“It was on the back of Car magazine,” says Michael Roberts. “The first Maserati Indy I ever saw: a vision of loveliness.”
That glimpse marked the beginning of Michael’s quest to acquire his very own Indy. At first, the search proved fruitless and Michael just couldn’t find a suitable Indy for sale. Meanwhile, he purchased a Maserati Merak, which provided his introduction to the Maserati owners’ community, and he soon made the connections that would pay off.
Michael met a dealer who had an Indy that “might be for sale”.
“I mentioned a price, but he said that price plus 50% was more to his way of thinking,” Michael recalls. “It was almost two years later that I received a message from him asking if I still had an interest in the Indy. Markets being what they are, we were now talking much closer to the price I had mentioned. When I bought it, it had the number plate GUS 345 on it, but the vendor indicated that he might want the registration back when he acquired another suitable vehicle. I was on borrowed time with that plate.”
Michael’s first Maserati International event didn’t quite go as expected. “Of course, she broke down at the race circuit somewhere in rural northern France. A problem with the clutch master cylinder resulted in a journey home on more public transport. But there is a camaraderie within the community and, within a week, magicians from McGrath Maserati had popped over and worked their craft, and so the car got back to the UK.”
Soon afterwards, the seller of the Indy requested that Michael transfer his cherished plate as had been discussed when the Indy purchase had taken place.
“What was I to do? Scouring the columns of the registration plate vendors and resellers it became apparent that no one was offering what I wanted.”
It was another two years before Michael found a suitable registration in an auction catalogue. He attended the auction of 11 NDY and noticed a group of determined bidders whom he deduced to be professional dealers.
“When it came to Lot 1089, I determined not to bid early but then, as no one offered anything, it was about to be withdrawn, so my hand was forced. I was bid up to over twice my budget, but in the end, my money talked.”