By Neil Crook
These are imposing cars both in terms of physical size and engine capacities so why would you run one as a daily driver?
Imagine strapping your favorite arm chair to a quad cam 4.9litre V8 with 4 weber double barreled carbs strapped to the top and using the gas pedal to change lanes as you would use a TV remote to change channels. That’s what it’s like sitting in a De Tomaso era Maserati. Keeping the lounge theme for a minute we touch briefly on consumption. When these cars are set up poorly they can drink more than Ollie Reid and Dean Martin on a boy’s night out. After entrusting her to a Polish mechanic for a tune up she returned using, and brace yourselves for this, 44ltr/100km, which in English is 6.4mpg. Needless to say I didn’t run her much in 2009.
For 2010 I wanted her out and about, plus the fact she was blocking the barn door. I set about servicing her myself, a story I cover elsewhere. Setting up the carbs is actually quite simple it just takes time, there are 8 venturi don’t forget, as you need to do several laps before they all settle down. After my tune up consumption reduced to a more affordable 12ltr/100km or 23mpg. That said my driving is mainly out of town.
With ‘70’s non injection technology starting is a simple matter of full choke and remembering not to touch the gas pedal and she starts first turn. When hot a little gas is needed without choke. Progress is more than adequate in modern traffic. Overtaking with a boot full can startle other road users not used to proper induction roar, and with 4 weber’s she does roar the kick down needs resetting but I suspect this is more a gearbox issue than engine. Keeping up in traffic is not a problem, the issue is stopping. At nearly 2 tonnes these things gather a lot of their own momentum. I use EBC brakes (250quid a set) but still I plan ahead.
Because of her size I tend not to go into cities with her as parking can be a problem and it’s not something you can really drive aggressively in town that is you can’t dart around traffic. As regards accommodation, she is as I said on the generous side I can easily get the wife and our four kids in though she’s only belted for 5. The car that is not the wife.
The ride isn’t a supple as a jag and she runs on Rolls Royce sized tyres. I suspect I need to review all the suspension bushes this year and hopefully this will make things better.
Running costs need not be excessive. Fuel consumption as I mentioned above is manageable and with big cars it is really about technique and not using them to commute. I do my own servicing oil, filters, belts and setting up and it takes me about 30 hours but bear in mind I’m not a qualified mechanic and it was minus 5 at the time. The cost of parts can be upsetting. Brakes 250 quid, filters 150quid for all three, belts about 30 quid each and 10 litre of oil. That said they are easy to work on and they are very well engineered. During the recent service nothing snapped off which isn’t bad for a 30 year old car and more than can be said for my 8 year old BMW.
In summary. More accommodating than a Jag but not as chuckable and a reasonable cost proposition. They’re not to everyone’s liking but they’re good for what they’re designed for. She on my keeping list.