I Think That It’s Time for Summer!

I don’t know what the weather is like in other parts of the country, but where I live, it’s time to bring out the cars that have tops that go up and down (gasp)!  Let’s talk roadsters.

A roadster can refer to a two passenger car with a (typically) skimpy cloth (canvas, vinyl, etc) top that barely keeps the elements out of your face.  They used to have removable side curtains rather than glass windows.  Brrrrrr!  But, roadsters have evolved much over the past 50 years.  Today, there are fun-to-drive roadsters that are every bit as easy (thank G-d for ABS and rack and pinion) to drive, as they are plush and costly (I’m talking to you Mercedes-Benz SL, Chevy Corvette, and Porsche Boxster!).

The term can also relate to the IndyCars of the late 1950s-early 1960s which had their powerful engines at the front tipped sideways, which forced the driveshaft from the transmission to the rear wheels ran right next to the driver’s seat instead of underneath it (both VERY bad ideas!).  What the designers came out with was a lower, wider car which looked like a two-seater, yet barely accommodated the driver.  Here’s some examples of both types of roadsters.

Indy Roadster

1957 MERCEDES 300 SL

Maserati to the Seventh Power

Beautiful, fast, and sporty.  The definition of a Maserati.  As we all know, Maserati is one of the best automakers in the world that offers cars that you can actually afford (all right, maybe not in our current economical state, and if the comparison occurs with a Fiskar-KArma, Bugatti or high end Ferrari).  They are more fun to drive and ride in (personal experience) than some Porsches, and are really cool.  They have cars ranging from $120,000 to $170,000.  Are you ready to hear about the long history of Maserati? Well, I’ll take that as a yes.

Rodolfo and Carolina Maserati had seven sons (!) : Carlo (1881), Bindo (1883), Alfieri (1885-1885).  Since poor Alfieri died at only five months of age, Rodolfo and Carolina decided to  name their next son Alfieri (1887-1953) after him.  After Alfieri #2, they had Mario (1890), Ettore (1894), and Ernesto (1898).  All of the Maserati brothers except for Mario (who was the artist that designed the iconic Maserati Trident) were involved in the engineering, design, and construction of cars.

Carlo moved from his hometown of Bologna, Italy to Affori (near Milan) to work in a bicycle factory.  During his free time, he designed and built a small, single-cylinder engine.  Carlo was wooed away from the small factory to Carcano bikes.  There, he raced Carcano bikes with the engine that he designed.  While there, he won a few races and set a record for 50km/h (31 mph).

In 1901, Carlo moved from Carcano to Fiat, and two years later, he landed a job for the rest of his life at Isotta Fraschini.  Because he was a test driver and a mechanic, he was able to get Alfieri #2 a job there as a backup test driver, despite the fact that he was only 16.  Carlo had a brilliant, yet short career, dying at the young age of 29 in 1910.  But, by that time, Carlo had worked and raced for Bianchi, become General Manager of Junior, and started his own workshop with Ettore, where they made high and low voltage electrical transformers for cars.

In 1908, Alfieri #2 soon emerged as Carlo’s spiritual successor.  He had the same extroverted personality, and the same (if not better) skills as Carlo as a driver and technician.  Also, Isotta Fraschini gave Alfieri a car of his own to race.  Alfieri did well, taking 14th place overall in the 1909 Grand prix for Voiturettes in Dieppe, despite his carburetor leaking gasoline.  In the meantime, Bindo and Ettore had also joined Isotta Fraschini.  In 1912, Alfieri was put in charge of the customer service division of Isotta Fraschini, after having represented the company in Argentina, England, and the USA.  He soon hired Ettore as assistant manager of the customer service division of Isotta Fraschini.

Because of the wide-ranging experiences that he had accumulated through his career, Alfieri convinced himself that it was time to start a company of his own. He wanted to explore his talents and creativity to their fullest extent.  It worked.  Officine Alfieri Maserati was founded on December 1, 1914.

After WWI, Maserati moved from their bombed-out offices in Via de Pepoli (in Bologna) to brand-new offices in the suburbs outside of Bologna.  The Maserati brothers’ main activity was making Isotta Fraschini cars better (more power, better handling, etc).  Of course, to earn more money, they worked on other cars.  Since Alfieri had begun his career as a race-car driver, he kept on racing tuned Isotta Fraschinis.  Diatto offered him a chance to design and race cars with them.  He took them up on the racing part.

