2002 – 2004 Maserati 4200GT
Aston Martin wrote the book ‘Quality Assurance in the Wild’ and looking back I have no doubt that Maserati’s new owners Ferrari studied that book intently and so the 3200 went about its life with a grin on is face and a hernia under its shirt.
My ‘Check Engine’ light number 10 in 2 years came on as I passed a car doing 70mph. Now any Italian worth his salt will tell you that the most important thing in any Italian made car is the beautiful engine (Enzo Ferrari used to remark – ‘the engine you pay for, the other stuff we give you for free’) and so when the 3200’s many sensors found a problem the engine and throttle went into ‘limp home mode’ – i.e idle speed and no power! Now the teeny flaw in this engineering philosophy is that the driver (yours truly) nearly crashed for want of power and maneuverability. In essence Maserati protected the engine and the driver could figure out any near death experiences himself. I gently asked the foreman to convey this view to Modena and I like to think I had some part in the removal of the ‘Check Engine’ light in subsequent cars.
And so, with some urgency I traded up to the new flappy paddle 4200 GT. The Cambiocorsa was introduced along with a new Ferrrari sourced 4.2 V8 engine. Researchers found that the US would not care for the distinctive boomerang led taillights and alas they were replaced by a squarer type. (Ironic now that all new cars universally carry leds as standard) The 4200 was more refined and the semi-automatic gearbox was an acquired taste but one that I was more than happy to savour every day. Other than that the Stereo was different and instead of 10 problems I only had 2 minor ones. I saw the car again lately and it looks as good as ever. A great and missed friend!
Richard O’Donnell – Aug.2010