2021 Shannons '40th Anniversary' Timed Online Auction
1982 Maserati Merak SS Coupe (Project)
This lot is no longer available
Arguably the most civilised, not to mention usable, of the Seventies crop of Italian supercars, Maserati’s stunning mid-engined Merak combined a powerful V6 motor with the practicality of occasional rear seats and a decent sized luggage compartment. Sharing its basic architecture and floorpan with the V8-powered Bora, the Merak was similarly penned by the talented Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Ital Design studio in Turin, but instead of the Bora’s rear clamshell there was a flat decklid and novel flying buttress arrangement. In a break with tradition, the new Merak was named after a star in the Plough constellation and saw the greatest influence of the Modenese firms new relationship with Citroën yet, particularly the 90-degree V6 engine, a unit Maserati originally engineered for the SM. As used in the Merak, the Tipo C114 V6 was bored out from 2670cc to 2965cc (a 2-litre tax break model was also sold in Italy), greatly improving both torque and flexibility. With twin overhead camshafts per bank and fed by triple Weber 42 DCNF carburettors, the alloy V6’s 190 horses were delivered to the rear wheels through the SM’s five-speed transaxle, while the brakes (discs all round) also used an adaptation of Citroën’s patented hydraulic power-operated system. The interior was typical of Italian exotics from the era, with low-slung seats and plenty of luxury features, while the compact V6 engine allowed a surprising amount of rear passenger space - even the usual Italian offset driving position was largely overcome thanks to fully adjustable steering wheel and decent seat travel. Introduced at the 1975 Geneva Motor Show, the ultimate Merak – designated the SS – boasted larger Weber 44 DCNF carburettors and a 9:1 compression ratio, along with a blacked-out grille and ultimately the dash and steering wheel from the Bora. Despite a long production life (the Merak remained on sale until 1983, after the Biturbo had gone on sale), actual production numbers were typically low: best estimates put RHD Merak SS output below 150 cars. The Merak’s recipe of practicality, stunning looks and affordability make it one of the best Italian supercars of the Seventies, and the last mid-engined Maserati road car until the MC12.