Unfortunately, in 1924, after having dominated the San Sebastiano Grand Prix, he was banned from racing for five years, even though he had retired from the race the day before.  The ban was to last five years, but Alfieri begged hard enough, and the ban was lifted after only four months.

When he wasn’t racing, Alfieri could be found in the shop tuning a Isotta Fraschini for a customer or simply building his own cars.  In 1926, the grueling 18 hours every day in the shop payed off, and the first Maserati, the Tipo 26, proudly bore the Maserati Trident.  Just to prove how good his car was, Alfieri Maserati drove the car himself for the 1926 Targa Floria.  The Tipo 26 won in its class.  The Maserati was born and out in the world.

The following year, Alfieri was sidelined after a serious accident involving a Mercedes-Benz.  But, even with the great driver sidelined for that race, Ettore won the Italian Constructors’ Championship.  Two years later, just to stick their tongue out at the Germans, the Maserati V4 was created.  With a massive 10.3 liter V16 producing in excess of 500 horsepower, the V4 dominated the Italian Grand Prix while setting the the world Class C record at 152.5 mph for 10 km.

In 1931, the 4CTR and the front-wheel-drive 8C 2500 came out.  The 8C 2500 was the last car to be designed by Alfieri Maserati, who died on March 3, 1932.  A crowd of well over 15,000 attended his funeral in Bologna, including factory workers, race-car drivers, friends, family, and just ordinary people who came to mourn the great man who had done so much to promote his company and himself.  However, Alfieri’s death did not even come close to discouraging the Maserati family.  Bindo quit his job at Isotta Fraschini to race at Maserati.  His brothers Ettore and Ernesto took care of business, production, and management.

The following year, in 1933, one of the world’s greatest racers, Tazio Nuvolari joined Maserati as head of the racing division.  He made a significant technical contribution to Maserati – adapting the current chassis to the characteristics of the new 3.0 liter in-line eight cylinder engine.  To prove just how good it was, he drove it to three first place victories at: the Belgian Grand Prix, Nice, and Montenero.  Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union weren’t happy with just second and third-place finishes – they wanted first.  So, they started an assault on the racing scene that lasted until WWII.  This assault was backed by the Nazis.  Of course, this made life very difficult for Maserati, yet they kept winning smaller, national races.

Even though the Maserati brothers didn’t need the extra money, they sold all their shares to the Orsi family in Modena, Italy.  The company moved from Bologna to the now quite historic headquarters on Viale Ciro Menotti in Modena, Italy.  The Maserati brothers stayed on as chief engineers until 1948.

In 1939 and 1940, Maserati won the Indianapolis 500 with Wilbur Shaw at the wheel of the Maserati 8CTF.  To this day, Maserati is the only Italian automaker to have ever won the Indy 500 once, let alone twice.

During WWII, Maserati helped with the war effort, making machine tools, electrical components, spark plugs for tanks, and electric vehicles for the Axis.  Maserati also attempted to build a V16 car for Benito Mussolini, but the plans were scrapped when Ferry Porsche of Volkswagen built one for Adolf Hitler, and Mussolini never got his V16 towncar because the Volkswagen factory was bombed.  However, Maserati returned to their original activities after the war, making the GT race-car; the A6G CS.  The car did well on the post-war racing scene, bringing in some important victories such as the: 1949 Modena endurance race (where it debuted), and some local races on dirt tracks.

Maserati was desperately in need of a new Chief Engineer, and Gioacchino Colombo was the man for the job.  He retuned the A6GCM, making it THE car to beat for the 1953 racing scene, despite tough competition from Ferrari, Talbot, Mercedes-Benz, and other racing companies.

In 1957, the great Maserati racing driver won the fifth World Title in a row (the first time for Maserati), in the Maserati 250F.  This historic win at the Nürburgring in 1957 is considered by very many racing historians to be one of the greatest drives in the history of auto-racing.

Even though Maserati officially announced that they were retiring from racing in 158, they kept making iconic race-cars like the Birdcage for private teams.  They also supplied Formula 1 racing engines to other companies who had bodies and transmissions, but not engines.  The Birdcage was such a good race-car that the Camoradi racing team with such legendary drivers as: Sir Stirling Moss (when he was still Stirling Moss), Carroll Shelby, Masten Gregory, and Dan Gurney all taking turns behind the wheel at different races.  A little-known fact about Carroll Shelby is his last race was at the wheel of a Birdcage!  He then went off to start a world-known performance company.  Maserati would encounter stiff competition from the Shelby Cobra.

