Versus the competiton:
It was delivered via fancy automobile carrier, one of those super-protective carriages for cars of such expense or importance they are best transported within the body and atop the wheels of another vehicle.
What irony, I thought.
A car with a base price exceeding $135,000, yet it is too dainty, too special to endure the road rigors of something substantially less expensive.
I mentally dubbed it a “trailer queen” – a car kept dust-covered and garaged until an event such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where the rich and super-rich come out, usually in August, to show off exotic automobiles they seldom drive, or drive gingerly.
It was an error of judgment, a bias inherent in my background as a Louisiana house boy who cleaned the bedrooms and toilets of the wealthy. The 2010 Maserati Gran Turismo Convertible discharged from that transport trailer in the middle of Arlington’s Williamsburg Boulevard in the morning’s wee hours, so as to avoid the terrors of rush-time traffic, turned out to be a beast of a machine.
It was a sexy beast, too.
It’s trademarked “Bianco Fuji Pearlescent” paint, “bianco” being the Italian male variant of the Spanish “blanco,” meaning “fair, white,” shone handsomely in the late-summer sun. Its priapic nose and muscular front fenders – no other way to describe that assemblage – drew wide-mouthed attention everywhere I parked. And that’s “agape” as in lustful, amazed wonder as opposed to the “agape” of nonsexual, spiritual Christian love.
Crowds formed around the Gran Turismo Convertible in Northern Virginia parking lots. Women called out to me, especially when the car’s automatic convertible top was lowered. Some made unprintable verbal offers. My God! If they were cougars, what am I? I am 63, with rapidly thinning and graying hair.
Suddenly I understood why so many Hollywood celebrities are in love with things Maserati. If among your addictions, your greatest need is for unending, envious, worshipful attention, the Maserati Gran Turismo Convertible is the car for you.
But it’s not the one for me. I much prefer private indiscretion over public exposure, the latter of which is patently inescapable in a car with a deliberately provocative body and an exhaust note reminiscent of the call of the wild – or, in this case, the call of all law enforcement personnel within hearing distance.
I felt sheepish every time I pushed the throttle, emitting a deep, bass “varrrooommm,” appearing ready to peel rubber when all I really wanted to do was move gently from “stop.”
The 2010 Maserati Gran Turismo Convertible, with rear-wheel drive, comes with a 4.7-liter, 32-valve, electronically controlled, variable-valve-lift, gasoline-fueled engine (433 horsepower, 361 foot-pounds of torque).
It demands premium fuel. It also demands the freedom of a racetrack, which can’t be found on public thoroughfares in Northern Virginia, or public roads anywhere else, for that matter.
I was happy to see it go, reminded of my early Catholic-school teaching that all approbation and seeming public approval should be treated as the moral equivalents of a Palm Sunday greeting. Some weeks, regardless of your good intentions or best efforts, have a way of ending with a Good Friday.
I had outlived my chances of driving without a traffic ticket, or some other unhappy encounter, in the Gran Turismo Convertible. I smiled as it was retrieved, lifted into the cushioned elegance of that fancy automobile carrier to be delivered to another Walter Mitty of the automotive media. It had outworn its welcome in my psyche. A Hollywood celebrity I am not, and could never, ever be.