We set off with the last group to Modena. About half an hour later we arrived at the factory gates and were directed into their multi-storey car park.
At this point, I have a little confession to make. When Davide told me that the meeting included a tour of the Maserati factory, I had some reservations. Knowing how difficult it is to arrange a factory visit, never mind at such short notice, I had resigned myself to the fact that the most we would be allowed to see was the new showroom!
We parked our cars on the first and second floors and made our way down a spiral staircase, through the security turnstiles into the forecourt below. From here, one secures a most impressive sight, for looking back across the forecourt at the car park, one can admire the beautiful murals illustrating some of the great racing and GT cars made by the factory. In the parking area I noticed quite a few Quattroportes, including a very nice looking one in white, most impressive!
As we were about to enter the showroom, I spotted Sig Ermanno Cozza, the Maserati Archivist, in the security booth. As I knocked on the window, a burly security officer opened the door and asked me what I wanted. I explained that I wanted to see Sig Cozza. The guard invited me in and I waited while Sig Cozza was on the telephone. When he had finished, I introduced myself and Sig Cozza was finally able to put a face to the 'broken Italian' voice of the English gentleman who telephones "so often" and asks "so many questions!"
For me, Sig Cozza is Maserati. He has contributed to many of the interesting articles that can be seen on the official Maserati website at www.maserati.com
On entering the showroom one is greeted by a huge trident design on the floor and looking around I sensed an air of opulence about the place. I wandered around taking in all I could and then like most of the other visitors made my way over to the water fountain, this was thirsty work. Then came the big surprise! Sig Cozza announced that whilst viewing the production line no photography would be allowed. Well I never, we really were being allowed to visit the factory, but alas I wasn't going to get any photographs!
There were around 150 of us so we were split up into six groups. Each group was given a guided tour of most of the facilities including the engine testing area, production line and we were able to see at close hand the many technologically advanced components that make up the Maseratis of today. Strategically placed around the factory were some reminders of days gone by, including the first 1½ litre 8 cylinder supercharged engine produced by Alfieri Maserati back in 1926. The guide also gave us some details of the 3 tonne armour-plated Quattroporte being prepared for Sig Carlo Azeglia Ciampi, the Italian President and of the slightly lighter version for the Prime Minister, Sig Berlosconi.
The factory tour over, we made our way back to our cars but not before I said farewell to Sig Cozza who added "no doubt I'll be hearing from you soon". "You can bank on it", I replied.
On behalf of all the Maseratisti present, I would like to thank Maserati and their staff for giving us this rare opportunity to visit the factory.