When Italian Motors' Sancy Chan told us 15 Maserati Quattroportes had ferried European leaders around Rome for the October 29 signing of the European Constitution, we asked her how the Italian marque's 4.2-litre, 400-brake-horsepower flagship was selling here.
We hadn't seen any around town (apart from at an Italian Consulate Trade show at Times Square) and we were getting worried, because, as we told you last year, the ($1.388 million) Quattroporte is an impressive car.
'Our entire allocation for the second half of 2004 - 25 cars - has been sold,' Chan says. 'We're now taking orders for 2005.' We urge the Quattroporte's owners to bring out their new Maseratis, not only to show the world that Hong Kong's rich can still afford and safely park the latest, flashiest motors, but to remind us all who pays the big taxes around here.
'The tax amount, included in the price [of a new Quattroporte], is $604,000,' says Italian Motors chief Herbert Adamczyk. 'Most are ordered with about $80,000 worth of optional accessories, so there's another $40,000 for the government.
'To date, we've delivered 12 of the 25 Quattroporte allocated for this year. We've asked Maserati to supply 60 next year, but we may get only 40.'
Chan says the first 2005 Coupe is expected to arrive next month. The demonstrator of the new Gransport arrives this week, but Chan says the euro's strength could raise prices. For now, prices are: Gransport, $1.238 million; Spyder Cambiocorsa, $1.088 million; and Coupe Cambiocorsa, $1.038 million.
Chan also says Italian Motors (tel: 2529 2280) would like to revive the dormant Maserati Club of Hong Kong, which is great news. The marque celebrated its 90th anniversary in September with a blue special-edition Spyder, but its real birthday is less than a month away.
'On December 1, 1914, Alfieri Maserati founded Societa Anonima Officine Alfieri Maserati, on Via de' Pepoli 11 in Bologna,' says the marque, which moved to Modena in 1939. 'The company specialised in preparing cars for road competitions. The first Maserati was the Tipo 26, which immediately gained a win in its class at the Targa Florio in 1926.'
Finally, when we told you how Alan Luk's cheeky little 1958 Austin A35 stole the supercars' limelight in the Beas River Country Club car park, reader Rodger Lynch wrote in. 'I have fond memories of the Austin A35 and A30, too,' he says.
'My first journey away from home without my mum or dad was in 1964 [at age six], in my Auntie Merle's Austin A30, and what a journey it was. More than 1,000km from my home in New Zealand's capital, Wellington, to the northern city of Auckland for my cousin's wedding and back.' Lynch says the A30 did a lot of huffing and puffing climbing through the mountains and out on the open road.
'There was often a line of cars waiting to get past us,' he says. 'The big Ford Zephyrs and Holden Specials would eventually glide past, their owners with a smile for us.'
He says making a turn was the highlight in the A30. 'It had a nice, big chunky indicator knob in the middle of the dashboard with a red flashing light. Aunt Merle would call out 'left' or 'right' and I would flick it to the left or right, then flick it back again after aunty had safely completed her turn.'