I've had this book for quite a while, and I constantly pick it up again. It's a must for every Biturbo enthusiast with lots of useful information and good illustrations. It presents the Biturbo range of cars and was printed in 1989. You may get suspicious the author is on the Maserati payroll at times, as some of the text is an echo of the sales litterature. It does remind me somewhat of the car tests in my local newspaper when I was a kid, where the “tester” never had a harsh thing to say, except for one tiny detail just thrown in to make it look credible. But never enough to deny him a test car from the same company next time around. So if you're looking for an unbiased view, this book may not be right for you. It does not look at the Biturbos as second hand cars, but the title doesn't imply that either.
First it gives you a brief resume of Maserati production models from 1957 up to the launch of the Biturbo. It also gives you a short story about the launch of the Biturbo, and a presentation of Alejandro De Tomaso, the man in charge at that time.
Then it goes through all the models built in 1989, presenting their features in a thorough manner. While doing this, much information about older models emerges as the improvements are presented. So the book is also of value for owners of older cars. Do not always assume the upgrades makes the older model undesirable though. As we now live in what was the future when the book was written, we can see that not all the new solutions were that much better. The pictures are tecnically excellent, but presenting a car with so much personality, it's a pity the pictures has none. The title page confirms some of them are from the Maserati sales department. Sometime in the future they will undoubtedly be perfect for classic car restorers with their immaculate detail and print quality though. For you tecnically inclined there is also lots of very good tecnical illustrations.
There is a specification sheet covering all the models. I am not totally convinced the information is all correct though. But it's the best I've seen so far. When reading the color combination sheet and the accessories section, remember it is covering one specific build year. If your car differs, it may still be completely original. Talking with many Biturbo owners, it seems the factory could change color combination and details from one week to the next. Remeber these cars are as close to hand made as you could get them at this time, and they still are.
The last section is a collection of road tests done exclusively for the book by Giancarlo Baghetti. It's a pity they do not present him better than just with a picture at the end. I guess they save that for a book on him. He did better on the circuits than in this book. These tests do not bring the driving experience through to the reader.
This book is full of facts about these cars, both the 1989 models and older. Most of it is correct where I am able to cross check it, so I value the book as an information base. The illustrations are of high quality although somewhat sterile. And the book can stand frequent use and abuse. Now that remark alone probably tells you I recommend the book as good value. It gets four tridents out of five. The fifth trident is denied on lack of a human touch.
Title: The New Maseratis
Publisher: Bruno Alfieri
Review by: Einar Sjaavik
This book has a lot of soul, but falls short on execution. It's main feature are the pictures, some very good, some awful. The text and the pictures does not tie into each other very well. It seems to me one author did the text the other the pictures, and they never sat down to make it a whole. Sometimes the captions are just confusing and not helpful at all explaining what the picture shows. The text does not seem well researched, but patched together from whatever information was available. The text writer does seem to have some love for his subject, but my expectations from a professional writer is higher than this.
I have some trouble presenting this book broken down in sections, but obviously so did the authors. It does present some history on the Maserati with most or all pictures of recent date. This means the racers are photographed at recent events. The captions does not tell me that, or much else for that matter, but the driver's headwear does. Nevertheless there are some very nice pictures in the first parts of the book. Many of them shows us the parts of the car that is normally covered by a bonnet, and they're razor sharp and in good print quality.
Then we move over to the GT's. Well sort of, since we already saw pictures of the Indy and Ghibli. Here the photographer takes out his fisheye lens and lets you see how ridiculous you can make a beautiful car look with the appropriate photographers tools. Chuck that lens! We also get a couple of pictures of a gorgeous A6G. The text already told us bodies for it were made by most or all of the great italian car design houses. But which of them made this beautiful red GT? The captions leaves you guessing. We go on looking at a 3500GT, with one of the pictures really capturing the low, gracious lines of this car. I've seen many pictures of this model, but this is the only one so far that shows what it really looks like. When we get to the Sebring, it is treated the other way around. It is thoroughly destroyed thanks to the lens. By god I wish someone stole it by now! The Quattroporte II is not faring much better, but that's as deserved for jumping the queue and coming before the first Quattroporte.
The Mistrale gets a good presentation except for the by now obligatory fisheye view. My mind keeps reverting to the TV camera in the Zoo, ending up with a macro view of the innards of a camel's nostrils. Through the rest of the GT's we get some good, some even very good pictures of Mexico, Indy, Ghibli Spyder and coupe, Bora, Merak and in the end the Kyalami.
Then we move over to the Biturbo and it's derivatives, featuring the original Coupe and Spyder. The last one with supermarket aluminum wheels, yecch! We also get to see the Shamal and Ghibli II, with a test ride too. At last the text writer shines through and shows us what kind of writing he really should pursue. This test ride makes you want to repeat the experience yourself, and brings through the notion that the test driver enjoyed the ride.
My advice to the photographer is to see how far he can throw that fisheye lens. Then send me a note it's done, and I'll look forward to buying his next book, because there is no lack of soul in most of these pictures. Who is he by the way; David or Iain? The text? Well it's there, but most of it might as well not. The book earns 3 tridents out of 5 solely on grounds of the good pictures, as they more than outweights the bad ones. With scissors and a bottle of glue I could make me an excellent picture book from this. Walk, don't run to the bookstore.
Title: Maserati Heritage
David Sparrow and Iain Ayre.
Publisher: Osprey Automotive.
ISBN 1 855 324 415
Review by: Einar Sjaavik.