I’ve recently sold my Quattroporte after it failed to replace my XJS as a daily, and in the few months that I owned it I only covered just over 1,000 miles in it. I’d really hoped that Maserati ownership would miraculously be problem free and reasonably on the wallet, although in this case I can’t really blame the car for it not being so.
I bought the QP on a whim, as it is a car I have fond memories of whilst growing up, and for the money I don’t believe there is a better saloon car to own of this generation (apart from perhaps a Bangle era 760Li, although that doesn’t sound nearly as good). I bought this car from auction as it was at the right price and appeared to be in very good condition all round, though I made the mistake of not viewing it before purchasing, as I know the auction house well and didn’t feel the need to, as it was only for me. That mistake highlighted even more stupidity on my part as the advert clearly stated that the car would benefit from a four wheel alignment, and as we all know, it’s never just an alignment. It’s important for me to point out that the auction house holds no fault for any problems with the car, it was as they’d described it. I (nor you) can expect an auction house to have complete mechanical knowledge of a car, or to be able to properly assess any mechanical faults it may have.
The collection went as planned and we began the drive home, with slow progress down the M40 as I hadn’t been able to find a fuel station before that point and was running on fumes. After filling up, with coffee and fuel, we carried on and it soon became apparent that the car wasn’t completely safe, as it tried throwing me from lane 1 to lane 2 with no warning and on a perfectly acceptable road surface. I’d been prepared for something odd given the warning about alignment in the advert, and having noted the poor quality tyres on the front wheels, and fortunately the drive home included no mishaps.
After inspecting the car it was immediately obvious that the ball joint on the left hand rear lower wishbone had serious play, and as the wishbone was only available from Maserati as a part of a kit that included both upper and lower wishbones and the hub for a cost of £833.76. At that point we also replaced both rear tie rods at a cost of £304.56 for the pair and I’d ordered a pair of front wheels which had to be shipped from Italy, as it turned out that they were no longer completely round. We hadn’t inspected and balanced the rear wheels as they had had new Pirelli P-zeros fitted just a couple of months previously. Indeed, the previous owner had included this as a selling point. The front wheels cost £1048.56 for the pair, and a pair of P-zeros cost £335.52 for the pair, and as with all the other parts I was fortunate to obtain them at trade prices.
At this point I still wasn’t happy with the way the car was driving, and upon inspection there was minor play in the rear lower wishbone on the right hand side too, although to a much less severe extent, and so the kit for that side was ordered at a cost of £833.76, and fitted. Whilst the car was up in the air the rear wheels were spun and it was noted that they appeared to be out of shape, as the fronts had been. You can guess what happened next, both rear wheels were found to be bent too, with one even having a minor flat spot on the rim of the wheel. It also further confirmed that my earlier suspicion that the previous owner must have known about the car’s defects. If in some miraculous way they hadn’t felt the wayward handling (and the evidence of a reasonably recent wheel alignment would suggest that they did), I don’t believe any tyre fitter would have fitted brand new tyres to a wheel that could not be balanced – without at least notifying the owner and obtaining their permission to continue. It is pointless to get aggravated about it, as ultimately it is my own fault for not noticing, but it is still a bitter pill to swallow. The rear wheels and tyres were replaced, with the wheels once again taking time to be shipped from Italy and costing £1140.48 for the pair, and the tyres costing £417.84 for the pair. The car was then sent for a four wheel laser alignment at Maserati costing another £240, including adjustments.
In just a few short months this Maserati had cost me £5,154.48 in parts alone (plus the alignment), and I wouldn’t even like to consider the labour cost. I covered 1,038 miles during my ownership, due to the car being in the workshop or waiting for parts of a great deal of it, and that means that the QP cost me £4.97 in parts for every mile I drove in it, which is quite shocking (and, of course, I made a loss on it).
Now, all of this may appear to be quite negative, but in another view I got to own and enjoy an utterly gorgeous super saloon that I never tired of looking at, listening to or sitting in. Even better than that, my ownership finished on a high note when I sold it to one of the most pleasant buyers that I can remember, and that made all the difference for me and helps me to remember the car in a favourable light. I’m glad that the car has gone to a good home where it will be appreciated, and I’m happy that I got to sell it to a good person (plus, I got to meet Dave the dog, who is awesome).
I don’t regret buying the Maserati, and it wouldn’t stop me from buying another, either. I made a silly mistake in not inspecting it and test driving it before purchasing it and no one is at fault but me. I’ve written this as an honest experience of owning a Quattroporte – and it is important to remember that none of the repairs that I had to do could be described as being caused by unreliability, either, although perhaps they’re a result of the quality of British roads. A Quattroporte can be a wonderful thing to drive, a real experience with a sound track that is hard to beat. I am also trying to make the point that buying a car at auction is just that – there are no warranties, and it is down to you to make sure that a vehicle meets your standards and expectations of it. We all know that some owners have rose tinted views of their cars (both value and condition), and it is from their description that an auction house will base their listing, so be prepared for an owner’s description of a car not to match your own view of it. It’s important to view a car, and if you don’t have the knowledge to correctly assess it, then have someone professional inspect it for you, as it is worth paying for.