Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Rotten weather may not be all bad – kept me away from Glasgow Uni

I was a bit sad to see the weatherfolk had been spot on once again, and their forecast of cold and rainy weather today was accurate.

I’d been up before 7 am, and then it was howling a near gale as well, but this at least had calmed down within a couple of hours, and the trees were no longer bending over.

I might have been at Glasgow University again (for the galleries/museums) but for that weather, and had been there a few days ago, when I spotted a Maserati (they are very popular in China, and apparently with Chinese here) while I was having a seat on the wall across from the main entrance, as it was a reasonably nice day.

It was too quick for a decent pic – but at least a dSLR is ‘always on’, unlike a compact, so my only problem was lifting it fast enough, and zooming (oh, and standing up, as I’d been enjoying the sun).

Glasgow Uni Maserati

Glasgow Uni Maserati

Evacuation

Had I headed that way today, there would not have been so much fun to be had.

As you’ll see from the news pics, the action was taking place at the Main Gate, seen above, where I was sitting.

I might have been evacuated!

University of Glasgow buildings evacuated over suspect package

Thankfully, the latest updates suggest it was a false alarm, and the suspect package contained promotional items.

Lunch

I’d grabbed another quick pic only a few metres away, a reminder of the autopsy benches I’d come across on the grassy area nearby.

It was interesting to see the students were happy to sit on them, and enjoy a break, and their lunch in the sun.

I wonder if they realise what the benches are modelled after?

Autopsy Lunch Benches

Autopsy Lunch Benches

I’m almost surprised to see this, given the way some people have hysterics about quite innocent connections to objects.

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06/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

You could have blown me down with a Levante

While I’m no longer in any sort of buying market, decades of interest mean I can’t stop looking, so I tend to think I’m reasonably aware of all the cars on the market, even if I’ll never get inside any of them again.

Maserati has quietly re-established itself, and climbed back into the 500+ horses bracket (and not that expensive, if still basic compared to others). It seems to have caught on in China, especially amongst the ladies – and that’s a big market to land nowadays. And they get you into classic Italian high power transport, without the hysteria and horrendous cost of ownership a Ferrari comes with.

Maserati may have suffered in its former life, but now… now it’s owned by a large parent (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, NV) that can give it the money and support it always wanted.

It doesn’t feel that long since I had to refer to the official web site, and recall only vague mentions of an SUV (although content can be country specific).

So when I thought I had just walked past another hulking SUV (yes, you are right, I and NOT a fan of 2-box bricks), something felt ‘wrong’ and I had to turn around.

SURPRISE!

A Maserati grille, and a 2-box brick that looked almost sleek – somebody HAS managed to make an SUV front end that does not look more like a small garden wall than the front of a car. I thought there was only one, now there two.

I had to do a very quick survey of online reviews, and it seems the Levante (they found ANOTHER wind to name one of their cars after) gets a pretty good rating on most counts, with few negatives – except one that might have been expected.

I rather like that the biggest complaint about a car from Maserati is that it has a rock hard suspension.

Maserati Levante

Maserati Levante

01/12/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

A little more Maserati

Since we had a nice Ferrari yesterday

Relatively rare here (although I seem to be finding them), Maseratis are quite popular in China these days, usually with wealthy girls or women. And like most supercars in China, they’re often seen in crashes (or just in unfortunate scenarios).

This is something I have learned purely by chance, having gained in interest in certain aspects of cars in China. Sad to say that the ‘New Money’ that seems to be pouring into the pockets of young celebrities (and others best not referred to) there does not appear to be bestowed with any more brains or intelligence than anywhere else in the world, and companies such as Lamborghini, Ferrari, and their like are opening new showrooms there, now apparently their biggest market, where they are making a fortune from the horrendously expensive repairs to their cars, often employing carbon-fibre and other composite structures that can only be repaired by the factory. As the bills approach 5 and even 6-figure sums to repair, cars can be written off over there with some ease, rather than be repaired, unless their cost is in the millions (of dollars), since local taxes can double the price of a $2 million super or hyper car to $4 million, or even more.

Some Chinese buyers try to avoid the taxes by smuggling their hypercars into the country – and when they are caught, they lose the car entirely as it is confiscated and auctioned! Does this bother them? Nope! They usually turn up in another story, having bought another one to replace the one they lost. Oh… Remember I mentioned crashes at the start? Many of those cars are not insured, so the repair bills I mentioned are out-of-pocket for the owner. They’ll often not bother, and just start go get another one from their garage, or buy another one.