In 1958, Maserati came out with their first road car ever; the 3500 GT.  This car helped start a very important, new era for Maserati.  Because of this, Maserati’s main goals were sales of road and race-cars, and the plant was consequently expanded by 20,000 square feet.  In 1962, Maserati decided to dive into these new waters, and the Maserati Sebring was born.  The following year, the first modern sports sedan, the Quattroporte, was on lots.  Soon after the Quattroporte, the Maserati Mistral Coupé and Mistral Spider were introduced in 1963, and 1964, respectively.  In 1967, Maserati introduced the Ghibli Coupé, and two years later a convertible was on dealer lots.

The year 1968 brought big changes for Maserati.  Citroën bought Maserati.  Three years later, Maserati introduced the first mass-produced mid-engine Maserati; the Maserati Bora.  The same year, a Maserati-engined Citroën SM won the Morocco Rally.  Soon after, the Maserati Merak and the Maserati Khasmin came into production.  Maserati’s were in high demand then, but the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and the resulting oil crisis almost killed Maserati.  However, Maserati had enough courage to build the Merak SS.  Citroën signed a deal with Peugeot, but announced the Maserati had gone into liquidation.  Italians were enraged.  On May 23, 1975, Maserati was taken over by GEPI, an Italian government program.  For two long years, Maserati was propped up by government funds, but on August 8, 1975, Maserati was bought by the Benelli company, and Alejandro De Tomaso, a former race-car driver from Argentina became Managing Director.

With some difficulty, De Tomaso was able to get Maserati going again.  The Maserati Kyalami and Quattroporte III, were both in production in vast quantities.  In the 1980s, a new era came for Maserati.  Maserati basically abandoned the mid-engine idea to produce chunky, agressive, fun-to-drive, cheaper cars.  Thus, the Maserati Biturbo was born.  For almost 13 years, the Maserati Biturbo was in production, with over 30 different variants built, the last being a milestone for the next Maserati’s: the Maserati Shamal and the Maserati Ghibli II.  During this time period, a major recession hit the U.S. economy, forcing Maserati and other storied Italian automakers to withdraw from those markets and hone their skills in on Europe.  It was in 1993 that Maserati was finally thrown a lifeline.  Fiat Auto bought the entire share capital of Maserati.  Unfortunately, Fiat “had” to sell Maserati to Ferrari.

In 1997, Ferrari was the new owner of Maserati.  Up until a year before, Maserati and Ferrari had both been hotly competing on the street and track.  It seemed like they had gotten over their differences, and were lending each other a helping hand.  To celebrate, Maserati temporarily shut down their plant in Modena, and reopened it within six months.  The new facility was state-of-the-art, with some areas where visitors could literally touch the cars!

Since the calendar year 2002, Maserati’s have been sold in the U.S.  The cars that Maserati decided to sell in the U.S. were the Maserati Coupé, and the Maserati Spyder.  The following model year, Maserati unveiled the Quattroporte sport sedan.

In 2007, Maserati unveiled the GranTurismo, which has gone on to be one of the most successful Maserati’s of all time.  Since then, Maserati has exceeded sales by over 50%, introduced three new models, won many racing championships, and now employs 696 people in 60 different countries.  Now THAT’S what I call good!

Just to Let You Know.

Because of the Mount Everest-sized piles of homework that I have, I will be unable to post for the following week.  Tune back in on next Tuesday (the 24th) for a post that should make up for the week off (NOT a vacation…)!

All the ways of Going to Market in the State of Maine.

The State of Maine is a very rough (read pretty and natural) state.  The edge of Maine’s coastline is dotted with thousands and thousands of inlets that resonate with the booming of waves.  The rest of the state has flat plains, forests that would send lumberjacks running for the napalm, and mountains high enough to give an astronaut vertigo.  The people who take their goods over the mountains of this pristine state always seem to have the toughest vehicles ever.  The Cole Land Transportation Museum tells the whole story of it.

The Cole Museum is a logical and remarkably correct collection of Maine (street) transportation throughout the year.  The descendants of trucker Allie Cole started the museum in 1990, to show visitors to Maine what the Maine way of travel is actually like.

