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Eric
08-25-2009, 04:47 PM
“Fiat”—according to an old joke—may be short for “fix it again, Tony,” but for the ultimate in distilled mechanical torture, few cars can rival this twin-turbocharged unfortunate from the skunk works of Alessandro de Tomaso.

The Biturbo coupe was one of those intended “affordable” luxury-exotics that turned out to be anything but. To quote the August 1990 issue of Road & Track:

“Mis-set carburetor float levels caused the engines to stumble during left turns, pick-up wires in the distributor cracked from the heat, water ran through cylinder sleeves, fluids leaked from faulty seals throughout the drivetrain, fuse boxes melted, and coolant temperature warning lights came on even when the engines weren’t overheating. Clutches, timing-belt tensioners, and water pumps had to be redesigned early on.”

And that’s while the cars were still under warranty. Woe to the wretch who bought a used Biturbo.

Most of the problems with the car were the result of Maserati’s low-volume operation and limited resources. Adequate time and resources to sort the cars out properly just weren’t there, and the cars left the factory in what would be considered “pre-production state” by a larger automaker. Though the basic design of the Biturbo’s 2-liter Merak-derived V-6 engine was sound, the rest of the car would viciously nickel-and-dime you to death with “little things” that would drive all but those truly devoted to its survival well and truly nuts. Many an owner was probably sorely tempted to take a ballpeen hammer to it—or leave it abandoned and idling with the windows rolled down in a seedy neighborhood—and hope for a decent settlement from the insurance company.

While later cars were somewhat better in the reliability department, it wasn’t enough to restore much-abused buyer confidence in the Maserati brand, which slinked away from the U.S. market after the 1991 model year. The company later went bankrupt, but was resuscitated once again, this time by Ferrari. 2004 saw the introduction of the first all-new Maserati model in more than ten years—the reborn Quattroporte.

There’s no mention of the old Biturbo in the current product literature.

For more, see: http://www.amazon.com/Automotive-Atr...5114803#reader

misterdecibel
08-26-2009, 01:21 AM
The Maserati 3200 GT was introduced in 1999; it was replaced by the Coupe and Spyder in 2002, which were replaced by the GranTurismo in 2007.