So, back home…

This is a 2016 Maserati Ghibli DV6 Auto (yes, that ‘D’ does mean diesel AND a turbo), base price around £51 k, but you can probably add another £5-£10 k with accessories and options.

While it is not a fire-breathing monster, this 3 litre turbo-diesel will reach 155 mph, and 60 in about 6 seconds… adequate.

Step up to the GranTurismo MC Stradale with its 4.7 litre, 188 mph naturally aspirated (petrol) engine with 4.5 second 62 mph dash (but those start at around £112 k).

Things are getting more complex though, with Maserati teamed with Ferrari (and others) for engines, and using twin-turbos to pass the 550 HP level. As yet, I haven’t spotted any hybrid or electric variants, but with rapid changes taking place, and Ferrari having the LaFerrari, the option has to be somewhere.

Sad to say, Maserati seems to have few fans, and while it represents better value for money at this level of car, reviewers tend to downgrade it, complaining it comes with fewer toys than others, and uses some standard switches from the corporate parts box – yet is always applauded for its performance and handling.

I still quite like them, apart from the signature item of the three vents in the side of the front wing. In some light it’s fine… but in some, it looks ‘wrong’.

But I love the trident up front.

Maserati Ghibli

Maserati Ghibli

I was a little embarrassed here – I don’t like to be in people’s faces when I grab a pic, and was a little surprised to see this car actually had a driver sitting in it, hidden by the reflection on the windscreen, but he seemed to busy with papers/letters, and might not have noticed me as I took the time to get this framed reasonably. Most parked cars are empty, but not this one.

This was near The Barras, I’d probably not leave my car Maserati here either.

02/07/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Neeb’s wheels 7

A nice start to the month, and a bit of a surprise.

Maseratis remain relatively rare, but not unknown, although they’re usually not stationary when around here, and are generally only seen ‘passing through’.

So, spotting a parked 2009 Maserati GranTurismo (which the registration implies to have a 4,691 cc engine), was something of a surprise. The body style is base, which should be a 4,244 cc motor, while the larger engine belongs in the slightly different Sport body. The difference amounts to 405 BHP as against 460 BHP, translating to a 0-60 time of 5.3 sec, or 4.7 sec. Maserati quotes its top speeds in kph rather than mph, which I can never be bothered converting, but the difference between the two is only 15 kph.

More interesting is the absolute howler of a spelling mistake in the Maserati brochure, where it refers to “breaking distance”.

I’ll have a wild guess, and suggest they had something more like “braking distance” in mind here. But this is a poor example of quality control given their prices. It’s perhaps understandable for someone with no knowledge of cars and associated terminology, but for a company supposedly in love with cars?

Maserati GranTourismo

Maserati GranTourismo

Maserati GranTourismo

Maserati GranTourismo

Oopsie:

Maserati specs

Maserati specs

Meanwhile, in China

In case you hadn’t noticed, China is becoming the biggest market for luxury and supercars, with companies such as Rolls Royce naming it as their No 1 market, and Porsche about to follow suit, while BMW, Mercedes, and companies such as Lamborghini, Pagani, Zonda, Ferrari etc sending just about anything they can build over there. And that’s with 100% tax doubling their prices – and more.

Doesn’t mean they can drive them though, as Car News China informed us.

Below you can see another white Maserati GranTourismo, but this one is in Chongqing, China.

And, yes, it really is parked in the middle of the road.

Chinese Maserati parking

Chinese Maserati parking

It was parked there by Ms X, a 22-year old who had taken the car because her mother  barely used it, and she thought it was such a waste to leave it sitting in the garage.

Ms X said she thought it was all right because the lines on the middle of the road looked the same as the lines on the sides of the road, where many cars were parked. The nice policeman explained that parking on the middle of the road was not allowed, then explained the difference between white and yellow lines, and let her go with a warning.

Chinese Maserati parking

Maserati ownership in China, where cars under 500 BHP are generally considered ‘underpowered’, shows an interesting local variation…

Sales figures show that in Europe and America only 5% are owned by women, in China, that figure jumps to 40%.

Update

Well worth a read, a review of the Maserati, albeit the next one up in the range, the Sport:

Speedmonkey: Maserati GranTurismo Sport Review

Car: Maserati GranTurismo Sport
Price: £93,720 with the 6-speed electro-manual

0-60mph: 4.6sec
Top speed: 186mph
Engine: 4691cc V8 petrol
Gearbox: 6-speed electro-actuated manual
Power: 453bhp at 7000rpm
Torque: 383lb ft at 4750rpm
Kerbweight: 1880kg
Economy: 19.8mpg
CO2: 331g/km

01/02/2014 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

   

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