If I asked a random sampling of my audience to recollect one of their most memorable dreams, I’d likely hear something extremely outlandish, proving that only something truly shocking will make it into your memory banks. Having said that, this crazy cheap Maserati proves that the same concept applies to cars, as it could be the craziest damn experience you can get for the money.
This 2002 Maserati Spyder isn’t the best looking Maserati ever made, if I’m honest. Its looks blend late ‘90s malaise with general Italian indifference, resulting in an aesthetic resembling both a first-gen Mazda Miata and the business end of a early Chrysler 300C. Yet somehow, through the lens and maturing effect of time, it works. It’s certainly a handsome car, and being hand-built and Italian doesn’t hurt the package in the slightest.
In fact, I’d wager that this Maserati would be quite a bit different than most other Spyders roaming around your neck of the woods because of its installed third pedal. That’s right, this car, equipped with a 4.2 liter, 385-hp Ferrari V8, was graciously adorned with a manual six speed transmission, which means no ridiculous Cambiocorsa crap and no expensive repair bills for premature failure on that front.
For a price that rivals that of a Nissan Versa, I’m not sure you could get anything approaching this sort of awesome anywhere else on the market.
However, no car is perfect, and there is a reason why this car, which would usually be priced at more than $25,000, is almost half that price.
At one point in the car’s life, it was written off as flood damaged, which means that flood waters damaged the car to such an extent that insurance took one look at it and said “Fuck it.”
The car’s saving grace is that everything that was deemed as faulty was allegedly remedied, and the only remnants left are the branded title and lower resale value, the latter of which shouldn’t bother anyone that just wants a cheap, fun car that they can run into the ground without too many complaints from their significant other or bank account.
I’d strongly urge a pre-purchase inspection to make sure that none of the leftover damage from the flood is terminal, but other than that, it’s hard to fault this car, at least from the pictures on its listing, and least of which, the orgasmic exhaust note.
The electronics in the car, while a far cry from ‘80s Maserati standards, are reliable enough and accessible enough that an eBay search for parts will return a plethora of results, as these cars were comprised of whatever Maserati could find in their rapidly shrinking parts bins.
The engine is derivative of Ferrari’s F430 engine, which does not require an engine out service and it considered to be one of Ferrari’s most reliable and maintenance-light engines, but the price on an Italian hand-built motor can still be daunting for items such as brakes, clutches, tires, and other wear-and-tear bits. Price of admission is not the cost of ownership.
However, the price of admission is low enough that one can perhaps delegate those ownership costs into DIY experiences and opportunities to modify instead of replace with strictly OEM components.
A daily driver it probably won’t be, but becoming an awesome weekend cruiser or autocross star is right within reach for the little ‘vert. All it takes is a little confidence, research, and planning, and you could potentially have a hand-built Italian sports car for pennies on the dollar. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.