In the creative environment that coincided with the beginning of the 1970s, Maserati began work on the design of a car with high performance sporting characteristics capable of dominating the hard-fought 3-liter class of the market. In order to avoid risks the layout of the Merak, the name of a star in the constellation of Ursa Major, had more than one point in common with the company's successful flagship, the Bora, and something beyond a simple resemblance. From its sister it took the undercarriage up to the doors, the same body and, with slight modifications, also the suspension and steering. The engine was already a classic 90 degree V6 of some 3 liters, initially developing 190 bhp for a maximum seed of 240 kmh. Roadholding and handling were both excellent: the car was quick and nimble, and great fun to drive.
The Geneva Salon of 1975 was the debut of the most desirable Merak, the SS. Improvements included a reduction in overall weight of 153 kg, an increase in power of 30 bhp, an increase in wheel and tire sizes to those of the Bora (with revised suspension settings to accommodate them), greatly improved instrumentation, layout, interior, comfort and general build quality, and an increase in top speed to 250 kmh. Weight distribution was also altered from 59/41 to 53/47 (front/rear) to make the car more evenly balanced than its sister, further enhancing the available performance over fast winding roads.
Only some 250 SS versions of the Merak were produced before the model ceased to exist, as opposed to 1,309 of the normal 3000 and 102 of the Merak 2000 (built exclusively to avoid the over-two-liter tax in the Italian market).
The SS model pictured here has recently been the subject of a "ground up" restoration and the seller described the car as being in good condition. Prior to the auction Maserati specialist Bill McGrath has carried out a general tune-up.
Supplied with the car are a driver's instruction manual, invoices, and a photographic record of the restoration.
This thoroughbred Italian sports car is appropriately finished in red with black upholstery.
|Maserati Merak SS
S/N 391 was offered at the 24 January 1995 Coys Auction and sold at $21,384 including commission.
Representing one of the last vestiges of the hopelessly idiotic Citroen/Maserati marriage, Meraks are the ugly step-sister who never gets invited to the ball. Attractive enough, and in SS configuration equipped with a decent dashboard and enough horsepower, they still have a limited following. Repair bills can be frequent and high.
Meraks should only by purchased by the fully informed and are definitely not for the faint of heart or the light of pocketbook.