When I bought the cheapest Maserati Quattroporte I could find with the better ZF automatic gearbox, a purchase I made sight unseen from a dealer auction in Florida, I was expecting the worst. I assumed there would be major issues that lead to it being dumped at auction, selling for the absurdly low price of $8,800 — but in reality, my Quattroporte turned to be one of my better purchases in recent memory. Honestly, I’m just as surprised as you!
Of all my "cheapest" exotic cars I’ve bought in the last year, only my Aston Martin DB7 and my Ferrari F355 had a lower initial estimate for repairs. The DB7 had only 37,000 miles on it, which explains why it was in such good mechanical condition — and I got lucky with my Ferrari, since it only required one minor fix to get running again. Now that I think about it, maybe the Ferrari is a bad example, since it was also due for a major belt service, and burned to the ground before that could be done — but my newest Italian car is giving a similarly good first impression.
Issues I noticed upon delivery of my Quattroporte included a slightly rough idle and an assortment of error lights on the dash. Many went away after charging the battery and doing the factory recommended "reset" of the electrical system — which involves disconnecting the battery for 30 seconds. What lingered after the reset was a transmission and electronic parking brake fault warning — as well as a passenger interior door handle that fails to open the latch. This makes me look like a gentleman, as most would assume I’m opening the doors for passengers to be chivalrous — and not because my Maserati is a hooptie.
My mechanic, the Car Wizard, usually finds more things wrong during his thorough inspection — but this Quattroporte was a freak. Despite being a high mileage Italian exotic car, the undercarriage was bone dry — like the car never had a single leak its entire life. The Wizard noted the front strut mounts were bad, along with a tie rod end, which explains why I hear a light clunk over bumps. He also thinks the motor mounts are worn, and is likely the source of the vibration at idle I’m feeling — but miraculously, there were no surprises to be found underneath.
Using his scan tool to read fault codes, the wizard determined my electronic shifter was the source of my transmission failure warning — and my electronic parking brake actuator wasn’t responding. The actuator is the most expensive part of the bunch at $700 — and when totaled up with the rest of the repairs, along with a fresh service and transmission flush, the total repair estimate came to around $4,000.
Considering my Maserati is a well-used example with six previous owners, I was really surprised by the lack of issues and the lower repair estimate. I’ll gladly spend Quattro-thousand to fix my Quattroporte, and the idea of owning a sorted example in the low-teens for a total investment sounds too good to be true. With my luck though, the Maserati Trident will probably end up stabbing me in the back soon.