1974 Maserati Merak
The Maserati story is a fascinating one. The Maserati brothers were all 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. The business was focussed 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.
Maserati chose the trident logo to adorn its cars. Its design was based on the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore.
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. Orsi sold to Citroen in 1969 and subsequent owners of Maserati included the Italian State, De Tomaso, Fiat, Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler.
Maserati’s first road car, the A6/1500 was shown at the 1947 Geneva Motor Show.
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.
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.
The Maserati Merak (model AM122) was introduced at the 1972 Paris Motor Show and it followed in the footsteps of its ‘big brother’ the Bora. 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.
Like the Bora, the Merak was designed by Ital Design’s Giorgetto Giugiaro and its ancestry is obvious though there are many subtle but significant differences in the Merak’s design. The Merak is a 2+2 though its rear seats are best described as ‘occasional’ or for golf clubs only! Its Italian competitors all ran V8 engines, however, Maserati opted to use a transversely mounted 2965cc 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. Interestingly when Alejandro de Tomaso acquired Maserati the car 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 2000cc capacity.
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.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale this Australian delivered, factory right hand drive example as confirmed by Maserati Classiche. This car was sold new into Melbourne, Australia and its production date was April 1974 making it quite an early car. This Merak was originally ‘argento’ (silver) with a dark grey velvet (velour) interior, the colour scheme of the car today.
The car’s first owner was an executive in the fishing industry and he lived in Portland, Victoria which is a coastal town about 350km west of Melbourne. The car was used as its makers intended and that was to be driven! This car made many trips to Melbourne and also Sydney thus accumulating many long distance miles. This Merak remained with its first owner for some twenty years and it was sold from his estate to a family friend who also lived in Portland. The car found its way into the Portland Powerhouse Motor & Car Museum where it was on display for many years. The car’s owner is understood to have taken the car out for a drive at least once every year to help preserve and maintain the car. Throughout the car’s time in Portland it carried its original Victorian registration of IAB400. The car changed hands in January 2015 when it was acquired by a well known Maserati enthusiast in Melbourne. He engaged respected Italian car specialists Maranello Pursang Motors to go through the car to ensure it was ready to be driven on long term trips. Over the next twelve months in excess of $20,000 was spent on this car.
The car is well known to Oldtimer Australia, having been sold by us to its current owner in July 2018. As a result of a change in direction with the current owner’s car collection this Maserati Merak is now offered for sale.
In this day of restored cars, it is very refreshing to be able to offer such an original car that is in very good condition. This Merak still presents really well in silver and it has fortunately avoided being slapped with a coat of resale red paintwork throughout its life. There is nothing wrong with red Meraks, in fact, they do look good in red, but we think they look even better in silver!
The paint work remains in very good condition with what would be considered fair wear and tear for a car of this vintage. Meraks are prone to rust, however, this car looks to be structurally very good. There is a ‘spot’ on the right buttress where it attaches to the roof. The panel gaps are all very good and this really is a very clean straight car. The exterior trim and glass remain in good condition also, though there are a few small marks on the chrome. This car was fitted with new old stock wheels when acquired by its then owner in 2015 and they remain in excellent condition. The front boot and engine bay are also very well kept, clean and in excellent condition. Inside the car the cabin of this Merak is a true time warp. Everything looks to be very original and incredibly well preserved. The velour has faded in places but it does not really detract from its presentation. This Merak really demands an orange corduroy jacket and a pair of flared denims as a ‘ticket to ride’!
It is quickly evident that this Merak has been well sorted and ready to use. We have sold many Meraks over the years and this car would have to be one of the best performing examples on the open road. The engine starts easily and the car pulls strongly through the gears. The gear change is smooth up and down the box and the car handles and stops as one would expect. In fact this Merak is quite a delight to drive.
At some stage in the car’s early life it suffered an engine failure. Maserati supplied a brand new engine that was subsequently fitted to the car. Fortunately, the original engine block has remained with the car and it will accompany the sale. The car also has its original space saver spare wheel, a rare and hard to find original owner’s manual and some recent service receipts.
These junior super cars are really good news and the Maserati Merak has to be good value compared to equivalent Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches.
The Maserati Owner’s Club is very active in Australia and particularly Victoria so the new owner of this Maserati Merak will be able to enjoy this fabulous car with like minded enthusiasts.
- Maserati Merak
- 96291 miles