Tag Archives: Root

Mini Bora – Maserati Merak SS

The Maserati Merak was conceived while the company was in the ownership of Citroen as a more affordable version of the Maserati Bora launched in 1971.

Maserati Merak SS, Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival

Like the Bora the Merak was penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design and featured many similarities in the body panels ahead of the mid mounted motor though the chassis pan featured many differences thanks to the lighter weight of the Meraks 3 litre / 183 cui motor which was first seen in the 1970 Citroen SM with a slightly smaller displacement.

Maserati Merak SS, Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival

The Merak went through 3 phases of development when first launched in 1972 the Merak used many interior Citroen fixtures and fittings including a single spoke steering wheel, dash panel, instrumentation, gearbox along with brakes actuated by Citroen’s high pressure hydraulic system.

Maserati Merak SS, Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival

In 1975 Maserati fell under the Control of de Tomaso and for 1975 most of the Citroen interior derived components were replaced including the high pressure hydraulic operated brakes which became vacuum assisted and the Citroen gearbox which was swapped for a ZF gearbox. The revitalised 220 hp model, like the 1980 vehicle seen here at Bristol’s Italian Auto Moto Festival last year, was lighter than the original and given Merak SS branding to distinguish it from the original.

Maserati Merak SS, Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival

In 1976 the third and final version the Merak 200OGT aimed at avoiding the 38% purchase tax cars in the Italian market attracted if they were fitted with engines over 2 litres / 122 cui. Consequently the 170 hp 2000 GT had an engine measuring 1999 cc 182.986 cui cc.

The Merak was discontinued in 1983 having outsold the Bora by better than 3 to 1 with 1860 being built of which the Merak SS was the most common with around 1000 units built.

The 2012 Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival will be held this coming Saturday April 28th and will be celebrating not only the 40th Anniversary of the Maserati Merak and Khamsin but also the 40th Anniversary of the Lancia Beta and 50th Anniversary of the Alfa Romeo Giulia along with the 100th anniversary of the founding of Bertone. Motorcycle fans will be able to see a large selection of Italian bikes with MV Agusta being the featured manufacturer, an interesting selection of Lambretta’s and Vespa’s will also be in attendance. Best of all the event is free and can be found in the streets around St Nicholas Market.

I have arranged to meet David Roots at 11 am near his unmistakeable Lenham ALFA Romeo, SEE THIS LINK, if your visiting why not pop by and say hello ?

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Mini Bora’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Cobra Killer – de Tomaso Mangusta # 8MA 1216

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This Mangusta is one of a handful of genuinely show stopping cars at Bristol’s Italian Auto Moto Festival last weekend and my personal favourite of those present.

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When I was a kid and we got our first black and white television I was completely captivated by a Sci Fi puppet series called Thunderbirds and there were three real machines representing transport that seemed to capture that vision of the future, the Mangusta with its clean lines and gullwing engine cover, the supersonic Concorde and the ship named Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2.

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Mangusta translated means mongoose a carnivore immune to some snake venom known to kill vipers and typically avoid cobra’s. However the myth is that Mongeese are cobra killers and that is why the name was chosen for this vehicle because de Tomaso wanted to build a car that was better than the Shelby Cobra after a misunderstanding about a supply of engines that went to Shelby.

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The Giorgetto Giugiaro body is fitted on to pressed steel back bone chassis which has it’s origins in de Tomaso’s first road car the Ford 4 cylinder Kent powered Vallelunga.

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401 Mangusta’s are thought to have been built from 1967 to 1971 of which around 128 may have survived.

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All bar one Mangusta were fitted with Ford V8’s the 306 hp 4729 cc / 289 cui for the European Markets, and the 220 hp 4949 cc / 302 cui for the US Market, the US versions had pop up lights in place of the twin headlamps of the European versions. The odd Mangusta was built with a Chevrolet Small Block V8.

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Tarantino aficionado’s might recognise the 155 mph Mangusta from Kill Bill Vol. 2, see trailer at 1m 27 seconds, and Kylie Minogue fans might recognise the Mangusta from the 2001 ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ video.

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Chassis 8MA 1216 seen here was purchased by Alitalia pilot Giancarlo Furiosi and kept by him until 2009 when portrait photographer Jonathan Root acquired it.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Cobra Killer edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a black cat. Don’t forget to come back now !