Maybe I’m Not A Bad Person

I had two vivid dreams last night/this morning, the first of which led to this post title. The first dream was about my being in a hospital visiting a very ill boy who was receiving experimental treatment. I don’t know what my connection was to him.

After I left the room–for reasons unknown–I heard a Code Blue call for his room. I rushed back to find doctors and nurses working frantically to revive him. I moved closer and spoke to him imploring him to get better. All of a sudden, the boy opens his eyes and all of us in the room are elated. I began to jump for joy, literally. The feeling of happiness was overwhelming.

The second dream was far more typical. I have to find a weird address, something like 89 EXCT, but it is important that I find it although I don’t know why. My car’s GPS kept taking me to wrong addresses in neighborhoods that seemed more dangerous each time. (My Z06 actually doesn’t have navigation, but it does have Apple CarPlay so I could use the Maps app on the phone.) Something compels me to continue looking despite my growing sense of danger.

Once again, it can be hell to live inside my head.

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Thanks to my friend and neighbor John and his sons Steven and Nick for accompanying me to the annual Wheels and Wings/Open House event yesterday at Sky Ranch Airport in nearby Carefree, Arizona. Although we arrived about 15 minutes before the scheduled beginning time, as is custom here the venue was already crowded.

Steven is actually a licensed pilot, which I did not know. His knowledge of aircraft was most appreciated. All three of them are confirmed gearheads. The turnout was unbelievable. Without further ado:

 

 

The cars were grouped by similar type. These two photos were from the British row. There was a Corvette row, a German row, etc.

 

 

Now for some wings:

 

 

Yes, it was a beautiful day in Carefree. The weather here this time of year does not suck.

We were treated to a demonstration of an RC aircraft powered by a real jet engine. How much for such a “toy?” How about $12,000-$14,000. I was too slow on the trigger to shoot a video and, besides, videos longer than 10-12 seconds are too large to reliably load into my WordPress media library. Some more car photos:

 

 

This 1965 Pontiac GTO was very sharp. Although I have a strong sentimental attachment to the ’67 GTO, one of which was my first car, I have to admit I’m not sure that I don’t like the looks of the ’65 more.

 

 

Yes, like many Maseratis this 1964 model took my breath away. Yes, next to the Maserati in the top photo is a DeTomaso Mangusta, predecessor to the Pantera. Only about 400 Mangustas were built from 1967 to 1971. I love the car culture here.

 

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#MaybeI’mNotABadPerson

#WheelsAndWings

#Maserati

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Cars A To Z: M

The family whose name is the “M” car never manufactured real road cars, only race cars. The Maserati brothers (five of the six brothers, actually, as the sixth was an artist) had been involved in building race cars since at least 1914. They were building race cars for Diatto when that company suffered major financial difficulties and withdrew from racing in the mid-1920s.

Alfieri Maserati took over the Diatto project and founded Officine Alfieri Maserari SpA in Bologna in 1926. The famed Maserati trident is actually the symbol of the city of Bologna.

In 1938 the remaining Maserati brothers (sadly, Alfieri died in 1932) sold their company to Adolfo Orsi, but nominally remained attached to the company with a ten-year consulting contract. Orsi moved the company to Modena where it remains to this day.

It was under Orsi’s ownership that Maserati built its first real road cars. He wanted to continue to be involved in racing, but felt the real money would be in cars sold to the public.

Maserati has come close to liquidation more than once. In 1968, Citroën purchased a majority stake in Maserati. That partnership led to the amazing Citroën SM:

 

See the source image

 

The SM was Motor Trend car of the year in 1972. Two years later, Peugeot bought about 40 per cent of Citroën as a first step to taking over the company. The new owner wanted nothing to do with Maserati and, combined with the OPEC oil boycott and resulting world economic downturn, it came close to bankruptcy, but was saved by Alejandro De Tomaso, who had built the legendary Mangusta and Pantera as well as one of my all-time favorites, the Longchamp.

