Ride of the Week… Paul Grisanti and his Unicorn AMG MERCEDES WAGON

There are two kinds of people here in the ’Bu.

There are those who move here, check it out for a while and realize that the salt air, beach life and PCH traffic isn’t for them, and then there’s the other kind. You know, the lifers.

Now, the lifers are an interesting bunch. They don’t see the traffic. They don’t notice the salt air and how it permeates everything. All they see is Malibu — an overwhelmingly beautiful and tiny spot on the planet that, if they will allow it, will fill them with the kind of joy and peace that exists nowhere else on the planet. And when your head is in the stars and your feet far below the ground, it’s hard to notice the little irritations of life.

If you don’t know Paul (and Sara) Grisanti, then you have some work to do as a true Malibuite. The reason being that I’m pretty sure Paul has photocopied himself and is in virtually every corner of this town simultaneously.

And, as a result of this, Paul’s understanding of the streets, homes, addresses and current traffic snarls is unsurpassed. As a real estate broker (a la mode), it’s Paul’s job to know virtually every home in this town, and he’s being doing that for the last 40 years as a resident of the ’Bu. (Sorry, Paul, I had to give up the numbers.)

To get around, Paul has chosen a vehicle that scoots this town and its potential buyers into an automotive frenzy. Paul’s ride is a 500-plus horsepower Mercedes-AMG E63 S Shooting Brake Wagon with carbon ceramic brakes. (I only point out the brakes as the car tends to thunder up and distort time. Carbon brakes help to suck you back into this universe.)

The car and its launch capabilities is bone stock and all-wheel-drive. Right out of the box, it’s like the Starship Enterprise already at Warp 10. But let’s hear some more from Paul.

“I bought it through the Mercedes certified pre-owned program last spring when I sold my 2004 Mercedes E500 sedan with 220,000 miles,” he said. “I had been looking for one for about six months that was not black (too menacing), or modified. It came with an unusual interior (most are black or cream colored) and mine was Mystic Red.”

Think Merlot in a $10,000 Baccarat crystal glass.

“This is a unicorn car,” he continues. “It handles like a sports car but has room for clients, family and open house signs. TV screens on the seatbacks provide an entertainment source for grandchildren, too. At the same time, it is discreet enough to blend with traffic and not draw undue attention to itself or the clients within. Car people know what it is immediately and are enthusiastic about seeing it.”

I myself have ridden in this buster and immediately felt that I must respect it.

According to Paul, the best part of owning this car is being able to go to Cars and Coffee events, and seeing the reactions of fellow car guys.

“I use the car for everything short of going to the dump,” he said. “Plenty of room for a foursome and their clubs. With the seats down, my bike fits in the back without taking off the front wheel. When we prepared to evacuate during the fire, I was able to fit the essentials.”

Paul enthusiastically continues, “My clients are not opposed to riding in the car. I love the way the wagon handles on our curvy, mountainous roads without ever feeling tippy or uncertain.”

Further, the brakes are ready to engage when a distracted driver on PCH decides to pull a U-turn from the curb. Yes, people actually do that. In fact, they do a lot worse and it’s important to have a vehicle that can and does respond quickly.

“Despite all the performance of this vehicle, it is still possible to tolerate inching along in a traffic jam on the 405 without losing my temper or having the car misbehave,” Paul continues. “Malibu still has plenty of space between houses and lots of interesting roads in the surrounding hills and mountains. And they will be beautiful again.”

See what I mean? A lifer, Paul is. (Yoda-speak) And as a lifer, he’s seen it all, as I have. As lifers, we realize that our little corner of the planet is unique. And, being unique, it requires a ride that keeps us present in the moment, grateful and open to time travel.

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