How did we get here?

Nathan Chadwick 2nd April 2021

Maserati Ghibli II Cup in the garage.

As you read this, the final preparations for delivery will be happening now. Pages being binded, packed and shipped, ready to be read at the start of April.

It’s been a long road to this point and we thank you for your patience – in less than a year we’ve gone from nothing to something, and we hope that something is one you’ll enjoy thoroughly. But how did it all start? Well, it all has a bit to do with a certain blue Maserati, as Nathan explains…

I make no secret of my love for Maseratis – the boxy ones from the 90s in particular. They’re mean, angry cars that look as if they’ll chew your arm off should you lean on the front wing.

My favourite one of all has to be the Ghibli II Cup – I’ve driven a couple now and that old adage about never meeting your heroes just doesn’t ring true. If anything, they exceeded my sky-high expectations.

However, a couple of years ago I’d yet to do little more than ogle the very occasional example that came up for sale, or leaf through old copies of Performance Car and early Evos for Harry Metcalfe’s ownership tales. At the time I was working for another magazine (RIP), and given the car’s 25th anniversary was coming up the following year, I set about researching cars and owners willing to let me behind the wheel for the magazine.

Idly drifting across the Facebook page of UK Maserati and Italian specialists Emblem Sportscars I saw IT – that IT was a Maserati Ghibli Cup, and in my favourite colour, French blue. I had a cargasm in the middle of the office.

Maserati Ghibli Cup in French blue

Via Emblem I duly made contact with Doug, the owner, and now creative director of Strada. Through chatting we discovered a shared love of boxy Masers and Alfas, and old car magazines. We promised to keep in touch, which we did.

In early 2020 Doug got in touch – ‘Would you like to write a series of books on hot hatches?’ He asked. The answer was a yes, and after approval from my bosses for this freelance endeavour, I set to work on the research and initial planning.

Then COVID happened, and then the magazine was put under review, and eventually shut down. It was an emotional time – I’d been with the magazine since the very start, and poured so much of my life into it. Aside from writing and productionising the mag, I’d devoted so much to trying to make it a success – social media, garnering advertising leads, dealing with reader complaints, meeting and cajoling advertisers. Now it was all over.

Would you like to write a series of books on hot hatches?

In a mild fit of desperation, I flippantly asked Doug if he fancied buying the title. He instantly replied in the affirmative.

It wasn’t to be - a good hard look at the figures revealed that the deeper reasons for the mag’s closure weren’t going away. Instead, we thought we’d make our own magazine – Strada. Plans had been in place for a magazine for some while, and market research undertaken – this was the instigator to make it happen. Prior to my arrival, said market research had proved there was a need for a magazine like Strada - with my old magazine gone, now seemed a good time for a fresh start, something new and challenging – and we hope you like it.

What of the blue Maserati? Well, it turned out to be an Open Cup racer that had been turned into a road car. The Open Cup was a racing series designed to promote the Maserati in the mid-90s; it largely followed DTM events around Europe. It ran for one full season in 1995 and two races in 1996 before the plug was pulled – due to cost grounds, said Maserati. Some believe it was because the car was faster than the Ferrari F355 Challenge cars…

Doug’s car is being restored and returned to full racing specification, and Strada will be telling its story in a few issues’ time.

There must be something about Ghibli IIs. After all, one of those led to the formation of another magazine, more than 20 years ago…

Order your copy of Strada today stradamagazine.co.uk/issues

Maserati 3 in Frech Blue