Italian luxury car maker Maserati is showcasing its hand-crafted Quattroporte S in an unlikely setting: at the Masterpiece London art and antiques fair, which opened on Thursday in a plush tent on the grounds of Chelsea’s Royal Hospital. Featuring among such fair highlights as a newly discovered pastel by Claude Monet and a pair of pearls once owned by France’s last empress is a metallic black version of the racy sedan.
The brand-new version of a model originally designed in 1963, it has a shiny, bulbous bonnet and ranges in price from 81,555 to 97,783 pounds ($128,300-153,800) — depending on whether you opt for such extras as a 15-speaker surround-sound system or a Poltrona Frau fine-grain leather interior.
So far in 2015, sales at the company’s British unit have been strong, Cowan said: In the first five months of the year, 645 Maseratis were registered in the United Kingdom, a 50 percent rise from the same period last year.
To fair visitors, the Maserati stand comes as a surprise, nestled as it is among others with contents far removed from designer cars.
Immediately beside it, Brun Fine Art is offering a pair of late 18th-century Roman marble lions. The Rolleston booth across the aisle has on prominent display a George II mahogany side table from around 1745.
Why did Masterpiece decide to have a Maserati stand in the first place?
“Maserati is one exhibitor out of 150-odd,” Masterpiece Chairman Philip Hewat-Jaboor said. “It adds an element that’s a bit different — a sort of ‘frisson’.”
Hewat-Jaboor said having the luxury car brand there, like having watch dealers, was “a really good way of bringing in a group of people who may not otherwise be all that interested”, and giving them “the opportunity to discover other fields”.
“The collector these days will buy a fabulous car, a wonderful piece of 18th-century furniture, and a great Roman antiquity,” he added. “The parameters have moved.”
By Farah Nayeri Courtesy Reuters