The 'Biturbo era' can probably best be described as the nadir of Maserati's history. During this period in the eighties, Maserati manufactured over 38,000 small, angular coupes. Whilst this was more than the rest of their production history added together, this sales success did nothing for the illustrious marque. The Biturbos were badly built, skittish to drive and depreciated terribly. Realising that something needed to be done, Maserati retained the Spyder version and ditched the Biturbo coupe in favour of a new model, the Ghibli.
This reprised a famous 1966 Maserati model name and while the underpinnings were derived from the Biturbo, the sheet metal was all new. After being sold for a year in Italy, the car was first imported to the UK in 1993. It was powered by a 2.8-litre 32-valve V6 previously seen in the 222 4v and the 430 4V versions of the Biturbo. 1995 saw the introduction of Bosch anti lock brakes and 17-inch wheels, this model occasionally being referred to by cognoscenti as the Ghibli ABS.
The axle from the Quattroporte saloon - in turn borrowed from Ferrari's 456 - was introduced in 1996 and a Getrag six-speed gearbox was also fitted, with the option of an automatic box. Mille Miglia wheels were standard. This version was dubbed the Ghibli GT and the easiest way to spot one is to inspect the headlamps. The backing for the 'ABS' cars is silver while the Ghibli GT sports black housings. This model was sold alongside the very rare 'Open Cup' race replica. The Open Cup was powered by a 2.0-litre engine developing some 306bhp and was homologated to race in a 1995 series that was replicated in 1996. For £48,000, you could buy the car and an additional £9,000 covered your entry into the races. Fiat pulled the plug on the 1996 series on financial grounds. A limited edition Ghibli Primatist special edition with the 306bhp 'four' was offered shortly afterwards.
The good news was that Maserati produced a 330bhp Ghibli Cup road car that has gone on to become very much the pick off the litter. With five spoke Speedline alloys, Brembo brakes and a more restrained interior treatment, the Cup was a moderate success with 26 being sold. Priced at £47,500, the Cup wasn't cheap but conditioned the market for the forthcoming 3200GT.