GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Monday, July 26, 2021

Buying Maseratis in Italy with Tom Meade


I knew Tom Meade over the course of four decades meeting him in Costa Mesa when my friend John Andrews pretended he wanted me to look at a Ferrari he found for sale and wanted my opinion as to what it might me. When we arrived, the seller led me to the garage and pulled off the car cover to reveal the Thomassima III (!!) and we all had a good laugh and went out for dinner thus beginning a long friendship. I spent a lot of time with Tom in Costa Mesa doing car things and eating lobster on Balboa Island. I also accompanied him to Dan Gurney's AAR where Tom tried to persuade Dan to sell him one of his Formula 1 Gurney-Weslake V12 engines for use in a planned Thomassima creation.

When Tom returned to Italy, I met up with him in Milan where I was buying some cars and he arranged to have a couple of Maserati Mistrals brought to a car dealership in Parma for me to consider. After a breakfast of strong Italian coffee, the spiciest tomato juice you could imagine and some croissants at a hotel bar, we headed off on the 80-mile trip to Parma in a Fiat 238 van that seemed to appear from nowhere. We covered the distance in record time as the engine tried to tell anyone who would listen that it was on its last legs and about to blow up from over-revving but we actually made it there and back to Milan without incident.

When we arrived, the dealership was closed for lunch and so our own memorable three-hour lunch ensued where we were joined by the proprietor of the hotel/restaurant who sat with us and served us a delicious Parma ham along with other savory distractions and a lovely wine that kept flowing--it wasn't every day you could have lunch with the creator of the Thomassima cars and stories were traded back and forth

Finally, we realized we should move it along and go look at the Maseratis before the dealership closed for the day. I test drove them both and decided they belonged in Los Angeles and that was that. The transporter put them back onto the truck and off they went to the shipper's garage in Milan. Tom and I returned for a dinner at Il Rigolo and an evening at the Nepenthe.

When the Mistrals arrived in Los Angeles, one of them looked just like the one in the picture here-dark blue. The other was a silver/gray. Both had 4-liter engines with ZF 5-speed transmissions, the DOHC six cylinders having fuel injection and twin plugs per cylinder. I kept them both, along with a Maserati Quattroporte, until I returned from Paris a few years later and the Mistrals were transformed into resale red and I sold them.

When Tom returned to Los Angeles, we had other memorable times together but that lunch in Parma was one of the best...

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