A the time of downsizing, it has also been more and more turbo time. In this way horsepower can be added while lowering the number of cylinders. Actually this trick has been used for a long time now to add always more power. First the compressor was in style, then in 1962 the Turbo appeared on the Chevrolet Corvair Monza Spyder. In Europe it’s BMW that introduced its use in a series on the 2002 Turbo. Since then, each brand has gone for it on at least one model, some of which totally fit into an original collection.
Ferrari 208 Turbo
The Ferrari 208 Turbo now there’s a car that is not well known despite its super coat of arms. It must be said that it did not have the kind of international broadcasting that its sister 308 had. This can explain why it is that even some experts are not aware of its existence!
It all started from the Italian tax-penalizing legislation for all motors with cylinders over 2 liters. In order to sell its precious “Berlinettes” in its native country, Ferrari created a 2 liter version of its V8 developing 170 horsepower equipped from the 208 GT4 derived from the 308 GT4.
In 1980 Ferrari presented its replacement the 208 (the GTB coupé version or the Targa GTS), equipped with the same motor (the smallest V8 on the market) but now limited to 155 horsepower. Conscient of its cars general weak power, the brand thought about a Turbo version to compensate the existing difference with the 308.
With the simple add-on of a turbo KKK, the power went to 220 horsepower, thus when compared to the 240 of the 308, the Turbo 208 didn’t need to redden in the face of its sister. Reserved for the Italian market (as well as the Portuguese whose legislation was close), the Turbo 208 was only sold at 687 copies until 1985 (and 300 for the 208 atmospherique). This is indeed a collectors item !
Venturi 300 Atlantique Biturbo
The Venturi Atlantique is a rarity one its own accord, but its last version with the new motor ES/L from the duo PSA/Renault verges on downright singular. This is why this ultimate version of the brand Gerfaut deserves all of your attention.
At its presentation in 1994 the Atlantique 300 proposed a back central positioned V6 PRV pushed by a simple Turbo, with a power that was already interesting at 281 horsepower. This car was developed with just 5 million French Francs based on the 400 GT frame is sublime thanks to Gerard Godfroys line. Unfortunately Venturi fell into financial troubles and its diffusion stayed private (45 examples). In 1998 PRVs end made Coueron engineers think about a new kind of mechanics.
At first the ES9 motor (the PSA version of ES/L) was integrated as it is (210 atmosphérique horsepower) to offer an automatic version for asian markets. But rapidly in 1999, a meaner version pushed with 310 horsepower was proposed thanks to the Belgian Alvan Motors. 16 examples were produced that year (as well as 3 GTR competition models) before another bankruptcy and then the buy-up by Gildo Pallanca Pastor.
These Atlantique 300 Biturbo were almost pre-series and suffered from a lack of perfectionning.Today the brands specialists have been successful in correcting the errors of its youth and they remain the most desirable of the 300s. The proof remains in how their price has not budged much with an estimated price of 45,000 euros (LVA*) in 2018. A rare and desirable car for fans of French craftsmanship.
Maserati Ghibli II
When talking about Turbos it is impossible not to mention the Maserati Biturbos. Theses cars that were launched in the 80s and asserted the use of two turbos to the point of having it in its name. The multitudes of versions launched in the 80s permitted the car to evolve in the right direction in terms of performances and reliability.
The Ghibli II is the last in its evolution and that’s where it gets interesting. Its line has softened and modernized thanks to the work done by Gandini on the Shamal with a V8 motor. This stylistic evolution gave it an elegant square and muscular look, all the while staying totally stylish in the 90s.
It was launched in 1993, because Maserati wanted it to be the alternative to the BMW M3 E36. Its V6, which is chock-full with its two turbos in its export version 2.8 liters 287 horsepower, is 1 more in horsepower than its Germanic rival. In the 2 liters version (mostly made for the Italian market but that we find everywhere sold in Europe today) its fiery V6 offered 305 horsepower. Not bad for a grandma !
Sold at the time for almost 100,000 French Francs more than the M3, it knew of course a much more confidential diffusion (2303 examples) but stayed rather common. In 2018 the LVA* evaluated the quotation of this Italian creature both full of charm as well as faults, between 24,000 and 27,000 euros.
Renault Safrane Biturbo
This is one of the rarest Renaults. With 806 examples fabricated in the beginning of the 90s the Safrane Biturbo is even more rare than an Alpine A610 (818 units), which says a lot. At that time they had their eyes towards Germany hoping to rivalise with the teutonic constructors in terms of quality and performance. Also, based on the well equipped and well made Safrane, it was decided to make a high-performance version in the way of the Renault 25 Turbo.
To develop its Safrane Biturbo Renault decided to turn to its German subcontractors ; Hartge for the motor and Irmscher for the assembly and the body kit. In truth they also turned to Berex to fine tune the motor. At the end of the day they were able to get 268 horsepower out of the 3 liter PRV thanks to two turbos (the power was limited so that the gearbox could handle it). The problem was that the car was heavy with its integrated transmission and above all very expensive.
Ultimately it was not able to conquer the crowds despite its discreetly aggressive look and its classy rims. We can find prices from 6500 euros but more likely around 10,000 euros. Careful this car requires a thorough upkeep and specific pieces that are sometimes rare.
Bentley Turbo R
To differentiate Rolls Royces and maintain Bentleys more sporty image the idea came in Crewe to make a Mulsanne with a V8 6 ¾ including a Turbo which passed the power to around 300 horsepower (Bentley liked to keep a haziness around the true power of its cars). The Mulsanne Turbo was launched in 1982, became the Turbo R in 1985, than the Turbo RT in 1997 (with 400 horsepower) to bow-out only in 1999.
Rolls Royce image of calm, luxury and smooth seems contradictory with the power and rather violent side of the Turbo. Strangely the alchemy worked particularly well with the Turbo R and its spin-offs. True sleeper with its weight and size which makes you believe it is a placid limousine the Turbo R is a good way to not have to choose between luxury and sportyness. Well everything is relative, a Bentley is still a big and long ocean liner!
For those who want even more distinction the Turbo R had a stretch version or rather a coupé version (continental R,S and then T) or even Targa ( Continental SC). To acquire a Turbo R will not necessarily leave you broke, the quotation vacillates between 23 and 28,000 euros (LVA 2018*), without counting the coupés and Targas which are much more expensive. As is the case for every car of its caliber it is more about the maintenance and spare parts for which you need to plan an annual budget.