1989 Maserati 430

Maserati have always been a source of automotive pride in their home country of Italy, but they had a tough time in the 80s, especially in the US market. Gone was their riveting, exclusive lineup of fast sports cars from the 60s and 70s. Instead, their only cars were the huge Quattroporte sedan and Biturbo coupes and convertibles, the latter of which has a legacy reduced to a punchline on auto blogs.

There was one other alternative however: the 430, which was essentially a Biturbo with a lengthened chassis and 4-doors.

Despite looking exactly like the Biturbo, it only shares a front end, and everything past it is unique. Neither are a bad thing at all. Maserati from the 60s had always pioneered the angular wedge shape of Marcello Gandini and the 430 continues that trend, but with an 80s twist. I think it's aged just fine, and the sedan actually looks better than the Biturbo coupes and convertibles, which look too short. The length and two additional doors help balance and flesh out the shark-like snout. Things get E30 and W201-ish in the back, which again is a good thing.

Given that the Quattroporte was older and larger, the 430 was a great alternative. Inside is a classic Italian interior, with an array of exotic materials and surfaces, like the suede dashboard, wood accents and gold clock. It's gauche compared to German interiors but more modern than British ones.

The real surprise though is underneath the hood, which houses a 2790 cc turbocharged V6 OHC engine good for a whopping 225 horsepower. The only other comparable European sedans at the time would have been the 231-horspower Mercedes W126 500 and the Audi V8.

The seller says $10k has been invested into this example, including an rebuilt engine and turbochargers, which is good news for everyone except the person who spent $10k. The seller says it is nearly complete and has been driven sparingly since.

The Bitrubo cars have poor reputations, but time usually heals all wounds, right? Today, with depreciation fully set in, this thing represents a bargain sleeper. Given the nature of the engine and availability of parts however, I would recommend purchase only to people who fix their own cars or know an specialist in Italian cars.

Available here on craigslist for $4,900.

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