Chrysler bought a small stake in Maserati in 1984, but De Tomaso sold the company to Fiat in 1993 after annual sales had fallen below 1,000. It has been rumored that Fiat bought Maserati under pressure from the Italian government to save the latter. By 1997, Ferrari SpA had purchased half of Maserati with the other half still owned by Fiat. The irony of Ferrari owning its former rival was not lost on anyone.

Of course, Maserati is now part of the Stellantis group which was created when Fiat Chrysler (the owner of Maserati) merged with the French PSA Group. Ironically, Maserati is–once again–part of the same company as Peugeot and Citroën, which were part of PSA.

As I have written before, my Maserati obsession started very early, when my age was still in single digits. This rendering was the spark:

 

 

This rendering of a 5000 GTI is from The Golden Guide To Sports Cars, which was published in 1966 and purchased by me in 1968 or 1969 through my elementary school’s book buying program. One look at that and I was a Maserati guy.

Except for the MC-12, Maserati has never really made supercars. They have made great looking cars with good performance. The newest model, the MC20, is closer to being a supercar than previous models. A photo of said vehicle:

 

See the source image

 

I am hoping to see one of these in person before too much longer. Of course, any mention of Maserati has to at least show the legendary Ghibli, the first Ghibli, manufactured from 1967 to 1973.

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

For part of my teenage years I thought this car was the best looking automobile of all time. It still looks great to me.

Even as part of a large automobile conglomerate, the future of Maserati is far from secure. Ominously, worldwide sales fell from 51,500 in 2017 to 19,300 in 2019 and that was before the damn virus. Sales fell another 12 percent in 2020. Even with an SUV as part of its portfolio and the “promise” of hybrids and pure EVs, Maserati seems to have lost its way. I don’t know if any shining knight à la Alejandro De Tomaso still exists.

 

#CarsAToZ

#Maserati

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Decem

Despite my not posting for a good chunk of the month, November had the highest number of unique visitors for any month in the history of Disaffected Musings. It also had the third highest number of views and would have easily had the highest if I had posted on a more regular schedule from the beginning. Thanks for reading and please tell your friends. I’ll spare you the longer commercial today.

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According to Wikipedia, “December got its name from the Latin word decem (meaning ten) because it was originally the tenth month of the year in the calendar of Romulus c. 750 BC which began in March. The winter days following December were not included as part of any month. Later, the months of January and February were created out of the monthless period and added to the beginning of the calendar, but December retained its name.”

Of course, this is the last month of 2020, a year of scourges. Maybe the following news, from CNBC, is a ray of hope:

 

CDC panel to vote Tuesday on who gets vaccine first

A CDC panel is set to vote Tuesday on who will be first in line to get a Covid-19 vaccine once one is authorized by U.S. regulators.

The meeting with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an outside group of medical experts that advises the CDC, comes after Moderna and Pfizer requested emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for their Covid-19 vaccines. Vaccine doses could be distributed in the U.S. in as little as two weeks. [emphasis mine]

Medical experts have said health-care workers should get the vaccine first, followed by vulnerable Americans, including the elderly, people with preexisting conditions and essential workers. The CDC will follow ACIP’s guidance, but states are not obligated to do so.

 

Of course, some would say the CDC has played a role in the havoc that has occurred with its inconsistent messaging and “guidance.” Some would ask why the FDA is waiting until next week to “evaluate” the requests from Moderna and Pfizer. Anyway, some real weapons are on the way.

My long-time friend, the estimable Dr. Hoss, has made out well investing in “vaccine stocks.” As a Ph.D. in a difficult science discipline from an Ivy League school, he is among the sharpest knives in the drawer. He was warning me about the damn virus well before it reached the public radar screen. He is also optimistic that these new vaccines, created with new technology, will make a real difference. His belief is echoed by many doctors in the field of public health.

Let’s hope it really is at least another 100 years before another scourge like this is unleashed on the world.

