Maserati followed-up its first mid-engined supercar – the Bora – with the similar Merak. Launched in 1972, the latter was intended as competition for Ferrari’s top-selling Dino 246 and used a stretched, 3.0-litre, 190bhp version of the four-cam V6 that had debuted in the Citroën SM. The French firm owned Maserati at the time, so the Merak made use of the SM’s transmission, power-operated, all-disc braking and, more controversially, Citroën’s quirky instrumentation, though this applied to left-hand drive cars only, right-hand drive examples using the more conventional fascia of the Bora. The unitary construction chassis, all-independent suspension and impeccable handling remained basically as the V8-engined Bora’s, though the Merak offered the convenience of ‘+2’ seating in the rear and superior all-round vision thanks to its distinctive rear ‘flying buttresses’.
Competition from Ferrari’s new Dino V8 prompted the introduction of a more powerful version – the Merak SS with 220bhp engine and revised interior – for 1975. Widely recognised as one of the finest, if not the finest, of contemporary V6s, the Merak SS engine proved smooth, powerful and capable of delivering its urge over a surprisingly wide range for such a high performance engine. Like any true thoroughbred, the Merak possessed handling commensurate with its breathtaking acceleration and 150mph maximum speed. ‘Performance and handling are the raison d’être of a mid-engined sports car, and the Merak’s astounding cornering power is a match for its straight-line punch,’ observed Motor magazine.
Changes made to the SS suspension greatly improved ride comfort over that of the original Merak, while alterations to the instrumentation, switch gear, and interior, and the phasing out of the Citroën brakes in favour of a more conventional system addressed some of the criticisms levelled at the earlier version. The most successful Maserati of its day, the Merak ceased production in 1983 after 1,832 had been built, 626 of them the SS version.
One of only approximately 300 right-hand drive models produced, this example on offer today is finished in Giallo Fly Yellow with a wonderful grey interior. According to the history file this SS has had just 5 owners from new. ETA 659T was acquired by a Mr Price on the 21st October 1988, he kept the car until it was sold to a David Fordham in 1995. David owned the car until the car was purchased by the current vendor in 2008. The current vendor, a well-regarded Maserati Collector and Connoisseur spent over £14,000 with the world renowned Bill McGrath Ltd in 2011- bringing the car up to the condition and specification seen today.
Complete with UK V5 registration, and a history file with various bills, MoTs and receipts dating back as far as 1978 this highly collectable SS specification Merak is ready to be enjoyed by its next custodian.