Faded Survivor: 1979 Maserati Merak SS

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

I’ve always been a fan of the Maserati Merak, but these cars have gotten expensive and hard to find. The styling isn’t for everyone, but I like it, even with the rubber bumpers. The seller has known the car for the past 30 years. They believe the car to be all original, right down to the faded black paint. It’s said to start, run and stop great, but it could use a new set of spark plugs. It looks to be in good shape overall and would likely be a nice driver with a good detailing! You can find this Maserati here on eBay in¬†McAllen, Texas with bidding at $29k.

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Comments

  1. 86 Vette Convertible

    That front bumper is a big turnoff to me. Don’t know about the rest of the car.

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  2. Dave Wright

    These cars were the first boring Maseraties. They were the beginning of the disasterous Biturbo that nearly destroyed Maseraties good name. The Bora that was built at the same time was a worthy car as is my Quatroporte. This car was slow, not particularly a good handeling car. They had to add buttresses to the rear in an attempt to save the styling. At the time these were built, they were more money than a good 911, had poorer construction, much slower, smaller interior…….just could not compete either in the market or on the road.

    4+
    • Dave Wright

      There was a 401 V6 as well……..as I was writing, the 401 came to mind but I had to look it up to make sure.

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      • Dave Wright

        Wrong place…………sorry

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  3. Mark Member

    Why not drop in the sparkplugs?

    4+
  4. tirefriar

    The Bora escaped being neutered by the Citroen SM engine/trans, while the Merak had the French power train that was originally developed for the front wheel driver stuffed in its midships. I could have bought one of these at a classic car auction in Palm Springs about 7 years ago for around $16k but passed after learning that on these the engines needed to come out for almost any sort of service.

    3+
  5. Larry B.

    These cars have nothing to do with the Biturbo. They were designed during the Citroen era under Giulio Alfieri. Although it is said that the biturbo engine was derived from this one, the only common part is the rear main seal. All Merak engines were 3L (183 cubic inches). People who have owned or experienced both the Bora and the Merak claim that the 300 pound lighter Merak handles better. See the Motor Trend review of Doug Magnon’s two cars. I have a Bora, a Quattroporte III, and for about six months had a project Merak I was considering buying. The Merak body and suspension is identical from the doors forward and the rear suspension is the same although there is no subframe as in the Bora.

    This one looks like an honest starting point and being a US SS version has features that most would consider desirable – 30hp more than the original version, lighter weight, the Bora dashboard, flat rear deck due to space saver spares becoming legal in the US, and elimination of the Citroen hydraulics (never bothered me on the Bora, but some people don’t like them). The bumpers are the downside. It’s possible to convert to European style bumpers, but I’m just finishing this job on my Bora and it’s not cheap or easy, especially in the rear.

    This might be a fair price for this car today, but the ’74 non-SS I decided not to buy went for $6500. I still wish I’d bought it.

    6+
    • Dave Wright

      The commonality with the Biturbo is via time frame. This is the period when they started development. So, with that 6500.00 you saved not buying the Merak, if you would have bought a nice 356 or early 911 you would have been far ahead from where you would have been with the Merak. I think the big Quatroporte’s like the ones we own (mine is an 82) are a great bargain today with the potential of a huge upside in the coming years……they are also very fun to own and drive. One of my boys is looking for a rough one to pull the engine for a hot rod build.

      2+
      • Klharper

        The merak is nothing like the biturbo, even the companies were different, and Citroen used the maserati designed engine in the SM not the other way around.
        The Merak is basically the little brother of the Bora, without the stainless roof and 2 cylinders.
        I have driven a lot of QP’s own a Merak and driven several others. I will take the Merak way before a QP as the QP is basically a good source for a replacement engine for you ghibli, indy or khamsin.
        The Merak will not set your hair on fire but it moves along nicely and handling is definitely better than the Bora.
        Prices on these like a lot of vintage Italian Iron has gone up, they are not outrageous unless you were looking at them when they were 12-15k and are now ready to buy.
        Be forewarned all vintage maserati parts prices are breath taking.
        Oh put me in the camp of not liking the Citroen hydraulics. They are actually very reliable when properly sorted, I just don’t like the feel.

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  6. giorgitd

    Sold!

    1+
  7. Dan h

    I helped rebuild one of these when I was a newbie mechanic. To me, at the time, it was the shizzz.. ‘Twas my first real exposure to ridiculously expensive parts.
    Everything runs off a hydraulic pump. The brake pedal is as hard as a rock, you barely need to touch it to slow the car down. I’d love to have one, but then I remember how expensive they are to repair, not to mention unreliable.

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  8. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    Agree with those who say these are slow. A decently running E36 M3 will outrun them at 1/3 to 1/4 the price, and be more reliable and cost less to fix & maintain. As a mid engine design they should look exotic, but with that cutoff cabin and those flying buttresses they don’t seem to.

    Someone would have been better off buying an affordable 3500GT and work on it while enjoying it. And it would have been worth multiples of the price paid for this Merak by now.

    1+
  9. Doug Towsley

    Well first one I ever saw, too bad about the performance not being exotic but it is an interesting looking car. Somebody liked it or just screwing around but the BIN was triggered so interesting if the sale goes thru.
    Nice find though. Sure beats another posting on a overpriced Porsche.

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