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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just received through the post the Autumn edition of the Trident, the quarterly magazine of The Maserati Club. Browsing through its pages, thought it would be nice to share the editorial note by Andy Heywood, about the new launch and past memories... enjoy.

by Andy Heywood (c) Trident, Autumn 2006, pp. 9

Another era will soon draw to a close at Maserati. In December, production of the current Coupe and Syder is apparently finishing, ahead of a refit of the line for the new models. As I go to press, Maserati GB has just announced a final edition of the Coupe, to be known as GS Contemporary Classic, which will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show this month. As far as the new models are concerned, we should let the Newlsetter take up the mantle of its title, and all in good time, as there is much unfounded speculation right now.
[NB: the unanticipated presentation, in close doors, of the mock-up at Paris some weeks ago has now put the record straight as to what Maserati desginers want for the new model]

When the production line last closed for a refit in 1997, there was much concern amongst the cognoscenti that then new cars would have lost the essence of the trident. The resulting 3200GT was seen in some quarters as nothing more than a cut-price Farrari and not worth of wearing the Maserati badge. With hindsight, that couldn't have been further from the truth. Firstly, there was the practical; the turbocharged engine had much more in common with previous Biturbo motors than the marketing people would have had you believe at that time. Secondly, there was the dynamic charm; outrageous performance and a road presence that makes Jags and Aston DB7s look invisible, yet still maintaining a subtelty that is totally in keeping with Maserati of old. Then there was the type of customer who bought them; initial anxiety that footballer's WAGs would be cruising the high streets in Asetto Corsas remained unfounded. How many of you reading this would agree that 3200GTs have been bought by 'Maser' people? Finally there was the realisation that these were still hand built cars with limited development and subsequently some niggling problems. Again, had the marketers not tried to present the cars as perfectly built, they would not have disinherited the faithful. As one of my Maserati friends says: owning Maseratis has made him realise that there is more to life than perfection.

The common understanding is that at the launch of a new car, the more of the vehicle that is actually new the better. Distancing oneself from the outgoing model is supposed to be an advantage to new car sales. After all, everyone wants progress. Except, in some ways, the Maserati buyer. With a huge part of the brand image based on its heritage, the Maserati buyer, who is also an individual and more difficult to pigeon hole in marketing terms, may actually need reassurance that there is some cross over from the previous model. It ensures a continuation of the family tree and it has happened in the change from 3200GT to Coupe to Spyder.

But in 1997 it didn't happen.
[NB: nor will happen again with the new model, despite sharing some design features of another current Maserati product...] The new management at Maserati made a conscious decision to ignore this sentiment as they felt that they needed to distance themselves from the Biturbo and in particular De Tomaso. History was almost re-written and it was a thought a large branch of that family tree had been cut down. And while it would be naive to say that one didn't understand the reasons for it, I still believe it was a mistake. It has certainly delayed these newer cars entry into the annals of Maserati history.

However, now that the Coupe has become a classic in its own right (more by the dint of the next car's arrival than being named such, you understand) it will be finally able to sit alongside its predecessors and be judged without the
influence of a marketing department who will have moved on to newer things. And do you know what, after all that I think it will do just fine.


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