1974 Maserati Merak ***Beautifully Restored Aust Delivered***
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale this striking Australian delivered, factory right hand drive Maserati Merak.
The documentation on file from Maserati Classiche confirms that this car was completed on the 11th June 1974 and sold to Auto Italia in Melbourne. Its production date makes this quite an early car. The car was originally delivered in ‘orancio’ (orange) with a dark grey velvet (velour) interior.
Apart from being sold new into Adelaide, the early history of this car is not known. The earliest documentation on file is a South Australian registration certificate dated 30th October 1987 and a transfer of ownership to a Mr H Clisby dated 1st May 1988. At that time the car was registered as UMZ 377.
There is a detailed write up on file from a previous owner, a Mr Don Venn from Adelaide, in which he mentions he purchased the Merak in 1990. In his ownership the car was stripped back to bare metal including the engine frame and the engine bay. All corrosion was cut out and replaced with new metal. There are photos on file documenting the work done. The car was then painted using Dulux acrylic lacquer in ‘Ferrari Fly Yellow’. Mechanically, the car also underwent a full refurbishment. Everything was assessed and what needed to be replaced was replaced.
In 1994 the car was sold to its next owner, Mr Tony Chapman from Sydney, NSW. At that time the car had 74,000 miles on the odometer. Chapman used and enjoyed his Merak through his 22 years of ownership clocking up some 24,000 miles.
Chapman sold the car through Shannons’ 2016 Sydney Spring auction. Its new owner was a classic car enthusiast in Perth. Whilst he loved his new yellow Merak he thought it would look even better finished in its original colour of orange! He engaged the services of Italian car specialists, Auto Delta, in Perth Western Australia to generally freshen up the car and have it repainted. One thing led to another and the car essentially underwent a second restoration. In addition to a repaint, the interior was retrimmed and a significant amount of mechanical work was also undertaken. The mechanical work included overhauling the hydraulic system, cooling system, brakes, steering and fitting a new clutch. The engine was rebuilt, which included refurbishing the cylinder heads and replacing the block which was in poor condition.
At that time the odometer read 98,437 miles.
After the restoration was complete the car was shown at Perth’s premier classic car event, the Celebration of the Motorcar in November 2020 where it won the Classic Sports Car class.
The car’s owner then moved to Brisbane and decided to move in a different direction with his collection.
This fabulous Maserati Merak was sold through Oldtimer Australia to its current owner in February 2022, at which time the odometer read 98,537 miles.
After the current owner acquired the car he ironed out a few post restoration bugs and had the paint work ceramic coated. He has subsequently regularly used and enjoyed the car. It has been taken to various classic car events in and around south east Queensland, where it has been a regular trophy winner. It won the People’s Choice award at the Lakeside Euro Day in May 2022 and European Sports category at the Noosa Beach Classic Car Show in July 2022 and again in September 2023.
The car was also taken to Auto Italia in Canberra in March 2023 where it was awarded the Chief Judge’s Choice award.
Today the odometer reads 01,912 miles, so in two years of ownership the car has travelled almost 3,400 miles or 5,600 km.
It is great to see that the car has been driven, but we should point out it presents even better than when we sold it back in 2022!
The Maserati Merak is one of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s finest pieces of work. The trademark flying buttress softens the look of the car and as a result it carries colour exceptionally well.
The first thing you’ll notice when you walk up to this car is the colour. It is ORANGE, very ORANGE, however, it is just ‘so seventies’ and it really suits the car. It shows off the lines perfectly and contrasts well with the painted Campagnolo wheels.
Overall, the first impressions of the car are really good. It presents exceptionally well and the paint has retained a deep gloss and a mirror like smooth finish. Walking around the car we struggled to find any imperfections. There is a small mark in the swage line of the passenger’s door and a small bubble in the bottom front of the passenger’s door. You have to kneel down and look closely to see both.
The external trim is minimalistic, however, it is all in very good condition. This includes the bright work, lights/lenses and the glass.
The car sits on its original and unique Campagnolo wheels. The wheels are in very good condition with no kerb rash. They are shod with period correct Michelin XWX tyres, size 205/70/15 which are still in excellent condition. They are date stamped 3815 (week 38, 2015).
Open the door and you are welcomed by a very good looking interior. These early Meraks had the same dashboard as its big bother, the Maserati Bora. The upholstery is relatively fresh and the seats are in very good condition with no sign of any cracks or tears in the leather. They are comfortable and provide plenty of support. The Merak is a token 2+2 and the two rear seats appear to have never been used, other perhaps for an overnight bag. The centre console, door cards and dashboard all presents equally well. The carpets remain plush and are clean. All the instruments are clear and appear to be in good working order.
Under the front bonnet you’ll find a small boot which is clean and the carpet is in good condition.
The engine bay also presents very well. Everything looks clean, neat and tidy. The space saver spare wheel, running a Pirelli tyre that appears to have never been used, sits in the rear of the engine compartment. It is quite an incredible design that the engine sits so far forward in this 2+2 mid engine sports car! On closer inspection everything in the engine bay looks to be essentially correct.
Our memory from early 2022 was that this car drove really well. After being fettled, then used and enjoyed we were keen to take the car out for a current test drive. The starting procedure is typically Italian car of that era. Turn the ignition on, allow the fuel pump a little bit of time to fill the Weber carburettors, then give the accelerator pedal a few pumps and turn the key to start the car. It fires up easily, even from cold and the fairly quickly settles into a smooth idle.
