Maserati – Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:40:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Future Dodge Chargers and Challengers May Ride on Maserati Ghibli’s Platform http://www.automobilemag.com/news/future-dodge-chargers-challengers-may-based-maseratis/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/future-dodge-chargers-challengers-may-based-maseratis/#respond Thu, 21 Sep 2017 00:12:31 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1192159 It’s been more than a decade since Dodge brought back the Charger, and in that time, it’s received several major updates but no complete redesign. The story’s been the same with the Challenger, too: continual updates but no all-new car since its introduction. For a while, we’d heard both the Charger and the Challenger would...

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It’s been more than a decade since Dodge brought back the Charger, and in that time, it’s received several major updates but no complete redesign. The story’s been the same with the Challenger, too: continual updates but no all-new car since its introduction. For a while, we’d heard both the Charger and the Challenger would eventually be moved to the Giorgio platform that underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulia. But according to the latest rumor, that plan has changed.

Automotive News reports that the Charger and Challenger will get one more refresh for 2019 before being completely redesigned for 2021. That redesign will reportedly focus on reducing weight and improving fuel economy. But when they do get redesigned, they’ll supposedly ride on the Maserati Ghibli’s platform, not the Alfa Romeo Giulia’s. We reached out to Fiat Chrysler for confirmation, but FCA’s spokesman said he couldn’t comment, calling AN’s piece “pure speculation.” Then again, he didn’t deny the rumor, either.

If you think about it, the change of plans makes sense. The Ghibli’s platform underpins the larger Quattroporte, which has a wheelbase much closer to the Charger’s. Compared to the Charger, the Giulia has a wheelbase that’s about 10 inches shorter. It could presumably be stretched, but starting with the Maserati platform sounds like it would be simpler.

Interestingly, that report also suggests that the next-generation Dodge Journey will migrate to the Giorgio platform, becoming a two-row, rear-wheel-drive performance crossover instead of a three-row, front-wheel-drive minivan alternative. Considering how impressed we were with the Giorgio-based Alfa Romeo Stelvio‘s handling, the idea of a less expensive, Dodge-badged version sounds like a great idea to us. We’ll believe it when we see it, though.

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Maserati and Bulgari Collaborate for New Octo Retro Watch http://www.automobilemag.com/news/maserati-bulgari-collaborate-new-octo-retro-watch/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/maserati-bulgari-collaborate-new-octo-retro-watch/#respond Wed, 13 Sep 2017 01:00:22 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1190299 Alongside the refreshed Ghibli, Maserati unveiled two new special edition Bulgari Octo watches at this year’s Frankfurt festivities. 2017 marks the fifth anniversary of collaboration between the two Italian brands, a partnership stretching back to the 2012 Bulgari Octo Maserati Chronograph. Like the first two pieces, the new Octo Retro Maserati pulls inspiration from modern...

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Alongside the refreshed Ghibli, Maserati unveiled two new special edition Bulgari Octo watches at this year’s Frankfurt festivities. 2017 marks the fifth anniversary of collaboration between the two Italian brands, a partnership stretching back to the 2012 Bulgari Octo Maserati Chronograph.

Like the first two pieces, the new Octo Retro Maserati pulls inspiration from modern Maseratis while still retaining the very bold Bulgari design. In contrast to the first two Bulgari x Maserati chronographs, the Retro is a time-only watch with a jumping digital hours and retrograde minute display.

For those unfamiliar with retrograde complications, don’t worry—it’s not as confusing as it appears. Minutes are read from the ascending register on the left, scaled from zero to six. Wherever the hand indicates, multiply by ten, and that’s the current minute. When the hand reaches the six (60 minutes), it snaps back down to zero, and the digital hour jumps forward.

It’s a sharp design, offering a desirable and unique complication while weaving in a visual effect not too far removed from the speedometer you might find on a Maserati. It’s a collaboration, but the design is very much Bulgari, and only incorporates a touch of Maserati with the strap, font, and trident signature on the lower right portion of the dial.

The Octo  Retro Maserati arrives in either GranSport or GranLusso specification, both offering distinctly different approaches (and prices) to the design. The GranSport pulls from Maserati’s sporting side, utilizing a dusky black and blue color scheme, extending to the PVD steel case. The GranLusso, as you might imagine, is inspired by the more luxurious side of Maserati, offering a handsome 18k gold case with dark gray dial and chocolate brown strap.

Beyond stylistic differences, the two variants are mechanically the same, both pulling power from Bulgari’s in-house BVL 262 automatic movement. The 262 returns 42 hours of power reserve, along with 28,800 VPH.

Before you get in touch with Bulgari, you might want to visit your local Maserati dealer first, as the Octo Retro is restricted only to Maserati owners. They don’t specify which models qualify, but we’d imagine a rusty old Biturbo doesn’t fit the bill. If you do happen to be a current member of the Trident club, the GranSport starts at $12,400 and the 18k gold GrandLusso begins at $30,100.

