Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - Fred­eric Manby fred­

DENT, the other day, in a Maserati. I’d been vis­it­ing a mem­ber of my fam­ily who could ac­tu­ally af­ford a Maserati.

In­deed, he’d or­dered one years ago at a London mo­tor show but the wait­ing list was so long that he or­dered a BMW in­stead. Ap­par­ently, that never graced his fore­court ei­ther, but at least with the Maserati of that era he may have saved him­self me­chan­i­cally in­duced grief.

To­day’s “Maser” is, as far as I can tell, worth your money if you value im­mense per­for­mance and hand­build­ing. How it holds its value is an­other is­sue. Resid­u­als get a happy nod from the trade ex­perts.

The Granturismo is per­haps the best-look­ing coupé of the moment. That’s all per­sonal pref­er­ence. One can’t prove these things. Con­tenders in­clude Jaguar’s XK and any As­ton Martin.

For my money, as if, the Maserati has the hun­gri­est front, a glo­ri­ous mouth set off by the tri­dent em­blem in the aper­ture.

By heck, as they may say in Dent­dale, this Ital­ian car is so lovely. Its rar­ity (Maserati will sell about 500 cars this year) means that peo­ple look.

“Nice car,” shout young­sters.

Ev­ery­where we went, this car at­tracted eyes and ears. Be­ing painted white helped. The V8 en­gine, whether the 4.2 or, as tested, the 4.7 in Granturismo S (GTS) trim, makes some of the groovi­est sounds; louder than a Jag, maybe more sonorous than an As­ton, taunt­ing Maserati’s

The V8 en­gine makes some of the groovi­est sounds; louder than a Jag, more sonorous than an As­ton.

brother, Fer­rari, in the Fiat Group.

You may not know Dent­dale. In its en­try from the top, its river runs through trees over flat bed rock swirled and eroded by cen­turies of peaty brown beck wa­ters from the fells. By the time it reaches the lit­tle town of Dent, the dale has widened.

This is the land of my grand­mother Fothergill, and I love it. Leav­ing her nephew’s house, I had an ice cream moment and left the white road star in the vil­lage car park, briefly enough to ig­nore the £1.50 min­i­mum charge.

Back in the car park, lick­ing the Lose­ley, I was col­lared by an ul­tra-smart, ut­terly po­lite gent in walk­ing slacks and a nice blue shirt.

“Are you the owner of that lovely car?” he in­quired. I replied no, but I had the keys in my pocket, and was ready with the ba­sic de­tails I was sure he was af­ter, such as: 4.7-litre, 440 horse power V8, 86,000 quid plus, etc.

“Have you got a park­ing ticket?” he asked.

No, I said, reck­on­ing here was some­one look­ing for a re­dun­dant ticket from a de­part­ing driver. Let me tell you, such cheap­skates do ex­ist.

Would I then care to buy one, he in­quired, adding that such monies paid for the up­keep of the area, nicely laid out with grass over paving blocks; iron­i­cally, the sort of thing from which my kins­man made a liv­ing.

Please, mis­ter, I have only been here a few min­utes for the ice cream. Did I still have to pay? Yes, if I wouldn’t mind. I handed him the cash with a free smile and went off to en­joy the car, slightly miffed at be­ing caught out as a sk­in­flint dodger.

How jolly shy-mak­ing. The GTS soon brought back the equi­lib­rium and feel­ings that all was re­ally won­der­ful. It is a smile-maker, a heart­starter, a head-turner, a car that cheers, though prey to vigilante car-park vol­un­teers.

The car: It seats four peo­ple am­ply with rea­son­ably easy ac­cess be­cause the front seats run for­ward on elec­tric power. This is where my sis­ter sat, coo­ing about how it made such won­der­ful noises and felt like be­ing in a space ship.

I don’t know how she knows about space travel but Su­san was right about the noise.

The GTS has a full suite of elec­tronic han­dling aids, with dial-up set­tings for things like the elec­tric park­ing brake. It is all very mod­ern, so it is strangely al­most retro to start the car with a con­ven­tional key rather than a push-but­ton or by wink­ing sug­ges­tively at the dash­board.

The six-speed au­to­matic gear­box shifted sweetly, with the op­tion to use up and down pad­dles be­hind the steer­ing wheel – which is ad­justed for height and reach by an elec­tric mo­tor.

It all felt, as they say, well screwed to­gether. There were a cou­ple of dis­cor­dant items. There was a slight res­o­nance, pos­si­bly in a si­lencer baf­fle.

The chin can catch on exit ramps, with the front num­ber plate vul­ner­a­ble but this is be­cause it is hung low, not to mask the glory of that ovalised mouth. I fi­nally dis­lodged it when park­ing in the field at Gar­grave Show.

The pic­ture at the back is not quite as win­some, pos­si­bly marred by the rear lights which re­call those on the Mon­deo, where they look bet­ter.

Pic­tures Fred­eric Manby.

SEE­ING IS BE­LIEV­ING: The glo­ri­ous Maserati Gran Cabrio.

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