Jun 19, 2017

A True Italian Gran Turismo in Berlin: Dirk And His Maserati Indy America

Spring/Summer in Berlin could have a very special weather. One of those special days, Dirk invited me to meet and go on a ride in his FANTASTIC 1971 Gran Turismo Maserati Indy America 4.7. Dirk was one of the first Carphiles that I met in Berlin, thanks to the world of Instagram. In the photos, you can appreciate the weather of Berlin and how quickly it changes in a matter of hours: from having rain, sun to then even super cloudy almost like a dramatic storm approaching.

When Dirk was young he dreamed of being a car mechanic but he turned out to be a doctor instead. He describes himself as: “Slightly geeky music and vintage car lover who tries to pay for his hobbies by working as a doc”. His first car was a 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass, he bought for $500 in Boise, Idaho when he was an exchange student. 

How did you first become interested in Maseratis?

Remember seeing a Ghibli on the Autobahn as a kid, I believe I already then appreciated the subtle elegance and style of the brand. Up to this day, I am fascinated by the company’s history with its constant ups as downs until the DeTomaso era in the early 80s.

Did you have a nickname for the car?

Nope, it’s just the Indy.

How did you come across the car? Did you have a moment of hesitation before buying it?

Found it on the excellent website, got in touch with the owner and flew to the Côte d’Azur to check it out. As soon as I saw and drove it I only had to come to an agreement with the friendly previous caretaker. Only my bank hesitated, I didn’t.

What was the condition of the car when you bought it?

It was restored by the previous owner around 1990 and only driven about 6000km after.

Originally it was delivered to Rome in Oro Longchamp -gold-. It was shipped to Canada at some point and repainted bright red. In the course of the last restoration, the previous owner decided to go for the current Rosso Rubino = Ruby Red. The interior is mostly original.

When did you purchase the Maserati?

February 2013

How long did it take you to restore it?

It was already restored when I purchased it. Some optical and technical issues needed to be solved in the process but that is normal for Italian divas I believe.

What do you enjoy most about the car? Did anything surprise you about it after you started using it?

It sounds boring or just obvious but I really enjoy driving it. Still, have big respect for it and hope the excitement to turn the ignition key will never fade.

A surprising fact is that the faster I drive the lesser fuel it takes – of course only on the Autobahn without a speed limit.

What’s the history behind of the awesome Campagnolo wheels, because is not common to see in an Indy, is it?

Originally the Indy came with 14″ Borrani alloy wheels which I always thought to be too small for the wheel arches. When I bought the Indy it had wire wheels mounted that ruined the look for me as they seemed too retro for a car from the 70s. As the later 4.9 litre Indy models had the same 15″ Campagnolo magnesium wheels, the Ghibli and Khamsin came with as well, I decided to go for a set of those as I still believe they match the car quite well.

Personally, I take this car as a piece of art, so aesthetically talking, which is your favourite detail or part of the Indy?

Very difficult to say. I personally like the understated appearance which doesn’t scream for too much attention while still being beautiful. The fact that it offers comfortable space for 4 adults plus luggage without looking like a sedan is also a nice feature. Personally, I like cars with long hoods.

How does it feel to drive inside of Berlin with all the speed limits on the way?

Honestly, I try to avoid driving in the city as I am much faster on my bike.

I heard that you are a big fan of making long journeys; which was the longest trip you ever took with the Indy and which one do you have in mind as the next?

So far the longest trip was via northern Italy to the Côte d’Azur and back via France without any problems. After all, it was designed to be a grand tourer so long distance travelling is what it should feel most comfortable with.

Being a music producer, what is your favourite song to play when you are driving on a long road, to feel that you’re having a super pleasurable and enjoyable trip?

I’m only a retired hobby music producer and I have to say that the engines sound system is running out of the competition. When I am running out of topics with my co-driver I like to put on “Gasoline & Mirrors” by Bibio.

Do you feel like other road users act differently towards you because of your car?

Sometimes I wish they would but I’m being cut just like everybody else…

What was the nicest and worst things people tell you about your car?

It is rather common that people confuse it with a Corvette, Bitter or Firebird which always makes me smile. Once I stayed in a hotel in Italy and a Rolls Royce club with about 50 cars showed up. The owner of the hotel came up to me and asked if I already chose which one I would like to have. When I replied that I am quite happy with what I am driving he said: “Oh, you are driving the Maserati? Ok, I understand.

Is there another car you would like to have?

At the moment I am happy and fulfilled with what I have. Of course, there are always dream cars but they should remain dreams.

Follow Dirk on Instagram: @onoffrack

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