Review by Simon Park, in Trident, The Maserati Club Magazine
I very nearly didn’t even open this weighty publication (11 inches square, nearly 500 pages), put off by a title which really does it no favours. However, the quite exceptional quality of the photographs and the printing – of the whole thing, in fact – proved irresistible, and a rather more studious appraisal of the text (in perfect English) convinced me that the author, a Dutch self-styled ‘mobility historian’, has not only an encyclopaedic knowledge of the classic and collectors’ car world but also a genuine sensitivity to the importance of these machines as an international cultural heritage.
As for scope and coverage, ‘comprehensive’ barely does it justice. This is not your usual classic ‘buyers guide’. It is a thorough, phenomenally detailed study of a significant and complex commodity market. In-depth analyses of different periods and market segments, national characteristics, social attitudes, the whole question of restored-versus-original and the impact of wider financial and economic fluctuations are all here, as well as such esoteric considerations as the ‘Veblen effect’ (you’ll have to buy the book…). Van der Vinne also uses bar graphs to good effect, to illustrate the market place performance of many individual models.
The vexed question of replicas in all their various forms is tackled head-on, and the author is also clearly exercised by many of the less edifying aspects of classic ‘restoration’, such as the deliberate conversion of saloons or coupés into more valuable open-top variants (everything from vintage Bentleys to Daytonas and, yes, Ghiblis crop up here).
The Trident, it must be said, does seem rather under-represented compare to, say, its Maranello rivals. but that is probably a fair reflection of the marques’ relative ‘investment potential’ until the dramatic upsurge in Maserati fortunes over the last few years. And I was amused by the assertion, in a section dealing with the mysterious multiplication of some limited production models (and their chassis numbers), that all seven of the four original Pinin Farina A6GCS Series 2 coupés have now been accounted for…
The sheer volume of information here, and the associated research it represents, is eye-watering. Add in literally thousands of stunning photographs and the cover price doesn’t seem unreasonable, particularly when compared to other similarly extravagant coffee-table tomes.
If you can set aside any instinctive aversion you may harbour towards viewing cars as investments then this is a truly extraordinary book, and an invaluable archive.
Trident, Spring 2016