The Cole family is a founding family in terms of Maine’s commercial trucking.  For something that was close to 90 years, Cole’s Express trucks were fixtures on Maine and New England’s highways.  Cole’s Express hauled everything from paper, potatoes, and various other items that start with a “p.”  From 1917 to 1992, Cole’s Express hauled heavy loads way out in Maine.

If you’ve ever visited Maine and wondered “What would I need to get around all of Maine at any given time of the year?,” the Cole Museum offers it all.  If a snowplow pops into your mind, the Cole Museum has it.  Obviously, snow plays an important part in Maine’s ecosystem…  Several snowplows are in the exhibits, including a massive early Linn tracked truck that required a crew of four strong men.  Two of those burly men stood at the back to lever the massive plow wings into position.

Out in the sticks of Maine, roads being plowed really wasn’t much of a guarantee, so most of Maine’s residents are big of DIY’s.  Maybe that’s why there’s a brood of cool old snowmobiles; necessities back out in Maine before they became toys in California. . .

Allie’s son, Galen Cole, came up with the brilliant idea for the museum.  Galen was president and chairman of Cole’s Express from 1955 (when Allie passed away) to 1992, when the business was bought by Roadway.

Galen told Hemmings Motor News “We opened the museum in 1990, and now have more than 200 vehicles.  When we were ready to break ground, I asked all the newspapers in the state to ask if any of their readers had vehicles that they wanted to contribute to the collection.  One of the proudest things in my life is that 77 of our vehicles were donated to us before we ever broke ground.  Our collection is unique in that, besides cars and motorcycles, it documents the commercial vehicle from horse-drawn wagons all the way through the 18-wheeler.”

Then, there are the amazing military vehicles that the Cole family proudly salutes that are included in the displays.  Outside, there are is a memorial honoring all 339 Maine KIA-MIA troopers who fought in the Vietnam War.  Then, there are two more memorials to the Vietnam War: one is a Huey helicopter, and the other one is a M60 tank.  Then, there is a bronze statue of the museum’s Willys JEEP, and a Purple Heart memorial.

From May 1 through November 11 2012, the Cole Land Transportation Museum is open from 9-5 EST, seven days a week.  Their address is: 405 Perry Road, Bangor ME, 04401.  You can call them at: (207) 990-3600.  Their fax number is (207) 990-2653.  The website is colemuseum.org  Admission is $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors 62 and over, AAA admission is $6.00, and anybody 19 and younger is free!

I think I’d better save up for my plane ticket…

A Goodbye to Ferdinand Alexander Porsche.

On a snowy December 11, 1935, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche (known as F.A. to the business world, and Butzi to family and friends) was born to Ferry Porsche and Dorothea Reitz.  He was the grandson of the legendary Ferdinand Porsche, who started the company.  One of his closest cousins was Ferdinand Piëch, the renowned VW Chairman/Engineer.  From kindergarten to his senior year in high school, he attended the Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany.  For his college years, he went to the Ulm School of Design.  But, he was rejected by the board of directors because they doubted his talent.  He immediately found a job at Porsche’s design department, which was then run by Erwin Komenda.

In 1961, he started bringing sketches of cars to Komenda.  In 1960, he brought in the sketch of what we now know as the Porsche 911.  Komenda did not like the design and went ahead designing some unapproved changes to the the project code “901.”  F.A. and Ferry Porsche both complained.  So, Ferry set the main attributes concerning: wheelbase, power stats, suspension, and interior space.  Still, Komenda would not allow the design to go to the engineering department.  So, Ferry and F.A. took their plans across the street to a well-known coachbuilder, Reutter.  Within three years, the car was ready for production.  Just four months before the car was about to be shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Peugeot intervened because they had a trademark protection for any production car that had a “0” in it.  Ferry immediately paid the fine, and the car became the Porsche 911.  His two door, four-seat, rear-engine creation is now one of the best-selling sports cars in history.  Production began in October 1964.

In 1972, he retired from his job as head of Porsche’s design section, and he went out with a bang that was heard on racetracks all over the world.  Thus, the Porsche 904 was born.  The 904 didn’t need to be the 914 (that came later), as it wasn’t a production car.  It was a race car built to win.  And win it did.  In just three years of racing, it won 130 podium wins, and only suffered two major crashes.