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Giovanni Soldini, Master of the Sea http://www.automobilemag.com/news/giovanni-soldini-master-of-the-sea/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/giovanni-soldini-master-of-the-sea/#respond Fri, 25 Aug 2017 07:01:38 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1185645 Giovanni Soldini turns his weathered face to the Pacific and squints at millions of square miles of cobalt water. What the 51-year-old Italian is pondering is anyone’s guess, but there’s a good chance he’s thinking about the upcoming Transpacific Yacht Race, the storied competition that challenges billionaires, thrill seekers, and bucket-list romantics to traverse 2,225...

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Giovanni Soldini turns his weathered face to the Pacific and squints at millions of square miles of cobalt water. What the 51-year-old Italian is pondering is anyone’s guess, but there’s a good chance he’s thinking about the upcoming Transpacific Yacht Race, the storied competition that challenges billionaires, thrill seekers, and bucket-list romantics to traverse 2,225 nautical miles from San Pedro, California’s Point Fermin buoy to the Diamond Head Lighthouse in Honolulu, Hawaii, relying solely on wind power. A legend in the world of long-distance sailing and a national hero in Italy, Soldini looks more like a puckish fisherman compared to the coiffed locals in Southern California’s tony coastal enclave of Marina del Rey. There may be buckets of seafaring adventures swimming in the memory banks behind his hazel eyes, but Soldini gives off a disarming aura of quietude before he gently returns to reality.

The Transpac, as it is commonly referred to, is a 111-year-old race that covers some of the largest, deepest, and most dangerous expanses of water on the planet. This year Soldini will be sailing the Maserati Multi70 trimaran, the first foiling ship of its type to compete in a major open-ocean race. Painstakingly constructed from carbon fiber and titanium, this multimillion-dollar craft was built for the sole purpose of open-water racing. From one-off daggers and cassettes to countless bespoke components, the hardware is dizzying in its specificity, applying Formula 1 levels of engineering to hydrodynamics and weight reduction. In addition to collaborating on the ship’s overall design, Soldini developed flexible solar panels that power the ship’s electronics.

But the Multi70’s X-factor is its ability to “fly,” thanks to a foil that lifts the hull several feet out of the water, thereby dramatically reducing drag and enabling speeds of up to 44 knots—just about 50 mph. The concept is so efficient that the ship can actually exceed the speed of the wind, a party trick that makes for fantastic spectacle at closed-water events like the America’s Cup. But flying ships are unproven on open water, especially along the stretch between California and Hawaii, where a massive vortex of aquatic garbage can threaten the ship’s delicate rudders and foils. Despite a lifetime of sailing experience, the meteorological vagaries of the vast geography and the black art of strategizing a course that capitalizes on the velocity-amplifying power of the wind mean Soldini has his work cut out for him.

Giovanni Soldini became drawn to the ocean in his early teens, but the bond was cemented at 17 when he convinced a 75-year-old American captain to take him sailing across the Atlantic. The route from Palma de Mallorca in the Mediterranean to Antigua in the Caribbean forged an extreme level of adaptability at an age when most kids were getting their kicks playing video games. Soldini didn’t speak English until he picked up the language from the captain. After several months in the Caribbean, he returned home on a Spanish boat, learning Spanish from the crew. “It was fantastic,” he says with a laugh, like a lover reminiscing on the fling that triggered an affair.

“Giovanni’s personality and way of getting his hands dirty and being involved 100 percent reminded John Elkann of the Maserati brothers.”

As his professional sailing career took off, Soldini developed a knack for dominating grueling long-distance ocean races, including the Transat Jacques Vabre (France to Brazil), the San Francisco to Shanghai Tea Clipper Route, the Original Singlehanded Transatlantic Race, and the Transat Québec to Saint-Malo (Canada to France). The relationship with Maserati developed when John Elkann, the Fiat scion who also happens to be the chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, started sailing with Soldini in 2009. Although Soldini originally sought financial support to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race, the relationship with Maserati eventually led to the design and construction of the Multi70 as a way to showcase the brand on a different global stage. The ship also enables would-be Maserati buyers to experience an aspect of the brand’s nonautomotive ventures, acting as a sort of aquatic halo vehicle that could eventually convert sailing experiences into sales.

“By getting to know Giovanni’s personality and passion, somehow [Elkann’s] intuition associated him with Maserati, which a few years ago was still a smaller brand,” says Matteo Sardi, the brand’s North American rep. That plucky marketplace position gave Maserati a unique angle against more household nameplates. “We think of Maserati like a fancy popcorn. It’s not Ferrari. It’s not Lamborghini. Yes, it’s expensive and luxurious, but it’s also made by hand. The people are simpler there. Giovanni’s personality and way of getting his hands dirty and being involved 100 percent reminded [Elkann] a little bit of what he thought about the Maserati brothers.”

Soldini recalls epic oceangoing experiences with the casualness of someone describing a weekend in Napa. “It was a great trip with Maserati,” he says, reminiscing about the adventure when he broke the record from New York to San Francisco along the Gold Route course, a 13,225-mile route that circumnavigates Cape Horn. A previous record stood for 135 years, recorded by the Flying Cloud, a massive clipper ship that completed the journey in 89 days. That achievement was finally beat by a French team that completed the route in 57 days, 3 hours in 2008. Soldini and his crew obliterated that record five years later, finishing in 47 days, 42 minutes.