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On this day in 1914, and in the middle of The Great War, Maserati was founded in Bologna, Italy. The five Maserati brothers had been involved in automobile racing/building for more than a decade when they founded the company, which was almost exclusively a racing company and not one that manufactured cars for the street.

The brothers that were still alive sold the company to the Adolfo Orsi family in 1937 and they moved the company headquarters to Modena, where it remains to this day. (Would have been a nice dovetail if the city name were Moderna, like the pharmaceutical company that has developed a promising vaccine candidate for the damn virus. Hey, Modena is close enough.)

After the crash that killed 16 people, including 13 spectators, at the 1957 Mille Miglia, Maserati moved into building Grand Touring automobiles. I have previously shown the “picture” below, but it’s worth sharing again:

 

 

This rendering of a Maserati 5000 GTI is from The Golden Guide To Sports Cars, first published in 1966 and first purchased by me in 1968 or 1969 through a program sponsored by my elementary school. This copy of the book is one I bought far more recently, but remnants of my original version are still in my possession. I have been a fan of Maserati automobiles since seeing that rendering.

Although wildly impractical, I still hold onto a sliver of hope that one of these will be in our possession in the not too distant future:

 

See the source image

 

A picture of a GranTurismo coupe that I have shown before (from Motor Authority). Hey, they have four seats and a trunk meaning they could function as Grocery Car/Taxi and would certainly qualify as a worthy Corvette Companion. Yes, I know: too expensive to acquire and to maintain, too long for the garage, too valuable to park outside, too small a backseat. Details can be a pain in the ass.

 

#December

#Maserati

#MaseratiGranTurismo

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Maserati Friday

2015 Maserati Gran Turismo MC

This is the picture I will be looking at for the month of August in my office. If you can read the small caption at the bottom right, you can see that it is a picture of a 2015 Maserati GranTurismo MC. Like many cars made by Maserati in its long history, I think it is a work of automotive art.

This Business Insider review by Benjamin Zhang sums up the feelings of many auto enthusiasts:

“Maserati has always been a bit of an oddball to me. While brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini are well defined in their identities, Maserati exists mostly in pop culture as a representative for all things mysterious, European, and very expensive.

In short, most people know Maserati but have no idea what it really is.

And cars like the GranTurismo only goes to reinforce the brand’s mythical stature.

First things first, the Maserati GranTurismo is pretty. Not just any kind of pretty, but the achingly attractive kind where you can’t help but stare. The kind of pretty that makes you fall in love with the car in spite of all that is wrong with it.”

Except for the very limited production MC12, Maserati has never produced a supercar with 700/800 HP or more. Even though the name “Maserati” is famous, the Maserati brothers actually sold their interest in the company in 1937 after beginning production of road cars (as opposed to race cars) in 1926.

The Maserati company has endured more than its share of hard times. The company was acquired by Citroën in 1968 only to see Citroën go bankrupt in 1974. As part of reorganization, Citroën announced that Maserati would be liquidated, which created quite a furor in Italy. Alejandro de Tomaso became President and CEO (and part-owner) under the auspices of the Italian state-owned holding company GEPI.

Fiat acquired sole ownership of Maserati in 1993. In the interim, Chrysler had purchased a stake in Maserati that it held for a short time. Ironically, of course, Fiat and Chrysler became linked again when the former purchased majority stake in the latter after the Chrysler bankruptcy.

In 1998, the introduction of this car helped put Maserati on sound footing:

See the source image

From autoevolution.com a picture of a Maserati 3200 GT. With a Ferrari engine (the two former rivals “joined forces” under the Fiat banner) and stunning looks, the 3200 GT made quite a mark. In my previous blog, the 3200 GT was on the list of cars that just missed the cut for my Ultimate Garage.

At present, it seems as though the focus of Maserati is on its two sedans (the Ghibli and Quattroporte) and its SUV, the Levante. However, the Gran Turismo is still part of the lineup, at least for now. I guess one should be thankful for whatever one can.