So I bought a GranSport (yay!) on Friday and its been a very interesting experience since...
Coming from NYC I had previously tracked down and checked out a GranSport that I liked at a Maserati (and now also Alfa Romeo) dealership in rural Pennsylvania. After some back-and-forth negotiation I managed to secure a deal at the (not so) princely sum of $20K, with detailed answers from their Maserati techs to my many questions, preventative F1 relay replacement, 70% reported clutch life remaining, and a reassuring 60-day drivetrain warranty.
The car is Grigio Touring with a striking and unusual full-bordeaux leather interior. At first I was apprehensive about so much red, and felt it was less sporty than black leather, but it really is fun and unique and is quickly growing on me. I think it really suits the car's mission as a stylish Italian grand-tourer with ample performance that is more about overall driving experience rather than outright performance. And its quirkiness matches perfectly with everything else about the car. This previous listing does a better job than I can of showing off the flashy interior: 2006 Maserati Gran Sport
Anyway, as luck would have it I had a full-weekend wedding to attend in Pennsylvania and I thought it would be the perfect time to pick up my new wheels. The dealership had graciously agreed to provide me with office space for me to conduct business meetings through the afternoon, and so on Friday morning I left NYC at 5:30AM so I could reach the dealership, process the trade-in of my beloved Jeep (I do already miss the carefree ruggedness of it!), and complete the purchase of my first Italian car all before my first meeting. I wrapped up work in the afternoon, found my first meal of the day, and then headed to the Poconos.
When I arrived at the summer camp the groom, who had initially gotten me into Jeeps, was shocked to see me show up in a Maserati. The bride's father was a former Formula Vee race car driver and took an immediate interest in it! Both the bride and groom are former colleagues of mine.
Shortly after I went to the bus station to pick up my girlfriend, who was coming straight from work. Waiting in the parking lot was actually the first time I could really familiarize myself with the controls, dash, and seating/steering positions. It was also the first time I found that out, at least in rural Pennsylvania, the GranSport is enough for couples to walk over and complement you on your car un-prompted. I'm not sure I can remember ever having that happen with the Harley, but maybe leathers + Screaming Eagle pipes + helmet covered in stickers is a little intimidating?
Back at the camp, after a glorious bonfire we settled in for a pretty frigid night (low 40's), in uninsulated cabins with no heating, barely warm water, and minimal bedding. Clearly the camp was not accustomed to hosting weddings, and it was unseasonably cold for the start of their operating season. With my girlfriend I got by fine, but others didn't. One guy in our cabin got up and went for a drive in his 3-series at 5AM because he couldn't stand the cold anymore.
Saturday, the main activity and reception day, was much worse. Temperatures stayed in the low 40's and the rain came down in sheets relentlessly from sun-up to sun-down, and all buildings including the dining hall and activities hall were cavernous, drafty, and unheated. I was looking forward to the afternoon, when I needed to take my girlfriend back to the bus to catch a Broadway show with her mom for Mother's Day. Unfortunately, this is when things got even more interesting.
Within a mile of leaving camp I hit a massive pothole and with a sound very much like shattering glass I knew I had blown my front passenger tire, or worse. I pulled into a church parking lot and immediately procured an Uber for my girlfriend to make her bus, which she just barely did. Then I was by myself in heavy rain in a church parking lot that lists GPS coordinates instead of an address on their website, intermittent reception, 30% battery life (I hadn't yet been home to replace the stereo with one that has USB), incomplete documentation (most of which was still in my briefcase back at camp), and no spare. I was able to get a flatbed to pick me up and the driver, with 40 years of experience under his belt, asked "what the hell is a Maserati?!".
Once towed to the nearest Mavis the friendly staff mostly looked at me like I'd walked in asking for help with my giraffe. They immediately confirmed that they did not have any 19" tires at all, let alone the specific size of P Zero's on my car. About and hour or two of calling around the area revealed that nobody had any 19" tires. I even got to the point where I started inquiring about smaller rims I could purchase and use as a spare, but of course the GranSport is the final Maserati model to use the Ferrari-spec lug pattern and so this too was a dead-end. Mavis, and all other places, told me they could order the correct tire but that they wouldn't have it until Monday. And so, now getting late to be back at camp for the wedding reception, I now resigned myself to finding a hotel room for Sunday night and to missing mine and my girlfriend's anniversary on Sunday. She was extremely supportive and understanding, which is amazing of her. One of the other customers, a friendly Jamaican real-estate developer, felt bad for me and gave me a ride back to camp in his X5.
As with everything else over the weekend, the reception was very cold, and it was rainy and muddy out, but at least it was very beautiful and heart-felt. Preoccupied with worry about missing my first anniversary, logistics for my Tuesday business trip to Virginia, and possible damage to my GranSport's rims I went back to my cabin relatively early during the dance party to resume research and determined to get myself home on Sunday. It was an absolutely frigid night.
Sunday morning I was up and having coffee earlier than anyone else in the wedding party. The weather had cleared but was still cold. Out on the deck overlooking the lake I began feverishly calling tire shops open on Sunday in progressively farther distances between the Poconos and Brooklyn looking for any 235/35R19 tire. There were many false leads that dried up once I asked them to make a physical check of their inventory instead of trusting what was listed in their computer. Finally, after about 2 1/2 hours I located a shop in NJ that had off-brand tires of the right size. The process of taking an Uber back to Mavis, getting the tow truck back out there (same driver!) and hauling from PA to NJ took about 3 hours, a great many dollars, and many trucker stories about Pennsylvania titty-bars that are clearly much more lax and wild than the ones back in Brooklyn.
Finally, at the tire shop in NJ, they started working on my car after I instructed them in the use of the F1 transmission, and thankfully they were able to verify that my rims were fine. While they worked on it I decided to finally go grab my first meal of the day. On my walk back I heard a heard a deep aggressive growl a short distance away, looked up, and soon saw a silver Maserati peeling down the road at high speed. A parked limo driver watched the whole thing and then looked at me silently with a face that said "what the hell?!", to which I had to yell "that's my car" as I bolted back to the station to inform the service manager. The manager was highly upset, and after the technician returned and the manager spoke with him out back the technician was clearly very shaken up, and admitted he just wanted to listen to the engine since it sounded so amazing. They offered a deep discount and an apology which I accepted, and I said that this might just be part of the "ownership experience" I would now need to start planning for. Unfortunately when I returned to the driver's seat I also found he'd accidentally snapped the phone-call microphone bracket while adjusting the rearview, and so again I informed the manager so they could reimburse me once I get it replaced.
But now I was happy because I was finally heading home in time for my anniversary and my new GranSport was driving and responding as I expected it to. I hadn't updated my girlfriend because I wasn't sure until this moment that I would make it. So now I asked my housemate if she could call my girlfriend and tell her that she wanted to drop off an anniversary present from me to my girlfriend's apartment in Little Italy. My girlfriend was out shopping with her sister, but they went home to receive her present. As they waited on the sidewalk for my housemate, she heard a tourist say "is that a Maserati?!", she turned and, as if on cue, an accordion player began playing a romantic tune. She burst out crying, said it was the biggest surprise she had ever had in her life, and I took her to the BBQ restaurant in Brooklyn that we'd ended up at on our first date, where the prickly bartender asked us to stop being so adorable while seated at his bar, until we told him our story.
Everything above occurred before my GranSport had ever seen the inside of my garage.