Sbarro Biturbo, 1984


In 1983, Franco Sbarro built six gull-wing doored Mercedes which he called Shahin. These cars used the 6.9 litre Merc’ V8 which developed 286 BHP. Adequately powerful for most of us, it wasn’t enough to satisfy certain customers who felt that a gull-winged Mercedes should have an exceptional performance. For these people Sbarro presented a Shahin on steroids at the 1984 Geneva Motor Show: it was the Biturbo.


The foundation was the same: a Mercedes 500 SEC. It was the car of choice for the F1 drivers’ during the eighties, the definitive Mercedes. Sbarro kept the original engine, a 5 litre V8, but grafted on to it a pair of turbos which increased the power from 231 to 350 BHP. To put this in perspective: in 1985 a Ferrari 308 GTSi developed 240 BHP, a Porsche 928 S developed 310 BHP. The Biturbo had a top speed of 168 mph.


The bodywork of the Biturbo has nothing in common with the Shahin. Everything is original but there is a family likeness: the gull-wing doors, the radiator grille with the thin horizontal bars covering the twin headlights and the grooves along the side of the body just above the sills. The cabin is upholstered in white leather and fitted with a high-end entertainment system and telephone. Most startling is the rose tinted band around the windscreen: it’s a different way of viewing the road….


Ever since the famous Mercedes 300SL, gull-wing doors have always been a fantasy for many exotic car enthusiasts. A number of specials builders have made their own: the Arrow from Styling Garage, the Albatross from Duchalet and the GFG 5000. But Sbarro created the ultimate eighties supercars with the Shahin and the Biturbo.


text Philippe Calvet, translation Justin Bouverie




Sbarro BITURBO- 1984


V8 (Mercedes)


front longitudinal


4973 cc (96,5 x 85 mm)

fuel system

injection mécanique K-Jetronic


twin turbo


350 BHP


rear wheel drive




4 ventilated discs

top speed

274 km/h (168mph)



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