars were introduced badly and the support from Maserati ended up being a legendary mess. At that time Maserati didn't have the resources to launch such a car but they tried it anyway.
> If you can find one that hasn't been abused to near death you are fortunate.
> Then you can begin to turn it into a fun toy.
> It will be work, frustrating at times and expensive frequently. Mostly with your time.
> There is a lot of good information on here and people who can help.
> I did stupid things like this when I was your age too. In my Junior year at college I nearly froze to death driving home for thanksgiving in the pouring rain on my motorcycle. So I bought a 39 Plymouth that had been sitting for 20 years. Got it running and then had to rebuild the engine the following Christmas. Just naturally stupid I guess. But I had fun! Do it while you're young.
> The Biturbo is a lot harder and more expensive to work on than a 39 Plymouth was back then.
here is my response (and also to provide further discussion here):

Thanks for your informative ripely. After sitting for a while and thinking about it, I am less sure I want one then I was. Also, I do not have an inside place I can leave the car. My mom has a garage I can temporarily work on it inside but I cannot leave it there. The reasons I want one are (in order of importance)

1) I want something with is unique, handles well, relatively fast, quirky and fun to drive.

2) I want something I can autocross that is not my DD

3) I want a cheap project car that I can learn to work a wrench on.

4) I want to be able to say (mostly if it is only to myself) that I own a Maserati. I remember when I was 13 we went to Italy. A part of my family choosing to go there was my interest in cars. We Visited Marinello of course among the other sight seeing locations. I remember seeing Biturbos around and thinking they were really neat. Of course I would still rather have a ferrari but I am also realistic (perhaps).

I do have the time, but I do not have much extra money. To clarify, is it monetarily expensive or just time consuming?

To further the discussion, here is a list of other cars I would realistically consider, in order of current interest (the reasons for my interest in these cars are not necessarily the same as for the Maserati):

1)'80s Saab 900 turbo, preferably the SPG. I would probably get it somewhat 'race ready'. Tune the hell of the engine and the suspension and defiantly autocross it. maybe even replace my DD.

2)Alfa Romeo Milano or GTV6. It seems like a good project car and with a few upgrades can be quite a good handling, somewhat fast car. Would defiantly Autocross it. I want this car for many of the same reasons I would want a Biturbo. My mom had a spider that I got to drive briefly before she sold it (because it was too unreliable) and I loved the feel of the car. Her complaints were that it had a bunch of little things go wrong but nothing big and it smelled like gasoline. Both of which I could put up with, especially since I plan on doing the work on it myself. Did the Milano ever come to the States with a turbo? If so, do I want to stay away from the trubo or is it not too problematic? Which car between the two (GTV6 or Milano) is cheaper to maintain? Which is a better driving car?

3)Porsche 944. The trouble is that I do not have enough money for a turbo version and a non-turbo seems way too slow. The handling on this car is quite appealing to me. Turbo or not, I would autocross it.

4) Volvo 1800. I just love the way these look! This car would be a huge project for me and I would probably restore/rod/mod the hell out of it (maybe LSx engine swap). Probably would not autocross it so I would need to get wheels and tires for my saab.

5) Volvo 142. Same as 1800, maybe not modded as much. Maybe I would autocross it too..

6) 80s or earlier BMW. I have owned an E30 before and would not mind going back. or Maybe a 535i would be cool. I would keep it probably mostly stock but defiantly tuned, but who knows, maybe I would throw a turbo on it or something. Nice solid car with great handling and reliable. Also easy to work on. May replace my dd.

Any input you guys have would be great, :cool:
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I'm sure the Maserati guys will give you the most accurate advice on the Biturbo. My take has always been that Ferrari parts prices and Fiat build quality do not a happy ownership experience make.

Cheapest/easiest entry into Alfas is probably a Spider. The '82-'90 models can be purchased for reasonable money, have nice reliable Bosch fuel injection, and are reasonably straightforward to wrench on. A sorted Spider can be a nice reliable daily driver (though I still wouldn't recommend one to someone without mechanical skills).

The Milano's a great car, but definitely more mechanically complex than the Spider with more things to go wrong. That being said I drive mine every day and love it.

Despite being essentially the same car, the Milano and GTV-6 drive surprisingly differently. Maybe it's the Milano power steering. Anyway, many folks (myself included) find the Milano to be the better driving car. Try them both and see what you think.
the tail of the car can get really happy in 'on-boost'corners, white knukle times ahead... :):) try that in the rain... but they are very pretty cars..
also the headers tend to crack.. freind of mine, mike s. and his father used to own 'john's'automotive here in sacto.. they replaced alot of headers on those cars..
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