Welcome to the new TDC interview series, ‘The Torque Tube’. In the same way a torque tube helps channel and direct a car’s power to the wheels, this interview series was created to help channel the automotive experiences, passions, and insights of local successful car enthusiasts. Knowing what successful people know is one of the best ways to become successful yourself, especially when it comes to cars. If you know of someone who might be a good addition to ‘The Torque Tube’, drop me a line. Read on and enjoy!
Brian Whitmore is a successful entrepreneur who owns and operates Apogee Coins right here in Manchester, selling precious metals to industries and companies all over the world. The Maserati GranTurismo sitting in his garage is the realization of a dream for Brian; it’s been something he’s enjoy from afar of for years and now that he owns one, driving it is a dream in and of itself.
I arrive at Brian’s home and he takes me into the heated garage off the side of the house, and the steel grey Maserati GranTurismo fills my vision. Its lines are fluid, sculpted, and sensuous, yet when Brian climbs in and starts the engine, the space is filled with sharply mechanical, vibrating sound. The exhaust note of the GranTurismo has deep undertones of Ferrari F430 in it that have been overlaid with a snarling energy; something like a blend of a trombone’s low E-flat and a chainsaw at half throttle. I am giddy with excitement as he backs it slowly out of the garage.
Of all the cars you could buy, why the Maserati GranTurismo?
“I’ve wanted one for a long time. It’s faster and more exciting that some other expensive cars I could have bought and it feels young and professional.” For Brian, it’s not about the statement a car like this can make; it’s about enjoying the experiences it can bring and the thrill of ownership. Unfortunately, many expensive cars do come with a stigma attached to them: Ferrari = Old guy with bags of cash and a girlfriend half his age. Lamborghini = Gelled up, cologned up, wannabe “Dude Guy” with no driving talent. While the majority of the time these stereotypes are incorrect, Brian was looking for something that didn’t carry any of these stigmas and was more unique and distinct.
“The Maserati is for people who aren’t interested in just performance. It’s comfortable, a good overall package, it has that distinct Italian look, and it’s unique and exciting.”
At the end of the day, cars like these are designed for driving and that’s exactly what Brian does. “I look forward to the drive to work. It’s not about getting attention, I do it because it looks beautiful to me and I enjoy it. It is a very ‘unnecessary’ car, it’s pretty much designed to be a toy, but some of the best things in life are unnecessary things. It’s about enjoying every day and this is one of those things that helps me do that.”
What are some of the highlights of owning and driving a car like this?
“For me, the best is when you’re having a down day and you need a pick-me-up. You walk into the garage and it’s sitting there, you strap in, drop the windows and just drive. You might listen to music, but maybe not. Maybe you just listen to the engine and the noise and drive to the beach. It’s like a mini-vacation.” Brian laughs and adds, “When the New Hampshire weather cooperates.”
There is no doubt, driving around in your Kia Rio is very different than driving around in a GranTurismo. “It’s like wearing a really nice suit,” says Brian. And while the Maserati brand may not be as recognizable as a Ferrari or Lamborghini, there is definitely that sense of occasion when you pop down to the store for a gallon of milk. It’s special, and people know it. “I can be wearing shorts and a t-shirt and when I step out of this thing, I still feel like I’m dressed to the 9’s.”
What was the car purchasing experience like?
“I was in my office one day, I hadn’t planned on buying the car or going to see it and was kinda like, ‘I’m gonna go test drive one.’” No one knew what he was doing or where he was going, not even his wife. On an inspired whim, he drove down to Ferrari/Maserati of New England to check out his dream car.
“The car buying experience was awesome. It was a very different experience than when I bought my Porsche.” When Brian was out looking for a Porsche, taking a test drive was something he had to really work on getting, but with the GranTurismo, the salesperson practically made him get in the car. “It’s very much a lifestyle thing with this car.”
After the test drive and haggling on the price, Brian and the salesman’s numbers were off by about $2,000 and Brian was ready to walk off the lot and call it a day. The salesman told Brian that he couldn’t believe he was going to walk over $2,000 on a Maserati. Brian immediately came back with, “I can’t believe you’re going to LET me walk over $2,000 on a Maserati!” The salesman immediately conceded and Brian bought the car that day.
Obviously, a lot of pros to owning a Maserati. What are a few cons?
“Not being able to drive it all year (Brian did actually drive the car pretty consistently throughout the winter and even took it skiing once), poor NH road quality around definitely can make driving challenging, low ground clearance makes the front easy to scrape, and some people reactions are a little strange” (people pretending to know what the car is, staring, pointing, etc.)
Bottom line, owning your dream car is like, well, owning your dream car. It makes mundane trips to the grocery store or the dentist events to be savored. It’s this appreciation for the GranTurismo’s special-ness and the passion for the driving experience that has earned Brian Whitmore a place in The Torque Tube.
“It’s about having that whole enjoying the driving experience moment: The love of driving.”
– Special thanks to Brian for his time for this interview and for the Maserati’s 93 octane spent on giving the author the ride of his life!