After F.A. Porsche left Porsche’s design section to start his own company;  Porsche Design . He started the company in Stuttgart, Germany, but after two years, he moved the company to Zell am See, Austria.  While he was CEO of Porsche Design, he designed a chronograph wristwatch that was produced for almost twenty years by the Swiss watchmaker, Orfina.  It was totally different from other chronograph wristwatches by being made out of matte black chromed steel.  As Porsche Design grew, the product range completely diversified.  Washing machines, nine bathroom designs, various furniture, kitchen knives, television receivers, desk lamps, cool tobacco pipes with air-cooled engine-inspired fins, pens made out of the wire-cloth stuff that is still used for oil lines in racing engines, computer monitors, computer external hard drives, coffee makers, and even a grand piano for the Austrian piano maker, Bösendorfer.  What a slacker…

In 2005, F.A. “Butzi” Porsche retired due to health reasons.  A few years before he retired, he was asked by a journalist about his design work.  His reply was, “”A product that is coherent in form requires no embellishment. It is enhanced by the purity of its form.  Good design should be honest.”

On April 5, 2012, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche died.  The causes of his death were not provided from the Porsche family, Porsche AG, or Porsche Design.  Also, Porsche AG and Porsche Design declined to give more information about survivors when making the announcement.  Butzi Porsche was 76 years old.

Here is a picture of him in 1999, while he was waiting for a brand-new Porsche Boxster.  And he was at the factory!  Picture from January 22, 1999 shows Ferdinand Alexander Porsche next to the logo of German car maker Porsche in Stuttgart.

A Hole Shot (not a half shot!!)

So, a hole shot sounds like it is right out of a golf tournament (for all I know, it could be!).  But, it’s not.  In car-speak, a hole shot is when a drag racer beats his competitor right when the race begins.  Basically, that’s when both racers are coming out of the hole.  The driver that gets a hole shot most likely has a ‘lead-foot’ the size of an elephant, or just has a faster reaction time.  I like the former. . .The winner pulls a hole shot, and the loser is holed.

There you go!  VROOOM!

I Caught Three Whoppers (NOT the candy…)

So, the reason that I was playing hooky Friday is because my dad got an invitation from Maserati of San Francisco, CA to drive their full line of cars!  I guess they made a mistake!  Apparently, we have $240,000 to throw at a Gran Turismo MC. . .One can only hope. . .Anyway, we went to the beautiful property of Raymond Winery in St. Helena, and started out in a smokin’ Royal Blue Maserati Gran Turismo.  Our driving route consisted of going pretty far up Sage Canyon from the Silverado Trail to Lake Hennessey, a local lake on the way up to Lake Berryessa.  On the first (of many) blind curves on the canyon, we almost hit some random guy in a Nissan Altima rental car dropping his girlfriend off (on a busy 2 lane road, on a blind curve).  I was in the front seat while my little sister, and the driving instructor were in the back (with next to no room).  My dad hit the brakes, downshifted with the paddle shifter and swerved.  All while hitting the horn.  Nice multi-tasking, dad!  As soon as we saw a good stretch of straight road, Jeff, our personal race driving instructor had my dad put the Gran Turismo in “Sport” mode.  Immediately, the car got much, much louder as a result of the exhaust opening up.  Then, we felt a tremendous power rush of both horsepower and torque.  We shot up to about 70 mph in about three seconds.  Then, there was a curve.  Even though the suspension of the Gran Turismo is mildly hard, the Gran Turismo MC is harder, yet rides as smooth, just with more road feel.

When we got back, we decided to take the Gran Turismo MC for a spin.  The MC is the fastest, most expensive, most powerful, and coolest stock Maserati to have ever been built.  The body is the same body used for the GT3 Racing Series.  This means that it has a LOT of carbon fiber.  The hood is hand-formed by a little old Italian guy singing an old opera (it’s true!).  The MC has a smooth, controlled ride, yet it has a track-tuned suspension.  Of course, if you own an MC, you can change the suspension setting with a screwdriver.  The MC makes 433 horsepower when it’s not in sport mode.  When it is in sport mode, it makes 444 horsepower, 357 lb-ft of torque, and gets loud enough to shatter an eardrum.  That’s the type of car the neighbors hate. . .When you get up to about 4500 RPMs, you feel a quite noticeable horsepower surge.  Once you get to that level of horsepower, it goes all the way up to 6,500 RPMs, before it downshifts.  When in manual mode, any gear will bring you up to redline and the fuel cutoff before the rev limiter brings the revs down, and upshifts.  On this drive, there were no crazy Nissan drivers, and we were able to go way, way past the speed limit.  We got to 90 mph before we slowed down for a turn.  Also, one cool feature that all the Maserati’s have is when you open or close a door, the window opens about an inch, so there is no vacuum as you open the door.  It’s automatically closes when you close the door.  Pretty cool, huh?

