So, you've found my website so fascinating that you can't wait to buy one for yourself and sink thousands of dollars into it that you'll never see again? Well you've come to the right page!
The key to finding a 228 is patience. If you have stumbled across one, hit the Web to do some research and wound up surfing my page here, then you are very fortunate. Most other people who want a 228 will have to wait months for one to show up for sale.
Maseratis for Sale
on the Web
The web is the perfect place for sellers and buyers of unusual cars to find each other. There used to be tons of places listing cars for sale on the Web. Many of the places I used to browse for Maseratis are gone, and there now seems to be an 'oligopoly' of just a few sites.
Ebay is the number one site on the web. A few years ago I found most of the cars on eBay to be a bit dicey, but the reality is that these are $10,000 cars, not $100,000 cars, so eBay is an appropriate venue.
Hemmings Motor News is good too. Their interface is a bit painful and there is some rather intrusive advertising, but they have lots of listings and they turn over at a reasonable rate. They have a heavy bias towards Detroit steel, but always a good selection of Maserati, as well as other Italian marques such as Lamborghini, Detomaso, Iso, or any other marque ever made.
Epage Classifieds, doesn't have a lot of listings, but I like it because it is a summary of cars offered for sale in various newspapers across the US. They change quite often.
Auto Scout is mostly cars in Germany, but they have a good number of Maseratis. And the interface is in English.
Tiscali in Italy also has a great selection of Maseratis.
Automarche A decent site, has a good number of Maseratis for sale in France. It's all in French, naturally, but very easy to use. To see what they have, where it says 'Marque' scroll down and select Maserati, then click on the red button that says 'Rechercher'.
Another place to look for cars for sale is at the websites of car dealers. However, that is really looking for a needle in a haystack. Most of the dealers will advertise in Hemmings or eBay when they get a car, so I stick to them.
Finally, car shows are also good places, as many of the cars there, or parked nearby, are for sale.
Maseratis for Sale O ffline
The best offline place would be your local Maserati mechanic. Find out if he services any 228s. If he does, put your name in and wait!
Another place to look would be at the auctions. The best Italian car auctions by far in the US have got to be those in August on the Monterey peninsula. But there are many other auctions, and they don't usually get the complete list posted until shortly before the actual auction. I would say you'd have to be somewhat lucky to find one at an auction.
The final place to look would be at your local high end used car dealers. What are the chances of a 228 showing up at a lot in your town? Slim to none I would guess, but on the other hand I imagine it must happen sometimes.
If I Was Looking to Sell
If I was going to sell my 228, I'd do it firstly through my mechanic. He knows everyone locally who would be interested, and I could probably sell it quickly and at a good price through him. Plus he knows the car better than anyone and the buyer will be assured of getting a known entity. (or they could just peruse this website . . . !) This would be the best solution for me.
If that didn't work, since I live in Canada I'd try to sell it in the bigger cities of Toronto and Montreal via one of the high end dealers in those towns. Or possibly the RM auction in Toronto, but that is mostly US cars.
If that didn't work the last step would be to do what would be the first step for anyone living in the States: List it in Hemmings and throw it out on eBay with a reserve price. If the timing was good I might consider taking it to Monterey to sell, but there is a cost to drag it there (and back if it doesn't sell). Selling in the US is not such a good solution for me, due to typical American import restrictions, in this case the car being under 25 years old there is basically no way it can be imported into the US.
Anyways, it's all theoretical since I don't plan on selling it any time soon!
Hoping that the re-introduction of Maserati to the North American market will have a positive effect on the prices of the older cars? That remains to be seen as far as I can tell. I have heard from a couple of sources as of late 2003 that the new Maseratis are not selling well. For example, the local Ferrari/Maserati dealer shut down rather than buck up to a minimum quantity of Masers. So I don't imagine their lukewarm sales were doing much to boost the value of the older cars. As of 2008 the new Maseratis are selling better, though with the US economy in tough shape it remains to be seen if that will continue. In any case, 228 values are stagnant. The prices these cars are selling for on eBay have not changed in years.
Let me be brutally honest. This car is seen by the rest of the world as another Biturbo. Therefore it is a car with a bad reputation among most Italian car enthusiasts, (undeserved, but it's there). People who aspire to BMWs and Porsches to impress their friends would not touch it with a 10 foot pole. And the average motorist has never heard of it. So other than you and me there just aren't a lot of potential buyers. And the prices reflect this. You can pick up this car for pocket change compared to classic Maseratis. You can't rebuild a Ferrari engine for the price of this car. On the other hand, you and I know it's a heck of a car for what is the same kind of money you'd pay for a five year old Toyota!!
There are a few places to look at to find out what prices are for Maseratis. One is Sports Car Market's Price Guide. Another is Cars of Particular Interest (Link on the MCI Club Page showing Maserati Values is here). Yet another is the NADA Guide. What these guides will tell you is that the top price for a 228 in excellent condition (but not concours condition) is around $US13,000. SCM also maintains a large (30,000 entries) database of auction results for the past several years which contains hundreds of Maserati entries, although there is only a single 228 entry listed in it. You need join SCM to get access to it, and it is a great resource in general, even though it is a bit thin on the 228!