Out on the road this Maserati Merak is fun to drive. By modern standards it is not fast, but it feels light and nimble on the road. The engine responds quickly to the slightest touch of the accelerator pedal and you often feel like you are travelling faster than you actually are. The Citroen controls are quirky, but once you get used to driving the car it is very rewarding. The gearbox, which should be used to maximise the power band from engine feels precise and direct. The gear changes are smooth both up and down the box. The steering is direct and precise, which coupled with the superb handling ensure that the car feels glued to the road at all times. The brakes are very direct and pull the car up easily and in a straight line.
All too soon our test drive comes to an end and we return the car to our showroom.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few tired Maserati Meraks out there, which can bring no end of problems. Good cars that are sorted, ready to use and enjoy are few and far between.
This car is a very well sorted example of an iconic ‘70’s Italian junior super car which is ready for its next owner to use and enjoy.
Accompanying the car is a very good history file, various trophies, a car cover, a copy of a parts manual, a copy of a workshop manual and a copy of an owner’s manual.
- Australian delivered, factory RHD early Merak.
- Beautifully presented example of this iconic Maserati
- Recently restored in its original colour
- Good history file
- Ready to be used and enjoyed.
The Maserati story is a fascinating one. It is the story of a family with daring, courageous and forward-thinking ideas. The story starts with Rodolfo Maserati, a railway engineer who was employed by the Italian monarchy and the father of seven sons who all had a passion for engine design and racing cars. The Maserati brothers all became involved in the automotive industry in some way or another, however, it was on the 1st of December 1914 that Alfieri, Ettore and Ernesto Maserati officially opened Alfieri Maserati Workshop in Bologna, Italy.
Maserati chose the trident logo to adorn its cars. Its design was based on the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore. The colours chosen for the logo were also the colours of Bologna, red and blue.
The business was focused on repairing, servicing and preparing cars, however, the World War cut business short and it wasn’t until 1926 that Maserati built its first car, the Tipo 26.
It was all about motorsport back then and in 1937 the Orsi family acquired ownership of Maserati which was in desperate need of financial backing to be able to survive. During the Orsi years Maserati grew from a boutique but very successful race car builder to one of the world’s leading manufacturers of hand-built sports and GT cars.
Maserati built its first road car in 1946 even though times were tough in post War northern Italy. The car was the Maserati A6 – where ‘A’ was for Alfieri and ‘6’ for the number of cylinders. The initial reception of the car was positive and a ‘production’ Maserati A6/1500 was then shown at the 1947 Geneva Motor Show.
This was a significant milestone in the Maserati legend and subsequent models included the A6G/2000, 3500 series cars, 5000GT, Mistral. Quattroporte, Mexico, Sebring and Ghibli. Maserati also continued to build very successful race cars that dominated tracks around the world including the 250F, 300S, 150S, 450S and the Birdcage.
Orsi sold to Citroen in 1968. Soon after, the idea of a two seat mid-engined super car was conceived. It was then in the summer of 1969 the first prototype of Maserati’s new car was built. This car was known as ‘Tipo 117’ and was ultimately named Bora after a wind from the Northern Adriatic Sea. The car became a reality in relatively short time and it was officially launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1971.
Like the Ghibli before it Maserati’s new flagship was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, this time for Ital Design. In many ways the Bora was a unique design and its trademark was that its roof and ‘A’ pillar were finished in brushed stainless steel in contrast the rest of the painted body.
The early seventies were tough time for supercar manufacturers as the oil crisis hit hard, effecting the sales of cars with large displacement engines.
Maserati’s answer was the V6 engined Merak.
The Maserati Merak (‘Tipo 122’) was introduced at the 1972 Paris Motor Show and it followed in the footsteps of its ‘big brother’ the Bora. The model’s name, chosen by Maserati’s commercial director Dominique Drieux, was not a name of a wind and is not to be confused with the Eponymous Indonesian city in Java. It receives its name after a star in the Ursa Major constellation.
Like the Bora, the Maserati Merak was designed by Ital Design’s Giorgetto Giugiaro and its ancestry is obvious though there are many subtle but significant differences in the car’s design. The Merak is one of Giugiaro’s finest pieces of work. Whilst based on its big brother the Bora, the Merak doesn’t have a full glass fastback, but rather a cabin ending abruptly with a vertical rear window and a flat, horizontal engine cover pierced by four series of ventilation slats. Giugiaro completed the vehicle’s silhouette by adding open flying buttresses, visually extending the roofline to the tail.
The Merak is a 2+2 though its rear seats are best described as ‘occasional’ or for an overnight bag or golf clubs only! Its Italian competitors all ran V8 engines, however, Maserati opted to use a longitudinally mounted 2,965cc V6 engine that had its roots in the Citroen SM. Given the company was owned by Citroen at the time it is not surprising that a number of Citroen components were used, including the engine as well as Citroen’s hydraulic systems and much of the interior.
Maserati built some fabulous cars during Citroen’s ownership (including the Indy, Bora, Merak and Khamsin), however, times were tough and the company struggled financially. Citroen placed Maserati into liquidation in May 1975 and it was ultimately saved by the Italian government and Alejandro de Tomaso took control shortly thereafter.
Interestingly when Alejandro de Tomaso acquired Maserati the Merak underwent a ‘make over’ of its interior which was well received at the time. In addition to the ‘standard’ Merak, Maserati brought out the Merak SS in 1976 which was lighter and had a more powerful engine and also the Merak 2000 in 1977 specifically for the Italian market which imposed a heavy tax on cars with engines greater than 2,000cc capacity.
The Merak was one of the seventies junior supercars, much like Lamborghini’s Urraco and Ferrari’s 308 GT/4, that was going to tackle Porsche head one and be sold in significant quantities to underpin the cash flow of the company during the oil crisis.
The formula made good sense and Maserati enjoyed much success with its Merak and 1,820 examples were built in a twelve year period from 1972 to 1983.
- Maserati Merak
- 01,912 miles