When we got back from our drive in the MC, we decided to take a ride in the Quattroporte GTS.  This has the 433 horsepower, 4.7 liter V8.  I was the one who convinced my dad to drive it, as my little sister’s and the driving instructor’s legs were most likely wanting some room for themselves.  So, I got in the front seat and got myself comfortable.  Then, my butt started hurting a bit.  I thought “I’ll just recline the seat back about an inch or so.”  The moment I put my hand on the little hand joystick thing, my seat started moving up and down, forward and backward, and reclining and other wacky things.  I, of course, freaked out.  I started hearing wild laughter from the back.  I looked back, and there were the driving instructor and my sister playing around with their own controls for MY seat!  The reason that there are controls for the shotgun seat is, when you’re being chauffeured, you can move the shotgun seat forward so your legs have more room.  Anyway, we had a lot of fun on the drive in the Quattroporte GTS and the other Maserati’s.

Here’s some pictures of the cars we drove.  The black sedan is the Quattroporte GTS, the Royal Blue coupe is the Gran Turismo, and the white car that looks like it’s ready to race is the Gran Turismo MC.  The Burgundy Red convertible is the Gran Turismo convertible.  My personal favorite, the Gran Turismo MC.  Why? It’s lovely lines that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rembrandt, it’s 187 mph top speed, and room for four adults.  Who couldn’t love it?

Here’s some words of wisdom from Dad:

“The first thing I realized when driving these awesome cars is that my son would be telling the world of my exploits – but, oh well!  Let’s just hope no Highway Patrol officers are reading this post.

After walking around the vehicle and admiring it’s beautiful craftsmanship, I settled into it’s luxurious seat and familiarized myself with the cockpit layout (very nicely designed, with everything easily readable).  After adjusting my seat,  steering wheel and mirrors, I fired up the sweet sounding engine.  After making sure everyone was buckled (and had said their prayers) I took off for the scenic rolling hills of Napa Valley.  Just to be sure I had a feel for the car’s performance (yeah, that must be the reason) I gunned it out of the driveway, accelerating to 70 mph in a few seconds.  Once everyone was breathing again, I crossed a narrow bridge with an oncoming truck (Jeff wasn’t too sure about that maneuver).  When we hit the Silverado Trail I opened it up a bit and then turned onto Sage Canyon (a road I’ve driven many times before).  Deciding to let the car open up may have been premature, as we immediately came upon the Nissan half off the road – no problem with the magnificent stopping power of 4 wheel Brembo brakes.  I used my time in the GT to get a feel for the road, knowing the best was yet to come.

The next ride was definitely the best.  Driving the Gran Turismo MC was incredible.  This car is perfectly balanced and transmits every piece of the road into your body without any sense of harshness.  After opening it up in sport mode, with it’s perfectly tuned exhaust, I reached Lake Hennessey in what felt like no time at all.  After turning around, I began shooting down the canyon.  Coming upon a steep downhill left-hand curve which immediately switches to a right-hand sharp curve, I noticed a series of long skid marks! Not to be deterred, I simply downshifted and used the engine to steer through in a smooth continuation of power – this car’s amazing!  What my son didn’t know was that Jeff later pulled me aside and admitted he was concerned when I entered that maneuver at 80 mph.  Definitely an amazing vehicle – I’ll take 2!

The Quattroporte GT S was all luxury.  My daughter enjoyed the limo like ride in the back (and messing with her brother’s seat).  For a sedan, there’s nice power, though you definitely feel the weight difference having just driven the GT MC.  Coming back down Sage Canyon, I noticed a glimmer from behind a tree in the distance ahead.  Fearing the worst (read CHP), I downshifted and slowed, only to discover a frightened gentleman checking his mailbox on the side of the road.  The glimmer was sunlight reflecting off his new catalog.  We all had a great laugh at his expense.”

Thanks, Dad! You’re a great guest blogger.

I’d like to give a special thank you to the amazing Raymond Winery staff and property.  Also, Maserati/Ferrari of San Francisco, CA deserves a HUGE thank you for letting my dad drive.  Plus, they do deserve an extremely large thank you from me and my sister for letting us come along.  I’d also like to give a personal thank you to Jeff for his patience and kindness to us.  Thank You!