Lot 144 - 1989 Maserati Bi-Turbo 222SE
|£15,000 - £20,000
- One of the best examples available
- Low mileage from new
There is no denying as the 1980’s arrived the name ‘Maserati’ was in a dark place, first Citroën then De Tomaso sought to raise the once great marque back into the public eye. The Bi-Turbo took the brand in a totally different direction and although it raised eyebrows among established clientele the Bi-Turbo would boost production and sold in very large numbers, especially in the States. Initially, the Pierangelo Andreani design offered just 180bhp from its all new compact 90-degree V6 with a three-valve cylinder head design. The adoption of two small turbochargers was the world’s first on a production car, as was the Torsen limited-slip rear differential. Development ensured performance would improve as capacity increased to 2.5 litres in 1985 then to 2.8 litre two years later at which time 250bhp was available. The export version enjoyed an update in 1988 with the 222E and SE, these enjoyed the high performance 2790cc unit which was retained until the Bi-Turbo was finally phased out in 1993.
This lovely example is one of the last (August 1989) export options, complete with the larger power unit and generally acknowledged to have benefitted from a much-improved build quality compared with models offered a decade previously. The vendor knows this 222SE very well having purchased the car in 2001, after which he carried out a full ‘heart and soul’ restoration including replacement wings and doors with the Ice Blue metallic expertly applied courtesy of an Aston Martin specialist. Having travelled just 1,750 miles since completion in 2004 the finish remains perfect and impossible to fault. The history file is comprehensive carrying every invoice and MoT test certificate from 2001 to date, including a £4,000 invoice from Meridien Moderna which includes all belts, water pump, coolant, brake discs and pads plus four new 7J five stud alloy rims. The Bi-Turbo returned to our client in 2019 having been kept in a controlled environment for almost a decade and covering just 44 miles since its restoration. At this time the car was appraised by a classic car publication and the tester noted ‘a total of a dozen warning lights are displayed as the ignition is engaged but once the V6 bursts into life, in theory all 12 go out; and in this case they did whilst the wonderful Maserati motor settles quickly. The ‘dog-leg’ gearbox takes some consideration, especially at junctions, as selecting normal first could result in a scare for the car behind. The performance clutch is firm and the gear change is slick allowing full use of the turbos which come in late and propel this Italian saloon with extreme enthusiasm. Our client informed us that the damp roads on a test ensured over-coming turbo lag was kept to a minimum; saying that the 222SE enjoyed uprated and lowered suspension offering minimal body roll and direct steering to complement very powerful brakes.
As pointed out in the book Dream Cars by Chris Rees the Bi-Turbo cabin was made to feel very special, Briarwood and leather dominate with Alcantara dash top considered to be ‘the cherry on the top’. In the world of interior trim, few vehicles can boast such flamboyance or attention to detail and this 222SE enjoys extras including climate control, electric windows plus a later Blaupunkt DJ31 radio cassette with CD changer control, which is somewhat made redundant thanks to the audio emitted by a custom-built stainless twin exhaust system.
Carpets are as new, protected with over mats since fitted, also the seating offers minimal wear whilst the dash veneer is dominated by the traditional ‘La Salle’ gold Swiss timepiece. Maserati’s website states just 722 of the 222SE models were built with stateside classic authority Hemmings confirming the 222 was the best Bi-Turbo model produced. We believe this example is as good as they come and welcome any inspection from enthusiasts seeking an Italian super coupé. Consigner James Good.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each Lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. All registration numbers, engine and chassis details are sourced from registration documents provided to Historics by the client or representative or HPI checks and buyers are to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of these details. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.