Then there was the notorious 1998/1999 Around Alone race, a global circumnavigation that requires competitors to sail solo. The leg across the South Pacific from Auckland, New Zealand, to Punta del Este, Uruguay, is particularly daunting because of its massive waves, freezing temperatures, and up to 4,000-mile isolation from landmass. At 59 degrees latitude south, some 2,000 miles west of Chile, friend and competitor Isabelle Autissier capsized. When her 60-foot sailboat flipped upside down in sub-40-degree water (surrounded by even colder ambient temperatures), Autissier donned a thick survival suit and huddled in an air pocket within the hull. Soldini, alerted of the capsizing, diverted his route more than 200 miles for the faint possibility of rescuing his competitor. But with only an emergency radio beacon and a single Comsat-C satellite-tracking signal, the margin of error for locating the distressed ship was approximately seven miles. The odds of contact were even lower because inclement weather visually blended the water into the sky and massive swells offered only fleeting glimpses of the distressed ship.

Then the improbable happened: Soldini spotted the bobbing hull of Autissier’s boat in the distance. He approached and made two passes, screaming her name in hopes of capturing her attention. When no one emerged, Soldini took a third pass and threw a hammer at the hull, triggering her to crawl out of a hatch. Autissier eventually climbed aboard his boat and joined him for 15 days until he reached Uruguay. “She ate all my food,” he jokes, “but it was OK because Isabelle is a very nice person.”

A race spokesman later told The New York Times, “He’s a very determined person. He’s also got one of the best boats in the fleet, and he knows how to sail it quickly to get where he wants to go.” Despite the diversion, Soldini completed the 26,000-mile journey in 116 days, 20 hours, a new world record that beat the previous title by almost five days.

Despite facing the hazards of a life racing on the open sea for three decades, Soldini remains unfazed, seeking ever-greater challenges both on water and on land.

Soldini’s racing recollections tend to follow a distinct format with two oppositional forces at play: the unrelenting rigor of science, logistics, and planning and the sting of nature’s entropy. The former includes his close working relationship with Guillaume Verdier, the renowned nautical designer known for authoring Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup ship. With Soldini’s countless hours at the helm in some of the most extreme oceangoing conditions and Verdier’s engineering problem solving, the two collaborate on the design of crucial components such as the rudders (the Multi70 has three) and the foil, which has a profile that resembles an airplane wing in order to create the lifting force that makes the ship “fly.” Another key collaborator is meteorological guru Pierre Lasnier, with whom Soldini has worked for more than two decades. His prerace ritual includes one or two full days discussing weather possibilities and contingency plans. “Obviously when you’ve [been doing that] for 20 years,” Soldini says, “you speak the same language and you understand. Each time you know a little bit more, [but] it’s not like mathematics. It’s never sure.”

When considering gut instincts versus scientific data, Soldini recalls his second round-the-world race. He had the instinct on the first leg (from Charleston, South Carolina, to Cape Town, South Africa) to stay on a northerly route before heading east because the Caribbean’s trade winds to the south would have slowed his progress. By remaining in the north’s low-pressure zone, he took the lead and felt confident about his route. However, ten days later, a tropical low-pressure system developed and inverted the conditions, completely reversing the standings. “[The competitors] just killed me,” he recalls. “But if I could do it again, I would do it the same because meteorology is not stable. You need to accept that. That’s life. You try, but you are not God.”

Acceptance might be an essential part of Soldini’s constitution, but it also comes from decades of battling some of nature’s mightiest forces. He has tasted the sweetest of victories, but he has also capsized and crashed. Despite some severe personal nadirs, the deepest cut might have been the loss of longtime friend Andrea Romanelli, a yacht designer who was swept into the ocean during a North Atlantic storm. Romanelli’s body was never recovered. The tragedy almost led Soldini to skip the Around Alone race where he rescued Isabelle Autissier.

“It’s like car racing. You have plenty of high and low moments,” he explains, “but one day you will have an accident. You can have 80-, 90-knot winds or 100-foot waves that can sink even a cargo ship. But it’s like anything, I think. The important thing is to have luck and be prepared, to be able to start again.” Not surprisingly, that element of danger doesn’t diminish much on the rare occasion he returns home to Sarzana, a small medieval town in Italy near Pisa. “I love driving cars and motorcycles,” he says, referring to his Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Honda Hornet 600. And, of course, he also keeps several boats on hand—a small multihull catamaran for local journeys, a cruising boat for family and friends, and a small racing boat he’s loaning out for a competition.

Soldini’s three decades of exposure to the world’s oceans have made him a firsthand witness to the realities of a changing planet. Whereas in 1995, during his first around-the-world circumnavigation, he was able to travel at a latitude of 62 degrees south, now he can’t make the journey below 45 degrees due to ice masses that have separated, or calved, from Antarctica. “It’s crazy,” he says. “It’s scary.”

During the 2017 Transpac race, Soldini and his seven-man crew were about 1,500 miles from Los Angeles when the ship struck an unidentified object at night, dislocating one of the rudders. “You cannot believe how many things are floating around this part of the sea,” he says, suspecting the object that was a propane tank. After assessing the extent of the damage, it appeared the carbon housing around the rudder (known as a cassette) disintegrated, and on-the-spot repairs were not possible. Although they were able to recover the rudder, a particularly expensive part, their inability to maintain full stability during the actual race resulted in a 3- to 4-knot speed reduction that led them to cross the finish line in third place.

