The best of 2020!

A few weeks ago, “Time” magazine dubbed 2020 the worst year ever. Given wars, natural catastrophies and other things that hit some of us every now and then this may be a bit exagerrated, but most of us are no doubt happy to leave 2020 behind, hoping for a 2021 where notably vaccines will help us revert to a more normal life!

For the blog it’s been an exciting year and thanks to you, dear reader, a very positive one. We have never before had so many readers and in the digital age it sure is nice to see people who share our passion for cars but also for the written word! Therefore, let me first express a sincere thank you to all of you! In this last post of the year I wanted to provide a recap on the content you have most appreciated on our different topics of sports cars, classic cars, other cars, F1 and what you could refer to as “other news” from the car industry. I’ll obviously provide links to the posts referred to in case you’ve missed them, or want to catch up on them again.

Sports cars

This is the largest category in terms of reader interest, and the post that by a margin caught most of your attention in this section was the one titled “The best Ferrari is a Maserati” that I actually published last year but that saw continued interest this year. I talked about the merits of the Maserati 3200 GT and the tremendous value for money it provides when compared to Ferraris of the same type, especially the 3200 GT’s powered by the naturally aspirated Ferrari V8! Luckily values haven’t really gone up since so there is still a bargain to be had.

The 3200 GT is still going strong it seems!

Next to that lovely Maserati, you also found the post on the most interesting sports car launches in 2021 of interest. More than any other this post made clear that the trend is indeed electric, even in the supercar segment, and that traditional supercars like the new Maserati MC20 are becoming few and far between. Given most engine sounds are more or less artificial anyway these days, why can’t they make an electric car sound like a naturally aspirated V12?

Classic cars

In the classic car segment, it was nice to see that the topic of classic cars as investments caught your attention. As most real assets classic cars have seen steep increases in value during the last decade and the days when you could find something that was really out of value are gone. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider a classic car and it actually cuts to the core of that post, namely that you should do so because you love the car and love driving it, rather than for financial reasons.

Financially a homerun – but how many get to be driven?

In terms of specific classics it was not much of a surprise to see that how much 911 you get for a budget set at EUR 100.000 was of interest, and although that budget buys you less today than ten years ago, it still gets you a lot of Porsche. Even though values have increased, there is still few cars give you as much driving pleasure, combined with if not increasing, then at least very stable future values! I was perhaps a bit more surprised to see that the Jaguar XJ-S had as much attention as the 911 and perhaps it’s a very different car, but no less interesting!

The 911 remains a very popular retiree!

Other cars – or future classics

In this slightly diverse category that includes the cars that are not yet classics but maybe will become so one day, or that are simply interesting from some other perspective (usually irresistible value for money…) you especially liked two posts: the one on the BMW F12/F13 (i.e. the 640/650) and the one on the Bentley Continental GT. As some of you know, a bit later in the year I sold my old Triumph and bought a 650 Convertible for the proceeds (more about that here), so I’m with you all the way on that one!

Before deciding on the 650 there were a large number of cars on the list of potential candidates. The Bentley Continental GT was somewhere on there as well and in many ways it’s an irresistible package, but it wasn’t for me. It doesn’t change the fact that I’ll always be envious of those of you who go ahead with what could be the bargain of your life!

A lot of car (incl in kgs!) for the buck

F1

The F1 season was indeed a strange one, but also a record one for Lewis who clinched his seventh title. Thanks for your interest in the posts where I’ve also tried to provide a bit of insight into what happens when the track lights go out. Next year will definitely be an interesting one with more teams competing for race wins, great driver line-ups and if we’re lucky, perhaps also with spectators on the stands!

He did it again – for the 7th time!

Other news

Looking at news around the car industry, many of you were intersted in my favourite car Youtubers, and I hope you’ve also enjoyed some of them. If I was to re-do that list today it would look a bit different, but that only highlights the richness of what’s out there. You also liked the story around Aston Martin and its new boss Tobias Moers who brings both long experience but also an ownership share of AMG, hopefully a combination that will be sufficient to secure Aston’s future.

Ultimately, this is what it’s about…

Also judging by numbers, if there’s something you would like me to hear less about, that’s electric cars, be it Tesla (that’s been featured a number of times) or general input around EV’s. That’s absolutely fine, we’ll try to keep the focus in 2021 on engines with cylinders, powered by petrol!

With that, again a big thank you for your support during this year and if you haven’t done so yet, then do indeed follow the blog (top right corner)!

A Happy New Year 2021!

The best Ferrari is a Maserati

Always dreamt of a youngtimer Ferrari but didn’t get to it before prices sky-rocketed? You’re not the only one, which is why this week I bring you an idea that gets you very close to the real thing without ruining you, even giving you the option of bringing your children along – provided they are small with very thin legs. I am, quite obviously, talking about the Maserati 3200/Coupé.

The Maserati 3200 GT was launched in 1998 and became famous for its ultra-cool, boomerang-shaped rear lights. It was produced until 2002 with an 8-cylinder, twin-turbo Maserati engine developing 370 hp. It was replaced in the same year by the Maserati Coupé, looking basically the same but for the rear lights – you see, the Coupé would mark Maserati’s return to the US market after an 11-year absence, and apparently, someone had come to the conclusion that the US didn’t like boomerang lights. Judge by yourself…

The biggest change between the 3200 and the Coupé was under the bonnet, where the previous engine was replaced by a naturally aspirated, 4.2 litre Ferrari unit, developing 390 hp and 450 nm of torque. You may ask how this happened, but Ferrari had taken over the helm at Maserati within the Fiat group already in the late 90’s, so it was therefore not a question if, but rather when Ferrari engines would move into Maseratis.

Next to the regular Coupé version there was a Spyder and a Gransport, a sportier version of the Coupé available both as a manual and with the semi-automatic Cambiocorsa gearbox. Whatever you do, do not buy a Cambiocorsa car. Ever. That box was bad even by the standards 20 years ago and it certainly isn’t any better today.

The 3200 and subsequently the Coupé were both well received by the market notably for their styling, handling and luxurious inerior, with the Coupé also being voted best GT in the US in 2002, the same year it was introduced. Handling-wise the car is more of a GT than a true sports car, although the Gransport muddles that line a bit. The naturally aspirated Ferrari V8 doesn’t muddle any lines at all though, it’s a brilliant engine with a brilliant sound, slightly muted with the standard exhaust but with plenty of sport exhausts and aftermarket options to choose from! It’s also generally considered more reliable then the previous Maserati unit from the 3200 GT.

A Maserati is not an Audi, but that’s precisely its charm. Buttons are not always where you expect to find them, every seam will not be perfect and seats may not have heating. Either you like it or you don’t, and if you don’t, then this is not for you anyway. But if you have some Italianità in you, how on earth could you resist an interior such as the one below?

Early 3200 GT’s with high mileage today start at around EUR 15.000 whilst a good Gransport can be had for around EUR 25.000. Don’t go for the cheapest, and do spend money on a good inspection before you buy – this will never be a cheap car to run, but there are degrees in hell… If you’re speculating on rising values, an early 3200 with the boomerang lights and low mileage is the one to get. If you’re in it for the drive, go for a good Coupé Gransport. You will then be driving a good-looking, Ferrari-powered and well-behaved Maserati for a quarter of what a not-so-nice-looking-or-handling Testarossa will cost you today! But whatever you do, don’t forget it’s a 6-gear manual you want!