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’.
Like any true thoroughbred, the Merak possessed handling commensurate with its breathtaking acceleration and high 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. 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 with an additional 30bhp and 50kg weight reduction.
This beautiful late model Merak SS was registered in 1980 and has been in the custodianship of just two private owners from new. Now showing a mere 46,000 miles recorded, the Merak is supplied with invoices for various works on the car, with attention to the cooling system, engine tuning, exhaust, braking, replacement tyres, and overhaul of the air conditioning. Bills for c. $7,000 support work completed, and we note the car enjoyed a service before being listed for sale.
The bodywork is said to be very straight and rust-free with beautiful dark blue paintwork, the cream interior is said to be clean, and pleasingly the car is fitted with the more desirable “Bora” style dashboard.
Delivered with original books, and with all EU duties and import taxes paid, this is a great example of one of the best mid-engined junior super cars of the 1970s.