Saturday, January 9, 2010

1975 Maserati Merak

Oh no, he's writing about another Maserati...

What can I say? Of all the Italian cars that end in the letter "i", I am partial to Maserati. For so long it was the underdog. I tend to root for the underdog.

Surprise! This is not a Biturbo or one of its variants.

Often thought of a a "junior Bora", the Merak was the was developed and released when Maserati was under Citroen's control. The engine was similar to the engine found in the Citroen SM.

Other touches of Citroen can be found in the car. The dash is Citroen SM style, with oval gauges and a single spoke wheel. The 5 speed gearbox was from the Citroen parts bin as was the high pressure hydraulically assisted braking system.

The suspension was not Citroen inspired. It is a conventional independent suspension, with unequal length wishbones/A-arms, coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers an an anti-roll bar at the front and rear.

The body was designed by Giugiaro and looked a lot like the Bora, which is to say it's gorgeous.

The car being offered for sale is a 1975 Merak. It's the last year Maserati was a part of Citroen and the last year you'll find most of the Citroen influences mentioned above on the Maerak. From 1976 on, the interior became more traditional as did the brakes. It's a matter of personal choice as to which version you like.

Older Maseratis, all older Maseratis, no matter who owned the company, are temperamental cars that need plenty of attention. They tend to sell for less than similar vintage Ferraris and Lamborghinis, but are just as expensive to repair and maintain.

Meraks rust, especially around the rear gas tanks. Also check the area under the rear seats, the trunk floor, the areas where the suspension is welded to the front frame and around the windshield and rear glass.

The car pictured above is for sale by a company called Auto Exchange in Alamo, CA. The seller says it's mechanically in good shape, but the paint has flaws. Check that the car has not been repainted to cover shoddy rust repair. It also has the undesirable full size spare, which accounts for the huge hump on the rear deck. It has 36,000 miles on it and the asking price is $16,995.00.

The Merak is a great looking, fun to drive car. But with only a V6, it will never be as highly regarded as the V8 Bora. It's the underdog of mid-engined Maseratis. That's why I like it.

Click here to see the ad for this 1975 Merak.

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