You can also look on eBay at some of the historical 228 auctions, and see that the cars there don't typically get bid above US$9,000 or so. eBay and the SCM guide are good since they will tell you the actual sale prices, or range of prices. Other places to look, like the ones I have listed above, are fun to look at, but not very useful when you want to buy, since they only give asking prices. These can range up in excess of US$25,000.
Hemmings has several of the above mentioned guides listed, plus one of their own that shows asking-prices on their website here. It provides you with the capability to search the databases and get some limited pricing information.
What to Look For When Buying
As with buying any car that is 10+ years old, there could be a few secrets!
First, check for the usual things on an older car. In particular check for body damage, make sure that if the car has been in an accident previously, that it was repaired properly. Look to see if the car has been repainted. Paint overspray on window gaskets or the badges are a strong clue that the car has been repainted. Similarly, if the mirrors' colour matches the body colour, then they have been painted. Check that the wood veneer inside the car is not damaged. (Carpathian Elm Burl is not easy to find!) You should expect some crazing and minor cracking to the veneer. Find out what mods have been done on the car.
These cars were pretty well rust-proofed (unlike the earlier Biturbos), so there should not be any bad rust. If there is, then something has happened. I would not buy one that had been used in the winter in a place where there will be salt put on the roads. Places to look for rust are on the metal back of the fog lights, and on the metal frame that holds the spare tire in place under the trunk. The extent of rust in these areas will give you a sense of what kind of life the car has had. A bit of rust in these areas is not a serious problem. Rust in any other areas should not be expected or tolerated - it is a BAD sign. (My car was undercoated at some point in its life, and I was very surprised at how little rust it had on it.)
Beyond what you would expect in any 'middle aged' used car, these cars are like any of the Biturbo variants of the era. The most important thing to see in the car is a big fat file of receipts from the previous owner(s) proving that he has had regular maintenance done on it by a competent mechanic. If not, then you can be sure that you will wind up paying for his deferred maintenance, as well as your own expected maintenance! I promise you that! As you can see from my experiences described elsewhere on this site, practically everything can (and eventually will!) go wrong. This is not like owning a Toyota. If you are not comfortable assessing these things yourself, take it to a shop and have it inspected before you buy it.
Maserati-specific things to look for are numerous.
Electrical problems - has the fuse box been replaced yet? I am going through them at a rate of one every couple years, and they are getting harder to find. Make sure every electrical component that you can test works properly.
The cam belts should be replaced every 30 000 kms. If there is no proof that it was done recently, you should demand a $1,000 discount off the price, and have the work done immediately upon buying the car. This is an important one to verify, don't let the dealer/owner blow you off. Demand to see a receipt for proof it has been done.
The electric windows and wiper motors can get pretty weak by this age. Try turning on the wipers with the windshield dry.
The climate control system should also work properly. Make sure that you test it in all modes 'long enough' to verify that it doesn't shut off or change modes at random. Be aware that it will take several minutes to warm up before it starts to respond properly to any commands you give it. Find out when the A/C was last charged and verify it blows cold. This can only be tested meaningfully on a hot day. Freon is no longer available in many countries, and you will have to change out several components in order to use the newer refrigerants. And they are not as effective as Freon anyways.
MIE has told me that 228s seem to go through a lot of windshields, so make sure that the one you are looking at is good. No cracks or delaminations. (Delamination is not that common on the 228, but quite common on the Spyder where the body is not as rigid.) If the car has more than about 50,000 kms or so, you can expect that the windshield will have a lot of microabrasions in it from wear and tear.
Check that there is no oil leaking out of the gaskets and seals of the engine. If so it will drip on your garage floor, or onto a hot part of the engine and smoke embarassingly! Seriously, this is one of the most common problems with these engines. I would describe it as almost universal. If you are looking at an engine that does not leak oil, I would check that it has oil in it! If it does, then it's a good sign.
If the engine is burning blue smoke, then there is likely a problem with the turbos. When you floor the gas pedal the turbo gauge should get almost into the yellow.
Steering rack problems are also common. The car should feel tight on the road, but do not expect it to handle like a go cart. If the steering feels sloppy, like an American car, then there is a problem. I have had several reports of poor handling on these cars.
The liner under the hood deteriorates and leaves a mess on your engine. (small problem, but common and annoying) MIE sell a replacement liner. Buy one.
Differential leaks are common and there is no good way to permanently stop them. Put cardboard or carpet or something on your garage floor under the engine AND under the diff to catch drips.
Water leaks into the back seat area also happen, from around the small windows on the side. Water can also get into the trunk and make it stink. The interior (and the trunk) should not smell musty or damp at all. The interior should have a very pleasant leather smell. I have had a couple owners report that their car smells like something died in it when it rains, and I had this problem too. You will have to fix the leak(s) and clean your carpets.
As for automatic or manual, usually the manual is more desirable. However, for the Maseratis, the automatic transmission allows the turbo boost to be maintained as the car shifts gears, so it has a nice effect.