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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !