Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Frankly Frankl - Great Drives in Europe


I must apologize for the blog's long absence but getting ready for the trip back to SF took a bit of organizing. I left for Europe on 20th May and been away until 4th July. But never mind all that, how about the cars I've been driving. I can honestly say that I have never ever driven a  more exotic collection my life. Let me start with Maserati's refreshed Quattroporte. A very fine gentleman's carriage indeed. It ran like a dream until it got a puncture which took quite a while to fix. Luckily the gauges showing the tires pressures were accurate to the nth degree which was reassuring under the circumstances. The mad dash to Bologna was just that-effortless and quick. WE had to hurry as we only had one hour in which to enjoy Lamborghini's Aventador Spider. In a word-insane. On a sunny afternoon in Tuscany the only car I can think of which would be on par is Ferrari's  458 Spider. The difference is that whereas the 458 has tons of room for luggage the Lambo has nil. Not even for a blackberry or an iPhone. I called it the Fedex special, after shopping trip to Florence the only way to get the stuff home is to head for their nearest office. As for getting in and out, well, being an acrobat helps, AARP members needn't apply.


The following day we had a field day in Ferrari's F12 and the Lambo coupe. Or rather we would have had but for the somewhat unexpected snow in and around Abetone. Details are in the next issue of FORZA which is at the printers as we speak. This however was not the end of the story, back in London I had a brand new 5 liter, supercharged  510 horsepower Jaguar XF waiting for me. Oh my life! You see the Ferrari looks like a Ferrari, a Lambo looks like a Lambo but for all intents and purposes the Jag could have been a diesel. Yes, on closer inspection the tires and exhausts would have given a clue but to Joe Punter it was just another Jag. Until you touched the loud pedal. Personally I prefer it to an M5. Just as I was getting ready to leave I had another Jaguar which took me in total comfort to Silverstone  and the British Grand Prix. The XJ is one size bigger and for me one size too big. I simply loved the XF which was very much in Maserati country. One other problem I had which I must as well admit hear and now-I got stuck in the XJ. Well and truly stuck, so much so that I had to dig it out. To make matters worse it was in a car park not far from where Jaguars are built and which is a regular haunt of Jag executives. The Crab Mill is near  Stratford,  Claverdon  and all those wonderful places in Warwickshire, luckily it was dark. I got out and sank angle deep into the very wet gravel. I did of course managed to get the Jag out but my dinner was cold by the time I got into the pub. My fault, should have known better. Now back in sunny Marin County and settle down to finish my book-"Frankly Frankl-the crazy life and times of an automotive journalist." With a bit of luck it will be on sale by the fall.