In the aftermath of the loss, Soldini employs his usual problem-solving resolve. He is already collaborating with Verdier on a cassette design that would work as a fuse, bending along an axis so it can absorb impact without breaking.

When asked about his attraction to ocean racing, Soldini pauses in search of an explanation. “I don’t know,” he says. “What I really love is the fact that the boat is like a world. You never learn enough. You have everything, but you cannot be good at everything.”

In the years since Soldini started sailing, advances in shipbuilding and onboard electronics have changed the game. Now, his transocean ships contain three satellite-linked computers using 16 IP addresses that enable all the trappings of social-media capture required to compete on the global stage. Despite the technology creep, Soldini’s joy of sailing remains.

“It’s just my life,” he says simply. “I adore it.”

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Maserati Introduces Ghibli GranLusso in China http://www.automobilemag.com/news/maserati-introduces-ghibli-granlusso-china/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/maserati-introduces-ghibli-granlusso-china/#respond Thu, 24 Aug 2017 18:25:22 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1185729 Debuting at the 2017 Chengdu Motor Show in China is Maserati’s new Ghibli GranLusso. It’s an ever so slightly restyled Ghibli that’s sharper and more technologically intelligent than the rest of the standard Ghibli lineup. At first glance, it may be hard to discern what exactly Maserati restyled as the company didn’t do too much...

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Debuting at the 2017 Chengdu Motor Show in China is Maserati’s new Ghibli GranLusso. It’s an ever so slightly restyled Ghibli that’s sharper and more technologically intelligent than the rest of the standard Ghibli lineup.

At first glance, it may be hard to discern what exactly Maserati restyled as the company didn’t do too much to the svelte sedan. The majority of the styling changes are in the front bumper’s lower lip and the rear bumper around the exhaust exits.

According to Maserati, the Ghibli GranLusso’s front bumper now showcases “dedicated chrome inserts and a new front grille with chrome bars.” There’s also GranLusso badges at the base of the front fenders and now body colored side skirts.

As for the rear of the car, the bumper has a new body color, rear extractor, and a redesigned exhaust outlet that curves around the four exit exhaust. Maserati says it “gives a sharper look to the model compared to the previous [Ghibli].”

The Maserati Ghibli GranLusso also sees newly added adaptive LED headlights that angle themselves when the steering wheel turns, as well as Matrix High-Beams that give the Ghibli GranLusso “even better illumination.”

Maserati also claims that the Ghibli GranLusso has been given new active Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) to help propel the brand toward fully autonomous driving, although it hasn’t stated what those ADAS functions are just yet.

Details on pricing, when it will hit dealerships, and whether the GranLusso is a new trim or will encompass the entire Ghibli lineup have not been announced at this time.

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1954 Maserati A6GCS/53 Wins Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award for 2016 Season http://www.automobilemag.com/news/1954-maserati-ag6gcs-peninsula-classics-best-of-best-2016/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/1954-maserati-ag6gcs-peninsula-classics-best-of-best-2016/#respond Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:14:02 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1183637 One of just four berlinetta-bodied sports cars produced by Pininfarina, this 1954 Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta is not only the best preserved, it’s the only one to retain its original chassis and body. This elegant survivor of a Maserati beat a strong field of competition for this year’s Peninsula Classics Best of the Best award, just...

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One of just four berlinetta-bodied sports cars produced by Pininfarina, this 1954 Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta is not only the best preserved, it’s the only one to retain its original chassis and body. This elegant survivor of a Maserati beat a strong field of competition for this year’s Peninsula Classics Best of the Best award, just as the race car it’s based on once beat the competition on track.

Chosen for its sensual design, clever construction, and stunning originality, the A6GCS/53 Berlinetta by Pininfarina is based on the Maserati brothers’ successful 2.0-liter A6GCS/53 race car. This example, like the other three A6GCS/53 Berlinettas, were commissioned by Guglielmo Dei, a Maserati dealer in Rome at the time, who had acquired a handful of chassis. This A6GCS/53 was shown at the 1954 Paris Motor Show, and was bought by an Italian count who raced it in the 1955 Mille Miglia.

The other seven finalists included some true powerhouses of classic automobilia: the 1952 Pegaso Z-102 Berlineta Cúpula, 1960 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Coupé Superfast II by Pininfarina, 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinetta by Touring, 1938 Dubonnet Xenia Coupé by Saoutchik, 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Coupé by Bertone, and yet another Pininfarina creation, the 1953 Ferrari 375 MM Spider by Pininfarina.

“We were all in agreement that the Maserati deserved the award not only for its astounding display of modern innovation, but also because it has been restored in a way that preserves the design as it was intended to be appreciated, with a precise level of care for its historic and timeless automotive implications,” said judging panel member and renowned auto enthusiast Jay Leno.

“The 1954 Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta is a superb example of the beauty of Pininfarina’s designs, which are synonymous with the coachwork that epitomizes classic Italian sports cars,” said Sir Michael Kadoorie, one of the founders of the event. “The sensitive retention of its originality allows this stunning motorcar to emerge as the most elegant preservation among its 1954 counterparts.”

The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award enlists the talents of experts, celebrities, and design luminaries of the automotive world to choose the “world’s most exceptional classic car.” If that sounds an awful lot like the goal of Monterey Car Week’s crown jewel, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, well, it is. But at the same time, it’s not.

The list of big names on the 24-member panel includes Chris Bangle, Peter Brock, Ian Callum, Luc Donckerwolke, Henry Ford III, Ralph Lauren, Jay Leno, The Earl of March, Nick Mason, Gordon Murray, Shiro Nakamura, Ratan Tata, Gordon Wagener, and Ed Welburn—among others. It’s a shock-and-awe fusillade of automotive celebrity superpower.

With that kind of weight behind the pronouncement, the Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award is aiming to become one of Monterey Car Week’s hottest new events.

Founded in 2015 by famed collector Bruce Meyer, Chip Connor, Christian Philippsen, and Kadoorie, the Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award is sponsored by The Peninsula Hotels, Graff Diamonds, and Rolex.

As for the 2017 award winner, we’ll have to wait until next year, after this concours season has concluded.

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Mecum to Sell J. Geils Italian Car Collection at Its 2017 Monterey Sale http://www.automobilemag.com/news/mecum-sell-j-geils-italian-car-collection-2017-monterey-sale/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/mecum-sell-j-geils-italian-car-collection-2017-monterey-sale/#respond Sat, 12 Aug 2017 19:01:18 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1182202 John Warren Geils Jr. was best known for his guitar work as the namesake of the J. Geils Band when he passed away earlier this year at the age of 71, but music wasn’t the only passion in his life. Geils was also a died-in-the-wool car enthusiast who grew up watching races with his father...

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John Warren Geils Jr. was best known for his guitar work as the namesake of the J. Geils Band when he passed away earlier this year at the age of 71, but music wasn’t the only passion in his life. Geils was also a died-in-the-wool car enthusiast who grew up watching races with his father and would later go on to race vintage sports cars and open his own restoration shop. When he passed, he left a small collection of cars and motorcycles that will be sold at Mecum’s 2017 Monterey sale.

Notably, the collection is all-Italian, which is reflective of Geils’ love of vintage Italian cars and bikes. Some are unfinished projects, like the 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint that Geils called his “street rod,” according to Mecum. The auction listing doesn’t mention whether the car is a Normale or upmarket Veloce model, but the engine currently installed is a later Alfa 2.0-liter inline-four which should give more grunt than even the more powerful Veloce did stock. Geils liked to track this car and some unrepaired damage to the nose will probably be job number one for the new owner. Mecum doesn’t provide an estimate, but a non-original Normale in solid driver condition is about a $50,000 car these days.

Another Geils project car, a 1966 Maserati Sebring SII that was hit in the driver’s front fender by a school bus, looks like it will take a little more work than the Alfa to put right. Not only is the exterior damage more extensive, but the interior is partially disassembled and the original 3.7-liter straight-six engine isn’t currently installed. The front and rear suspension also appear to be disassembled, with the car only movable by dolly. While average Series II Sebring values are hovering around $200,000, we expect this one to need in the neighborhood of $100,000 to put right.

Other Geils offerings are in better shape. A 1961 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 is said to be ready to drive and enjoy, with its original 3.0-liter Colombo V-12 and a later five-speed gearbox from a 365 GTB/4 Daytona replacing the car’s native four-speed. Four-seater Ferraris almost always play second fiddle to the marque’s two-seat cars on the open market, but this car’s gorgeous, two-tone blue/grey paintwork and red interior suit this grand touring coupe very well. Average 250 GTE values sit around $400,000, but this one’s star appeal could help it push even further.

Rounding out the J.Geils collection are a 1967 Lancia Flaminia 2.8 3C, 1967 Fiat Dino Spider, and three Italian motorcycles: a 1970 Ducati 350 Desmo, a 1976 MV Agusta 125 SS, and a 1983 Benelli 900 SEI (said to be Geils’ favorite motorcycle). The J. Geils Collection is slated to cross the block on the last day of Mecum’s Monterey auction, Saturday, August 19.

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First Drive: 2018 Maserati GranTurismo and GranCabrio http://www.automobilemag.com/news/first-drive-2018-maserati-granturismo/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/first-drive-2018-maserati-granturismo/#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 07:01:24 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1177511 BRESCIA, Italy — Like Chuck Taylors, the Beatles, or Ray-Bans, some things just don’t go out of style. They stick around not because of nostalgia, but because they’ve stood the test of time. Peeking out over the delicately sculpted hood of the 2018 Maserati GranTurismo (and its drop-top sibling, the GranCabrio), the musical torrent of...

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BRESCIA, Italy — Like Chuck Taylors, the Beatles, or Ray-Bans, some things just don’t go out of style. They stick around not because of nostalgia, but because they’ve stood the test of time. Peeking out over the delicately sculpted hood of the 2018 Maserati GranTurismo (and its drop-top sibling, the GranCabrio), the musical torrent of a Ferrari-built, naturally aspirated V-8 shouting at the top of its aging lungs, we wonder if that’s how this quintessential Italian GT will be remembered.

Now more than ten years old, the GranTurismo is—generously put—a seasoned elder in the automotive ranks. While that indeed means its old bones are at this point well outmatched in technology and performance by rivals like the Porsche 911 and Mercedes-AMG GT (the latter of which it narrowly outsold in 2016), the top-tier Maser isn’t without some wisdom and delight from back in the day. In fact, despite Maserati’s efforts to hype minor styling and infotainment updates for both the standard Sport and track-focused MC versions, the critical elements of this paltry refresh come down to what hasn’t changed.

Perennial whiners about modern electric power steering and laggy, aurally deficient turbocharged engines will find a fast friend in the GranTurismo, which holds fast to its hydraulic rack and 4.7-liter naturally aspirated V-8. Crossplane crank and all, the Modena-sourced mill carries over blissfully unmolested with 454 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. The majesty of this engine becomes apparent at a distant 7,000 rpm, where peak power arrives just shy of the tempting 7,200-rpm redline. Charging up narrow, twisting passes through Italian hill country, the engine is hungry to rev, responding instantly to the slightest pressure on the throttle.

Steering is weighted well, alert, and progressive, clearly communicating the nuances of undulating pavement through the broad, almost comically dated-looking steering wheel. Scenic views abound as we traipse along in a drop-top Sport, from stunning vistas over Lake Iseo to quaint countryside villages, all bearing witness to the GranCabrio’s timelessly elegant silhouette and resonant soundtrack. Even in its home country, people stare at a Maserati sports car like it’s from another planet.

The local police, nice gentlemen they are, manage to close a section of road for us between two small towns. We hop into a smoke-grey MC coupe and proceed to blast down the first straightaway, pleasantly surprised at how the six-piston Brembo front brakes and four-piston rears bring things to a confident halt before we dial in some steering.

As satisfying as the GranTurismo is cruising calmly and occasionally raising hell in some tunnels, it’s equally at home being whipped into action. And with no active safety systems bleeping at you and no buzzes from the seat cushion that you’re flirting with the lane markers, it’s as pure of a driving experience as you could hope. Even at ten years old, this formula still entertains. “It’s not the fastest around a track nor is it the most powerful, but [the GranTurismo] represents perfectly the grand tourer,” rightly observes product planner Enrico Billi.

The GranTurismo’s double-wishbone suspension carries over as well, along with its transmission. Sport models still get Maserati’s Skyhook adaptive dampers, while MC models are fitted with a stiffer fixed-rate setup. Even in MC form, the GranTurismo is surprisingly comfortable, compliant, and steady over less-than-perfect pavement, transmitting very little harshness to the driver.

Where the GranTurismo is in more dire need of an update is with its gearbox. The ZF six-speed is a relic at this point, and prone to somewhat lazy downshifts if you leave the reins in the computer’s hands. We opted to take control of cog swapping via the large column-mounted shift paddles, which considerably amped up responsiveness and overall enjoyment. Maserati says it thinks the six-speed fits the character of the naturally aspirated engine, but more practically, switching to the new eight-speed would have required too many changes to the body-in-white to justify.

Given that this refresh is only designed to last for another two years or so, the decision to limit the investment makes sense. Vehicle integration specialist Gianluca Antinori told us that the entire refresh was designed and engineered in one year, and that by far the biggest challenge was getting the GranTurismo’s dated electronics to play nice with the new 8.4-inch infotainment system cribbed from the Levante and new Quattroporte, which also brings much-needed modern touches like a backup camera and Apple CarPlay. Aside from some conservative updates to the front and rear ends, along with a slightly revised interior center console, it’s the same svelte-looking, long-hooded GT car we know well.

The nip-tuck adjustments to the bodywork result in small aerodynamic improvements, helping the MC version lower its drag coefficient from 0.33 to 0.32. The MC’s ever-so lighter footprint and better downforce let it accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds versus 4.8 in the Sport, and on to a 187 mph top speed instead of 186 mph. Outside of a racetrack you won’t be itching for an MC, as the Sport will do just fine to keep you entertained. There are plenty of MC interior touches to choose from if you prefer racy carbon-fiber detailing to cushy leather or fancy wood.

In truth, the main reason to buy a Maserati GranTurismo or GranCabrio is that very soon, this mainstay of the high-end luxury sport pantheon will be history. It will be remembered honorably as part of a long tradition of Maserati GT cars from the original 1947 A6 1500 to the 3500 GT ten years later, and on to the 1967 Ghibli. The future of this lineage is uncertain, however. While Maserati is hard at work on the next GranTurismo, which is years away, the once hyped and now delayed Alfieri 2+2 is something Antinori admits the brand desperately needs if it wants to catch Porsche’s level of prestige and consistency.

“For every big leap we make over many years, they make constant improvements,” he says. “Things move very slowly for us, and we need the resources to move faster. The design team is excited and ready to go with the Alfieri, and now we’ll have to keep waiting,” referring to the Alfieri’s (at the earliest) 2020 planned release.

Until Maserati can kick itself into moving forward, it’ll have to keep dipping into the past for the GranTurismo. For now, that will suffice. Even at its lofty sticker price, our arms are still open to this well-worn Italian GT. Its sound and personality are unlikely to go out of style any time soon.

2018 Maserati GranTurismo and GranCabrio Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $132,825/$150,570 (Sport/MC Coupe);

$150,465/$161,070 (Sport/MC Cabrio)

ENGINE 4.7L DOHC 32-valve V-8/454 hp @ 7,000 rpm,

384 lb-ft @ 4,750 rpm

TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic
LAYOUT 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe/convertible
EPA MILEAGE TBD
L x W x H 193.3-193.7 x 75.4 x 53.3 in
WHEELBASE 115.8 in
WEIGHT 4,145/4,129 lb (Sport/MC coupe)
0-60 MPH 4.8/4.7 sec (Sport/MC coupe)
TOP SPEED 186/187 mph (Sport/MC coupe)

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One Week With: 2017 Maserati Levante SQ4 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/one-week-2017-maserati-levante-sq4/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/one-week-2017-maserati-levante-sq4/#respond Tue, 18 Jul 2017 04:01:05 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1175794 Well of course Maserati now sells an SUV. After all, such rivals as Jaguar and Bentley now proffer sport-utes, and Lamborghini and Aston Martin will soon have SUVs of their own. Maserati — that is, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — wasn’t about to let the other luxe brands suck up all that juicy SUV lucre without...

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Well of course Maserati now sells an SUV. After all, such rivals as Jaguar and Bentley now proffer sport-utes, and Lamborghini and Aston Martin will soon have SUVs of their own. Maserati — that is, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — wasn’t about to let the other luxe brands suck up all that juicy SUV lucre without taking a bite of its own. Thus, the all-wheel-drive Levante.

Judging by the reaction of my fellow Angelenos, a lot of buyers (at least in SoCal) have been waiting for this very rig. Everywhere I took the Levante (that’s “leh-von-tay”) people came forward to pepper me with questions: “That really a Maserati?” “How fast is it?” “What’s the price tag?” “Does it have a built-in espresso machine?”

The answers: yes, it’s a real Maser (based on the Ghibli, in fact), it can do the 0 to 60 mph sprint in just 4.9 seconds, pricing for the uplevel SQ4 edition starts at $84,250, and, no, it only has built-in espresso if you spill your Starbucks all over the center console. The Maserati easily drew as much attention as the Jaguar F-Pace I sampled several months ago. My test car was still something of a novelty, but in a few months I’m sure I’ll be seeing Levantes all over town.

It has a clean and elegant shape adorned with that familiar Maserati face, the traditional triple portholes just aft of the front wheels, and muscular haunches in back. The look was nicely finished off with optional 21-inch Anteo alloy wheels, part of the $6,800 Sport Package 21 (which also adds red brake calipers, high-gloss carbon trim, plus premium leather sport seats and sport steering wheel). My tester also included a 900-watt Harmon Kardon audio system, a surround-view camera, and several other options, pushing the sticker to a lofty $98,950 — more than the base sticker for the 440-horse Porsche Cayenne GTS.

The Levante comes equipped for battle, mind you. Under the hood of the sporty SQ4 model lies the same twin-turbo DOHC V-6 found in the Ghibli sports coupe — but thanks to redesigned intake and exhaust systems power climbs to 424 hp in the SUV. There’s enough grunt here to keep the Levante nose-to-nose with the Cayenne GTS in a sprint, though for maximum thrust you’ll want to switch into Sport mode (which opens up the exhaust baffles and unleashes a thrilling snarl). You have to keep the engine on-boost or the Maser tends to hesitate, but its ability to sprint hard is almost miraculous given its nearly 5,000-pound curb weight.

All Levantes get a ZF 8-speed automatic with manual shift paddles. And that’s a shame. The shifter feels old and clunky — quick downshifts, for instance, are hit or miss — and the shift lever in the center console, which lacks detents, is maddeningly frustrating to use. In my week with the Levante, I never was able to click into reverse without a fight, often selecting park or neutral instead. It’s awful.

Once you’re underway, though, the Levante is a brilliant hustler. It’ll loaf along at triple-digit speeds (empty desert roads are nice) with supreme ease and quiet. At one point I looked down to see that I was going 30 mph faster than I thought I was. Seriously. Just a hush from the engine compartment, almost no wind noise. The Levante is pleasant that way: it has an electrifying snarl under full throttle but, when cruising, can run along with just a whoosh (as long as you click out of Sport mode, closing the exhaust baffles).

In Sport the ride is quite firm, pliable enough on smooth California tarmac but, I’m betting, probably too stiff for the battered asphalt of snowy climes. The standard air springs can be raised or lowered, at the touch of a button, as much as 3.4 inches, though I never found an off-road track bad enough to give the system much of a workout.

Surprisingly, in this age of electronic steering systems, the Levante‘s remains hydraulically assisted. It’s not the best such system out there, but the feel is fluid and delivers good road feel — though it’s less effective at transmitting increasing cornering loads. Still, the Levante likes to romp through the twisty stuff. You’d never guess it weighs two and a half tons. And it sounds fabulous.

For all of its fleetness of foot, though, it’s in the cockpit where the Levante shines brightest. Yes, some of the switchgear is generic Fiat/Chrysler stuff and, yes, the turn-signal stalk is way out there in another zip code, but mostly the Levante just radiates that magical Italian blend of style and timeless elegance. The cabin is a feast of lovingly crafted and beautifully stitched hides, polished carbon trim, and classy aluminum accents — all accented by the intoxicating aroma of premium leather. At the center of the dash lies a big, sharp display screen that’s quick in response and easy to use. The driver gets a set of simple analog gauges and a superb, perforated-leather wheel. Rear-seat passengers enjoy abundant room, though I did note that the layout eats into rear cargo space. There’s even a handsome little clock atop the dash, a bit of icing on a cockpit as sweet as a slice of Tuscan tiramisu.

