1989 Maserati Karif Zender

Highlights


  • Enthusiast owned
  • Magazine-featured example
  • 1 of just 25 right-hand-drive examples
  • Will come with a new MOT upon sale

The Appeal


Two turbochargers, a V6 and Italian flair were always going to be a recipe for fun, as the squared-off Maserati Karif was to prove. Launched in 1988 as a luxurious 2+2 coupé with distinct sporting prowess, the Karif was powered by - what was then - Maserati’s most powerful BiTurbo V6 engine, producing 285bhp at 5,500rpm.

Based upon a lightly tweaked version of the chassis used by the Maserati Spyder, the Karif’s fixed roof gave this coupé additional torsional rigidity and improved road-going characteristics over its drop-head stablemate, whilst remaining true to the boxy beauty of the BiTurbo family.

An exceedingly rare car in its own right with just 221 produced, only 25 of those built were in right-hand-drive configuration, making them a true ‘holy grail’ car for Maserati enthusiasts. This particular example also boasts a Zender body kit, making it rarer still. 

With low mileage, enthusiast ownership and having been featured in leading Italian automotive publication Auto Italia magazine, this is a near-unrepeatable opportunity to obtain a right-hand-drive Karif which is ready to use and enjoy.

History/Paperwork


  • Enthusiast owned and magazine featured
  • 8 keepers shown on the V5
  • Specialist service history
  • Extensive documentation and history

First purchased by the vendor in June 2020, this three-box wonder has since been cherished as part of his fascination with Italian vehicles, sharing the garage with another of Maserati’s finest, and being featured in Auto Italia magazine, a publication which the vendor regularly contributes to, so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about Italian cars…

Reportedly never restored, this particular example also boasts a Zender body kit, which adds side skirts, a subtle boot-mounted wing, a redesigned and more aggressive front ‘air dam’ and other visual modifications.

Not only has the Zender body kit transformed the visuals of this Karif, but a previous custodian also gave some further upgrades in the form of adjustable Leda suspension both front-and-rear, along with upgrading its stopping power courtesy of Wildwood four-pot brake calipers.

Included with the vehicle is an extensive history folder stretching back well into the 1990s, showing items such as not one, but two engine rebuilds at the hand of marque specialist Bill McGrath Maserati, engine tuning by Auto Shield, purchase of the aforementioned suspension upgrades, a new cam belt (with associated bearings, alternator belt and air-conditioning belt) in 2015, and other minor fettling. 

Now, having owned the vehicle for around two years, the current owner (no doubt assisted by his wife, who is apparently not the most fond of the car) has decided it is time for the next lucky owner to enjoy this three-box wonder; Could it be you?

The Interior

  
  • Half-leather, half-Alcantara seats in good shape
  • Fantastic wooden inlays and details
  • Considerate upgrades to the stereo/audio systems
  • No reported faults

Inside, the half-leather interior remains in good condition overall, having evidently been cherished and well-kept throughout its years of use and enjoyment.

The vendor notes there are a couple of small ‘nicks’ to the Alcantara seat material, but nothing that is particularly eye-catching or offensive. Similarly, there are a few creases and light scuffs to the seats commensurate with the vehicle’s age and mileage, as you’d expect to find.

Elsewhere, the carpets, headliner, seat backs and door cards are all in great shape, whilst the various wooden trim items such as the dash inlays, gearstick, door cappings and steering wheel all present wonderfully.

In the rear, the upgraded subwoofer is tucked away in the boot, and this too presents well, though the courtesy light is hanging down from the main boot panel and will require some attention.

According to the vendor, the radio system is currently inoperable, but there are no other known faults with any of the systems, switches or displays.

The Exterior


  • Zender body kit in excellent condition
  • Wheels in great shape
  • No accident damage or unsightly wear
  • ‘Fondmetal’ alloy wheels (non-standard)
  • ‘Waxoyled’ 1996

Moving outside, the good news continues, as - on the whole - this Zender-kitted Karif presents well indeed, and still holds an impressive presence nearly 35 years after it rolled out the factory. 

Looking along the flanks of the vehicle, the driver’s door appears to have dropped slightly on its hinges, and - if we’re being really picky - the bonnet is slightly sitting to the nearside, but otherwise there were no signs of any major panel gaps or alignment issues. The body is also largely free of any dents or damage, save for one or two ‘car park’ creases in the door panels

The paintwork, too, presents well overall, though there are the usual stone chips and minor blemishes to the front end, along with a couple of more visible scratches to the upper edges of the front and rear bumper, and a scuff/chip to the lower edge of the front splitter. We also noted a number of ‘swirl marks’ in the paint - typical for a vehicle of this age - though these are largely hidden unless the car is in direct sunlight.

Elsewhere, the light units are all free from damage or signs of water ingress, whilst the exhaust tips, wheels and other details present very well for their age.

The Mechanicals


  • 2.8-litre BiTurbo V6 engine
  • Fantastic soundtrack
  • Wonderfully responsive - an absolute riot to drive!
  • Cambelt replaced at 33k miles (2015)
  • 150mph 0-60mph 4.8sec

Under the bonnet, the twin-turbocharged V6 heart of this Karif is reported to be in excellent health, having recently been fettled by Bill McGrath and with the vendor stating that there are no known underlying faults, strange noises or mechanical issues to report. 

The engine itself, along with its ancillaries, presents in good, used order, with some flaking paint on the rocker cover and other minor blemishes consistent with a high-performance vehicle of this age, though there were no signs of any obvious leaks, misting or other problems that we could see.

Underneath, the chassis looks to be in good condition, and the most recent MoT exam - dated 06 September 2021 and now expired - shows a clean pass with no advisory items.

Summary


With its short wheelbase, responsive steering, impressive power output and glorious soundtrack, it’s no wonder that the Karif was well-loved by both the motoring press and its drivers, and remains a rare, desirable model to this day, particularly in right-hand-drive format as seen here.

Offered for sale from enthusiast ownership and benefitting from a number of desirable upgrades, this right-hand-drive, Zender-kitted Karif is certain to turn heads and start conversations wherever it goes, and would make a wonderful addition to any enthusiast’s garage or collection.

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1989
  • Make Maserati
  • Model Karif
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 36,000 Miles
  • Engine size 2790
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Fulbrook
  • Location Oxfordshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
9 bids from 5 bidders
  • Land_ro•••• £12,000 04/11/22
  • taylor.•••• £11,500 04/11/22
  • T 27 £11,000 04/11/22
  • Land_ro•••• £10,500 04/11/22
  • reveren•••• £10,250 04/11/22
  • Land_ro•••• £10,000 04/11/22
  • rtb £7,100 02/11/22
  • Land_ro•••• £7,000 28/10/22
  • Land_ro•••• £2,000 28/10/22

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