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Value that is! This prestigious Italian offers some of the cheapest supercars around and here’s our wise buys, starting for less than £10,000…

VALUES £1000-£9000

Looking quite like a posher E30 BMW 3 Series that was made at the time, the Biturbo range was introduced during the de Tomaso era and was developed in a rush to get a more affordable Maserati on to the market in 1981.

Sadly, this soon resulted in poor build quality and underdevelopment manifesting in very suspect handling from this 180bhp rear-wheel drive saloon, especially when the twin turbochargers, feeding a rather exotic 28-valve fourcam V6 kicked in. When the four-door 425 saloon arrived in 1983, 2.5-litres and 192bhp made the drive even more thrilling, let alone the last cars which served up 241bhp. To broaden appeal a Spyder convertible was introduced in 1984 and the right-hand drive Biturbo II arrived for ’86. Spin-offs of the original design include the Karif, Ghibli and a monster V8 derivative called the Shamal.

The later the car, the better it became although restoration costs are huge and there’s many duffers around as a result. Rust is the main worry, engines cost five figures to overhaul (let alone the turbos), suspensions rot out and typically the electrics are a nightmare.

But despite all this, if you find a good one, you’ll have a shockingly exciting sports saloon for pennies.

3200 & 4000GT
VALUES £9000-£35,000

Without doubt we reckon these are the Masers with the most and not simply in financial terms. The 3200GT was introduced in 1998 under Maserati’s current custodian Fiat, and that means a lot of help and DNA from Ferrari! And it sure shows. The 3200GT was right from the word go and indeed some say it’s as good as any rival Prancing Horse yet perhaps not as flash or showy plus this GT is a genuine 2+2 and a whole lot cheaper to buy than a similar Ferrari.

If you like a manual gearbox (six-speeds, too), then it has to be the 3200GT because the 4.2-litre V8 – a fully fledged 390bhp Ferrari engine no less – came only as a semi-auto albeit with paddle-shift manual facility. A Spyder version, shorter by 22cm, was introduced in 2001 and a hard core 180mph GranSport in 2004.

Despite being an auto choice, the 4200 (simply known as Coupé) is the wisest buy as a lot of the earlier 3200GT’s glitches (and there were several) were fixed by Ferrari while the transmission became rear-mounted at the same time to aid handling.

These Masers are such marvellous value; even a good 3200GT via a specialist is unlikely to cost more than £11,000 while conventional dealer trade prices ‘book’ the 4200 for only £1000 more – what bargains! A warranty is advisable as problems can manifest themselves in a big financial way. Biggest worry isn’t rust nor even dodgy electrics (although the LED lamps can play up) but crank thrust washers – just like a Triumph TR! The main worries are seizing brakes (mainly due to lack of use), suspension joint deterioration and rapid clutch wear – another reason to opt for auto?

Make no mistake, this Maserati is a modern classic that’s more distinctive than a rival Aston Martin DB7 and arguably better value, too.

VALUES £6000-£28,000

Remember that famous Top Gear Challenge when the three likely lads had to buy a supercar for less than ten grand? Well, the Merak was JC’s mount and the first to fall by the wayside… But like all spendthrift supercars you get what you pay for, and good Meraks sell for three times as much.

Launched as cheaper take on the mid-engined Bora, and with Citroën SM running gear (the engine is Maserati-designed before Citroën bought the company) in 1974, some 1800 were made.

Not particularly fast due to the car’s weight, while the Citroën hydraulically-powered running gear takes some getting used to, the car could be one of the best buys of all as prices are already on the rise. The usual problems of rust, Citroën hydraulics and expensive repairs are never far away but the Merak is a genuine supercar of note.

VALUES £2000-£38,000

Who else but the Italians can make a four-door saloon sound sexy – because that’s essentially what the Quattroporte stands for. Introduced in 1963, the fi rst two generations are already classics so we’ll start our search with the Quattroporte III of 35 years ago, which doesn’t look unlike a bigger Biturbo. Powered by a meaty V8 5-litre, good for 280bhp, it’s not as rapid as the spec suggests, but these cars were always designed as Latin limos; not as comfy as a Roller but a lot more fun. To our minds the best of the lot is the latest Quattroporte V and you can read why in a dedicated buying guide found elsewhere in this issue. But you can’t ignore the sheer value of the earlier ‘QIII’ where you’d struggle to pay much more than ten grand for a top car. Projects kick off for around £2000 and, given the price and scarcity of parts, it may be a wise move to buy a basket just for the bits that it donates when the time comes.

VALUES £5000-£16,000

This car was originally a de Tomaso Longchamp but after his take over of Maserati, realigned it as the Kyalami in 1976. With a 4.2 V8, good for 260bhp, it looked a promising supercar but a road test by Motor slated it for sheer indifference and mediocre driving standards for a £21,000 price tag which was dearer than an Aston Martin V8 at the time. Now you can pick this coupé up for less than £15,000 – the trouble will be finding one and the parts.


To coin a cliché of this great sporting marque, Maserati has endured a chequered history since it was founded by six brothers: Alfieri, Enesto, Ettore, Bindo, Carlo and Mario. Always playing second fiddle to great rival Ferrari, it’s ironic that they are now blood brothers under the Fiat banner.

It was racer and engineer Alfieri who started it all by opening up a garage in 1914 and he designed the first modern spark plug. After his death in 1932, the brothers took over at the helm but the company was bought by the huge industrial group Orsi in 1937 and moved to Modena.

Over the years Maserati employees became a bit of a ‘who’s who’ with several famous names coming and going. Ostensibly, Maserati was a renowned racing company and didn’t dabble with production cars until after WW2. A famous GP constructor, its last victory came in 1967, a year before the company was acquired by Citroën in 1968 – the tie up resulting in the SM. However, Citroën was itself in dire trouble yet again in its history, and had to be purchased by Peugeot in 1974 to save it, a year before Maserati fell into administration. The company was acquired by Alejandro de Tomaso in 1975 before it was purchased by Fiat almost 20 years later who relaunched the brand with great success, so far.

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