Maserati has ambitions to sell around 30,000 Levantes on our shores annually and — judging by the rig’s swiftness, style, and the undeniable allure of that “Maserati” nameplate — the company will likely succeed. In some small ways, the Levante comes up short, but in the broad strokes it more than holds its own — and does so in a manner unique to the class (at least until its Lambo rival rolls around).

No, the Levante doesn’t offer built-in espresso. But it’s a downright luscious ride for getting one.

2017 Maserati Levante SQ4 Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $84,250/$98,550 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 3.0L twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6/424 hp @ 5,750 rpm,

428 lb-ft @ 4,500 to 5,000 rpm

TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV
EPA MILEAGE 14/19 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 197.0 x 77.5 x 66.1 in
WHEELBASE 118.3 in
WEIGHT 4975 lb
0-60 MPH 4.9 sec
TOP SPEED 164 mph

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2018 Maserati GranTurismo Debuts with Subtly Refreshed Face http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-maserati-granturismo-debuts-with-subtly-refreshed-face/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-maserati-granturismo-debuts-with-subtly-refreshed-face/#respond Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:43:59 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1172384 The refreshed 2018 Maserati GranTurismo has been revealed at the New York Stock Exchange. For the new model year, the lineup has been reduced to two models, the Sport and the newly introduced MC (short for Maserati Corse). Exterior design changes include a mildly reworked front fascia with new front lower air ducts, and a...

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The refreshed 2018 Maserati GranTurismo has been revealed at the New York Stock Exchange. For the new model year, the lineup has been reduced to two models, the Sport and the newly introduced MC (short for Maserati Corse). Exterior design changes include a mildly reworked front fascia with new front lower air ducts, and a new grille that helps reduce its drag coefficient from 0.33 to 0.32.

Under the hood, the 4.7-liter V-8 remains but its output has been increased to 460 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque, a gain of 7 hp in higher trim levels. The old base GranTurismo was rated at 444 hp and 376 lb-ft. A ZF-sourced six-speed automatic transmission remains the only gearbox offered on the 2018 GranTurismo. Maserati says the refreshed GranTurismo Sport can hit 62 mph in 4.8 seconds while the MC is slightly quicker at 4.7 seconds.

A new infotainment system featuring an 8.4-inch touchscreen, likely a version of FCA’s Uconnect system, has been added to the 2018 GranTurismo and it comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. There’s also a new Harman Kardon premium audio system option available. Inside, the GranTurismo features an updated center console with a new button arrangement that sees the drive mode settings moved lower and closer to the shifter. Poltrona Frau leather or Alcantara and leather upholstery are available in the 2018 GranTurismo.

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Maserati Ghibli Reveals Its Dark Side in New York http://www.automobilemag.com/news/maserati-ghibli-reveals-its-dark-side-in-new-york/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/maserati-ghibli-reveals-its-dark-side-in-new-york/#respond Thu, 13 Apr 2017 00:00:45 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1151022 Maserati has debuted the Nerissimo Black Edition Ghibli at the 2017 New York International Auto Show. This latest limited edition is only available in the U.S. and Canada and features a deep black exterior color to showcase the Nerissimo “extremely back” Italian expression. Complementing the dark paint are 20-inch Glossy Black Urano wheels, black door...

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Maserati has debuted the Nerissimo Black Edition Ghibli at the 2017 New York International Auto Show. This latest limited edition is only available in the U.S. and Canada and features a deep black exterior color to showcase the Nerissimo “extremely back” Italian expression.

Complementing the dark paint are 20-inch Glossy Black Urano wheels, black door handles, black window trim, and black grille features. Inside you will find black extended leather with red stitching, INOX sport pedals, red brake calipers, Dark Mirror interior trim, sport seats, and a sport steering wheel. Blind spot assist, front and rear parking sensors, and remote start is standard on any Nerissimo model, including the base model, while the Harman Kardon audio system is standard on the Ghibli S and S Q4 versions of the Nerissimo.

Each Nerissimo model will have a numbered badge signifying the particular model number out of the 450 models produced.

Maserati Ghibli Nerissimo Edition front end

Additionally, two new packages arrive for 2017, including Luxury and Sport. The equipment grades are loaded with features that appeal to customers with different tastes.

The Maserati Ghibli sports a standard Ferrari-built twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 that delivers 345 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque while the Ghibli S and S Q4 come equipped with the same twin-turbo V-6 but tuned to produce an impressive 404 hp and 406 lb-ft. Both engines come mated to an eight-speed automatic that routes power to the rear wheels or to the Q4’s all-wheel-drive system.

Starting at $72,850 including destination, the Ghibli is the most affordable Maserati. The S Q4 starts at $80,950 including destination. The Ghibli Nerissimo edition starts at $78,500 and the S and S Q4 versions start at $85,250 and $87,750, respectively.

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