There gets to a certain point in your life (hopefully) when your place in the universe begins to click. The relevance of things becomes clearer, your attitude is more defined and your ‘zen’ more apparent. It’s not necessarily an age thing (although there is a good argument for time served), it’s more about the acceptance of the things that should and shouldn’t matter to you.
Richard Carlson summed it up in his book ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ where he illustrates that life’s minor and trivial irritations should be ignored while focusing on the bigger picture. Now, having recently been invited to Australia to join with the Maserati Owners Club on their inaugural Global Gathering 2018 journey, I think I’m beginning to get it.
The ‘Tour Downunder’ event was a 1,300km+ road trip that commenced in Melbourne and ended at the Opera house in Sydney harbour. I secured my spot on the last leg, from Canberra to Sydney which included a nights accommodation in the 5-star Hyatt hotel, dinner at the Australian War Memorial and then a drive along some thrilling tight and windy roads in the marques latest Ghibli and Levante S models – with the latter part of that sentence needing a mind-shift reset for me.
You see, although the event was a worldwide invite for Maserati owners to bring their prized possessions downunder and mingle with other like-minded Maserati Tifosi, it would appear that the lure of a seven-day trip, with luxury accommodation, sumptuous cuisine, fine wines and iconic landscapes was of equal or even greater appeal. And strangely enough, this focus shift, meant that the two headline acts (the Frua Quattroporte who’s previous owners included the Aga Kahn and the GT5000 that was the inspiration behind Joe Walsh of Eagles fame ‘Life’s been good’ with the lyrics ‘My Maserati does one-eighty-five, I lost my license, now I don’t drive’) were no longer available – due to a couple of importing issues, but let’s not dwell on this travesty. Anyway, did this matter to the club members? No, it did not. They just picked up vehicles offered by Maserati Australia and enjoyed the experience!
So what cars were there? Just about every famous Maserati from a 1956 150S to the present range, driven by an eclectic mix of nationalities and backgrounds that all appear to share the love of the Maserati brand and the lust for life’s experiences. Personally, I really liked the 1964 Mistral Spyder (1 of only 14 RHD) but there were plenty of vehicles to admire.
Dinner at the War Memorial was both a jovial and yet humbling affair (seriously, if you are looking to make your life ‘relative’ and not sweat the small stuff, take a moment to think about being a tail gunner in a slow-moving bomber during WWII).
The photo shoot the next morning was like herding cats but in a very quaint way. Yes, the images of their classic vehicles with the Australian Parliament backdrop was important, but this was virtually usurped by the need to enjoy the Australian hospitality and its surroundings – in truth, the members seemed to lap it all up.
With the rear view mirror image of Canberra fading into the distance we left the group and headed for the ‘B’ roads towards Sydney. The pacy drive let both the Ghibli and Levante S stretch their legs and raise their voices – with just one stop at Robertson’s pie shop for refreshments.
Although the event was to conclude with dinner at the Opera House the next evening, sadly I was already on the plane back to NZ. But I was left with these few musings. Life is a short trip and should be treated as such. We are constantly being bombarded with demands, opinions, and drawings on our time, so we need to be careful about how we spend it. Watching the Maserati owners be ‘in the moment’ was very refreshing, their vehicles were part of their life but not ruling it, they are lifestyle additions not idolised museum pieces. In saying that, with their style, class, and global adoration, classic Maserati’s may very well be desirable moments in time but they are also quite timeless.