Issue No. 8
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Owner Profile: Deb Graff's Wicked Wheels
Everybody knows the "type" of person who buys Italian sports cars, right? Affluent, powerful guys who think they need a car which makes a serious statement about them. Well, this month's Owner Profile shows that Magnum, PI has a lot to answer for. Deborah Graff is a successful real estate agent with Allie Beth Allman and Associates in Dallas, TX, a busy and beautiful wife, and a proud and engaged mom. This is a busy lady, one who thinks and talks fast, in fact she needs to do everything fast to fit it all in. She also knows what she likes, and she likes to have fun. She's the very happy owner of a Maserati Quattroporte.
The attraction of the QP to Deborah is obvious; as a mother of three who also unhesitatingly describes herself as a car enthusiast, being able to drive a car which combines exceptional performance and handling with all the practicality of a luxury four-door sedan makes the Quattroporte just about perfect for her needs. It also helps with her work: "Being a real estate agent, I need to have four doors, so I can take people along to showings," she explained. "Around here, just about every real estate agent has a Mercedes sedan - I've had five of them myself. But I think the Maserati has a unique blend of boldness and elegance."
While she has only had the car for a month, it's already made its mark. "I use it every day, it's not a 'weekend' car. I've had Ferraris, Porsches, BMW, Mercedes and Jaguars," she said, "But this is definitely my favourite of all of them. I could be driving this one for as long as I have a driving license!"
A recurring theme ran through our conversation with Deborah, in her elegant Dallas home near Turtle Creek: the uniqueness of the car. "In this neighborhood, you just see one Mercedes after another; you can't say that about the Maserati," she explained. It's a situation she is trying to redress, having started a local Maserati Fan Club. "For the first meeting, we had about twelve Maseratis lined up outside the house; it makes for great networking, it's a really good ice-breaker in conversation. I have two girlfriends who have Maseratis, and a third who will get a Spyder as soon as her current Mercedes lease expires. I'm definitely going to buy another - I intend to drive this one for two or three years, then order one with exactly the options I want - I bought this one right off the floor." In regard to the Maserati's quality, Deborah is effusive: "I think it's excellent; I haven't seen anything about it that's wrong. I love the leather, and the way it shifts; I love the finish."
While the practicality of the car is essential, Deborah clearly revels in the performance and handling on offer; when asked to name her favorite drive, her answer was a scenic, winding road, giving her the opportunity to exercise both the handling and Cambiocorsa gear-shift system to the full. "The shift system feels like you're driving a conventional stick; the first time you drive one, it seems very different, but it doesn't take long for everything to feel in synch. Going up and down the gears on a winding road is, for me, much more interesting than cruising along a freeway." When she repeatedly mentions that the Quattroporte is her favourite amongst all the cars she has owned, we have to ask if that really includes even the iconic Ferrari Testarossa: "Oh yes, including that. I had the Testarossa 15 years ago; now I have children, it wouldn't even be an option. To be honest, I don't like a gate-shift gearbox, so I do like the Quattroporte's paddle-shift, and it handles better too, plus it's much easier to park."
When asked to talk about the attractions of the Quattroporte, Deborah again highlights the uniqueness of the car and brand, saying she hope that Maserati retains this while garnering the sales success it so richly deserves. Going deeper, she highlighted other aspects. "I thought it was a very elegant car," she said. "The interior is special, too - I love the leather and the piping. Before going into real estate, my background was in design, so attention to detail is very important to me."
Returning to our opening topic, and what she feels the car says about her, Deborah came up with an interesting take on the traditional 'macho' image of Italian cars. "It's obviously a powerful car, it has that sporty, masculine, powerful feeling, but I also feel that the elegant body makes it a very feminine car; I think it's very well balanced, it fits both sides. What do I think the car says about me? That I'm independent, strong, unique - all the words I could use to describe the car."
Lest you think Deborah is still in the 'honeymoon' period, having only owned her Quattroporte for a month, she still came up with a couple of things she would like changed about the car. Of course, these things are relative; most car makers would give their eye teeth to turn out a car where the only criticisms were the location of the seat heater switch, and the size of the gas tank - the latter a reflection of the Maserati being her daily driver. But her enthusiasm for the car can be judged by her response to our request to describe her car in five words. With delight, she announced that she could do it in only three: "Beautiful, sexy, hot!" The lady and her wheels are well matched.
Deborah Charisse Graff
Her favorite drink: Ice tea, unsweetened
Her favorite wine or spirit: Chardonnay
Her favorite meal: Mexican food
Her favorite TV show: Anything on the Food Network
Her favorite TV show of all time: I Love Lucy
Her favorite vacation spot: Santa Fe, NM
Place she would most like to visit: Australia
Her favorite man-made wonder: My Maserati!
Her favorite natural wonder: The Rocky Mountains
Person she most admires: Her husband
Historical figures she would most like to meet: Bonnie & Clyde
If she lost her Maserati and had to replace it: That would be really tough - it would have to be a four-door sports car, and there aren't too many of those around.
Her Maserati: Quattroporte