What a truly fabulous event!! The Gathering was spread over 3 days with an optional extra day preceding the main event for those wishing to travel to Bologna to view the original Maserati workshop and visit the Piazza del Nettuno to see the famous Neptune Statue which inspired the Maserati logo.
We had left our Mistral Spyder in Modena in April, so our visit commenced with picking up our car from the factory on Tuesday and again meeting with the many friends we have made at the factory. The following day, we travelled in convoy with the factory’s Quattroporte I to Bologna. On the way we stopped to pick up Ermanno Cozza, the iconic Maserati historian, who is still working as a consultant with Maserati. Ermanno has now been with Maserati for over 60 years, having joined the company in 1951. Not only does he have a unique knowledge of Maserati, but he is a wonderful and warm person who is only too happy to share his passion with anyone who wishes to talk with him.
On the Thursday, the Gathering proper commenced with all cars meeting in the Piazza Grande in Modena for registration and display. And, as can be seen from the photo below, what a wonderful display of cars it was. There were more than 200 cars participating, from old to modern, including rarities such as the Boomerang (which had been driven from France by its owner) and the glorious A6GCS Pininfarina Berlinetta from the Panini Collection.
Five “Australian” cars participated – our Mistral Spyder; Steve Dowling had his 5000GT, his green Ghibli SS “Kermit” (driven by Damian Cessario) and his Bellagio (rare limited production model by Touring based on the Quattroporte); and Richard Denny (who is London based) had his MC Stradale. A number of other Australians also attended, but without cars, including Bob Kimpton, Greg Gialouris and Alfredo Emanuele. Glen Sealey from Maserati Australia also participated, along with two journalists.
The day also included tours of the Maserati Factory in Modena and/or the Museo Enzo Ferrari which had a sensational Centenary display of Maseratis ranging from a 1932 V16 up to the modern MC12. The V16 model took the world speed record in 1929 by averaging 246 km/hr over a 10 km distance in Cremona.
The day ended with a “walking dinner” on the production line at the Maserati factory – an almost surreal surrounding with the production line adjacent to the tables and cars hanging on rails above the tables.
The next day involved a Regularity Trial from Modena to Turin via the Cremona race track. All cars had the opportunity to complete two laps of the track and demonstrations were given by three MC12s.
After another police escort through Turin, the day ended with a dinner at the historic and stunning Reggia di Vennaria, a former royal palace. As we entered the palace, Mateo Panini’s A6G Pininfarina and the Alfieri concept car (which has now been confirmed for production) were on display in the entrance courtyard.
The final day commenced with a tour of the new Maserati factory at Grugliasco (on the outskirts of Turin) where the new Quattroporte and Ghibli are produced. This was followed by another police escorted drive (amid police sirens and much honking by the locals) to the Piazza San Carlo in Turin where the Centennial Concours d’Elegance and Centennial Gathering wind-up were held.
Steve Dowling’s Ghibli (second in Ghibli class) and 5000GT (second in La Speciale class) and our Mistral Spyder (third in Aperto class) all won prizes at the concours. To say we were very surprised, but absolutely delighted, about our Mistral’s third place would be an understatement.
I would like to again thank all those involved in the preparation and running of the Centennial Gathering. In particular, I would like to express my appreciation for the efforts that Roberta Bicocchi (Responsible for Maserati Clubs globally), Arpita Pandya-D’Amico (who was the Project Manager for the Centennial) and Fabio Collina (Head of Maserati Classiche) put into event and the vital role that they played in the success of the Gathering. I have been liaising with all three on many aspects over the past year, related to both Australia and the Gathering in Italy, and I genuinely appreciate their dedication, their passion and their friendship.
So, the Gathering is over for another 100 years, but it was great to see many old friends and make many new ones. Make sure you don’t miss the next one!
John Gove, October 2014