Following on from my thread asking for restaurant recommendations, we (my wife Naomi, my daughter Isobelle and I) duly arrived here in Modena on Thursday evening, escorted by Mark Tregenna from Carrs in Exeter, from whom I ordered the car and who arranged the trip. He kindly took us to an excellent restaurant for dinner called La Ripeta Seccha
, where the tables are interspersed with Ferarri and Maserati engines and the odd Moto-Guzzi (for photos, see previous thread http://www.ferrarilife.com/forums/dr...tml#post658129
and scroll to about half way up the page).
Friday morning and we were ready for the main event! We arrived at the factory to be greeted by a smiling Maurizio Bruno who made us feel very welcome, and could not have been more charming. His enthusiasm was incredible: he really made us feel that he was enjoying it as much as we were. He is an old hand at Maserati, having worked for them for many years in two stints, having briefly jumped ship to Ferrari, but then returning to his first love.
Maurizio then handed us over to Julia, who gave us our tour, starting with a history of Maserati, standing around a wonderful display of 1/43 models of Maseratis from 1914 to the present range. She then took us on a tour of the factory, going all along the production lines, through the various finishing stations and the inspection and testing areas, around an hour and a half in all. She was incredibly knowledgeable and very charming - made us feel like real VIPs.
Among all the things I learned, two things struck me as particularly interesting: all parts of the assembly process are undertaken by hand except one - they have a robot which glues in the windscreen; and the post assembly inspection and testing routine is surprisingly thorough.
And all the time we were followed around by a professional photographer: they are going to send us an album of our visit and a CD with hundreds of photos!
Then it was back to the showroom for the grand unveiling. Naomi and Isobelle each took one front corner of the cover and gradually pulled it back to reveal our car - lots of drama! - and then foaming glasses of prosecco all round as we were at last able to see what we had bought. More photos.
Then Maurizio drove the car out of the showroom and parked it in the blazing sun on the forecourt in front of the factory, where the dark blue coachwork positively glowed. More photos.
Then Mark took us off to lunch in the centre of Modena at Caffe Concerto - highly recommended, both for its table and position, looking across the piazza to the 1100 year old Duomo.
Then back to the factory and at last we got to drive our car on its maiden journey - all of about half a mile to the Museo Enzo Ferrari, about which more in the next chapter of the story.
In the meantime, here are some photos, as promised. Hopefully self-explanatory and in a sensible order: