Forgot we have photos of the Alfieri Maserati from the Pebble Beach concepts lawn!
The car is not that great in real life. Its nose is by far the best feature. Overall, it looks too stubby and odd around the mid-section, where its wheelbase appears too short to balance its giant bulging real end.
Another oddity? The jackasses who were minding the car would not shut its doors and windows. When asked for third time, he slowly dipped down the back glass but wouldn't latch it for photos. I mean, seriously? I thought he was just a rude Italian valet, but looking at the photos now gives me another idea.
They appear to be airing this car out. Or perhaps showing its mini rear seats? Having the ugly trunk glass open all day makes no sense unless the car's cabin was soaking wet and mildewing.
So why leave all the doors open and ruin its big day at Pebble Beach? Job preservation for the sweat-shirt-wearing Alfieri minder? Perhaps it was left outside in the rain, typically a major no-no for any one-off concept like this.
On Pebble Beach Sunday, he was definitely the only person within five miles wearing a zip-up hoodie. Great brand stewardship, Maserati.
Overall, the themes shown on the Alfieri seemed blown out of the water by the design of the Toyota FT-1 in a similar color a few feet away. The side sculpting and actual aerodynamic purpose of the FT-1 makes the Alfieri look like a big and amateurish joke by comparison. The form is just blob-tastic overall from everything besides a front 3/4 angle.
2014 Alfieri Maserati
SRT Viper vs. Maserati Alfieri - Friends... Or Family? Overlay Transparency Analysis
A possible Alfieri-Viper connection has been nagging me since the similarities first appeared about a week after the Alfieri debuted in Geneva.
Why did (and does) it seem so close to the Viper, without sharing almost anything recognizable -- anywhere?
Something about the overdrawn features and super-curved surfaces just strikes me as very similar between the two. But am I just speculating wildly (again)?
Besides that, the rear ends seem quite familiar - with similar venting below each lamp and even a similar hatchback glass liftgate.
But every time I lined the two cars up, there did not seem to be anything there.
Luckily, we have a huge collection of Viper photos to select among - and a good amount of the Alfieri now exist since the car was shown at the Villa d'Este Concours and Goodwood Festival of Speed since Geneva in March.
FRIENDS... OR FAMILY?
There is nothing in any official Maserati materials that would point to:
-- a Viper connection
-- any shared platform, materials, ideas, etc.
But with the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group integrating more and more projects, like the Maserati Levante SUV that is lightly based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee, it seems like a natural synergy for Maserati to use some Viper elements.
We have longed for an automatic Hemi V8 Viper for years - and even more so since the new model went far upmarket with a $120,000 ballpark pricing with a few interior options.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
It does not really matter. As discussed above, if there is sharing in the plan for Viper and a Maserati Coupe, more power to them.
The Viper is a solid performance platform in need of 24-months more development. Maserati could even feed back some knowledge into the Viper for 2016 or 2017 if they were feeling helpful.
Lord knows, Ferrari is loathe to share anything (at all) with the SRT Viper project. Note the plate on this Chrysler demo car, in red.
SO - ARE THEY RELATED?
After lining up the images and doing transparency tests in the profile angle, we have about 90-percent certainty that *some part* of the Alfieri might be a Viper under the skin.
The Alfieri and Viper, most tellingly, share a wheelbase.
But, they do not share other hard points like the door cut, a-pillar location, or windshield rake. The Alfieri is also a bit chubbier in the back glass area, but the length and widths of the car do seem to be near-identical.
OKAY. SO WHAT?
So they are related, let's assume. So what?
Just happy to put my mind to rest about whether there is any bond between the two cars. The Alfieri is mostly a styling buck and concept celebration for the Maserati 100th anniversary celebrations, anyway.
So it is not a big deal, of course, for the two cars to share some fundamental pieces. The Alfieri concept could be based on a rolling wheel-barrow for as much work-out as many concept cars get, so it truly is irrelevant.
PRODUCT PLAN AND ROADMAP
Will a Viper-based Maserati be in the pipeline? That remains unknown. But we'd hunch that there is. Or maybe two: a short two-seater and a stretched 2+2. This would mirror the approach taken with the 300-based Ghibli and Quattroporte.
But as those two luxury sales hits have shown, if the overhaul is deep enough, and includes Italian engines.... buyers are willing to overlook even the most work-man-like chassis roots.