If you had to think of two ends of a spectrum of classiness in the automotive world, with one end being as class-free as a drunken hammer fight in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and the other end as classy as a princess on a gilded horse, what would be at each end? Maybe a novelty car horn that honked out tunes on the classless end, and a Maserati Mistral on the classy side? What if I told you one company made both things?
I hope you had a dropcloth handy for that surprise mind-blowing, because, yes, it’s true: Maserati, in the same period when they were building Ghiblis, they were also building aftermarket air horn kits that played La Cucaracha.
I had no idea until I saw this ad in an August 1969 issue of Road & Track:
It looks like you could get versions that also played Never on Sunday, Lili Marlene, O Sole Mio (to really Italian the shit out of your Maserati), and Colonel Bogey, a that song from Bridge on the River Kwai. Only the Colonel Bogey version was available in chrome, if that’s an issue for you.
Surely, you must be thinking, this can’t be the same Maserati, right? Maserati, making fucking La Cucaracha horns? Is there any more perfect example of automotive tackiness than some land yacht farting out a snippet of a song at the same decibel rating as a 747 taking off? I was skeptical, too. But then I saw this:
There’s surprisingly little information about these online. I did find a video of a set, but sadly they’re not ones that play any music:
What I want to know is were these ever a factory option? Was there once a time where I could have strolled into a Maserati dealership, drained the contents of my flask, and ordered a brand-new Maserati Khamsin with a factory-installed set of horns that played that marching song from Bridge on the River Kwai? Could life have ever truly been so incredible?
It all seems like a dream. A beautiful, beautiful dream.