24k Genuine Miles: 1974 Maserati Merak

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Italian sports cars from the 1970s have a tendency to be incredibly expensive to buy, but the Maserati Merak is a car that has tended to buck that trend. Prices have tended to remain very competitive when compared to the Merak’s contemporaries from Ferrari and Lamborghini, and this car really tends to demonstrate this. It has been listed for sale with a BIN price of $49,000, and while this may not appear to be cheap, it is certainly competitive for a Merak with a genuine 24,000 miles on the clock. Located in Dallas, Texas, you will find the Merak listed for sale here on eBay.

Probably one of the greatest challenges faced by the Merak was that it was forced to compete with its own sibling. The Merak always found itself very much in the shadow of the more powerful and more expensive Bora, which had been released the previous year. While it shared the majority of its underpinnings with the Bora, the Merak brought different styling to the table, along with a V6 engine compared to the Bora’s V8. This particular Merak appears to be in nice condition. It doesn’t appear that there are any real issues with the body or paint, but a careful inspection of the underside of the car would be quite advisable. After all, it is an Italian car from the 1970s, and these were renowned for rust issues. If it looks okay from underneath, then that’s going to be a promising start. The styling of the Merak is not something that has ever really grabbed me personally, although I do like the flying buttresses that were used to visually extend the roofline down to the rear of the car. I’ve always felt that this is probably the design highlight of the car.

One of the design aspects of the Merak that has held up well over the decades has been the interior styling. When you stop to consider that this is a 45-year-old design, it really doesn’t look that dated when compared to modern sports cars. The interior of this Merak is in reasonable condition. The leather on the driver’s seat is looking a bit stretched, but the overall impression is actually quite good. However, listing like this one sometimes leave me scratching my head a bit. I always wonder why people who are selling a thoroughbred car like this don’t go to the trouble of giving the interior a “once-over” with a vacuum cleaner because that alone would make a big difference to the interior presentation. That’s just a personal thing, but I guess that gives the new owner at least one task to take on for themselves.

It was what the Merak contained under the hood that really caused it to suffer in the face of the Bora. The engine wasn’t a V8 with high horsepower, but a 2,965cc V6 with an output of 190hp. However, a smaller engine didn’t necessarily equate to a car with lack-luster performance. A Merak was still capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds and would reach a top speed of 143mph. Power from the engine was sent to the rear wheels via a 5-speed transaxle. The owner isn’t terribly forthcoming about the mechanical state of the car, but he does say that since it has been in storage since 1996, it will require a full mechanical check.

Although it was designed to be an affordable alternative to the Bora, the Merak was not a huge sales success for Maserati. Figures vary slightly, but during the 8-years of production, various sources place build numbers as being between 1,666 and 1,732 cars for worldwide sale. That makes ownership of a Merak akin to membership of a fairly exclusive club. Today, a good Merak will generally sell for around the $45,000 mark, while an immaculate example will fetch around $60,000. In 2017, a pristine example set a new sales record when it sold for $96,800. This one is a low-mileage example that appears to be in decent condition. If it can be revived fairly easily, then it could be a great entry point for someone on the hunt for an Italian thoroughbred.

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Comments

  1. HoA Howard AMember

    Um, I think you are overestimating your audience here. Maserati Meraks? M-B limos? Didn’t think I’d say this, but stretching the limits of what I thought Barn Finds was all about,,,

    Like 2
    • Capriest

      As far as obscure european sports cars I’ve never seen before go the Renault Fuego was more my flavor.

      Like 2
    • Healeymonster

      I always liked the design but not the performance. Years ago i passed on a nice example fir 16k because it was not the more desirable “S” model. Times sure have changed..

      Like 1
  2. RayT

    And you can go to your nearest Citroen dealer for many spare parts and engine/transmission service!

    Get a Citroen SM parts car if your Merak needs an instrument panel or steering wheel…..

    Like 5
    • Neil Plucknett

      In all honesty – I would rather have the SM and use a Merak as the parts car.

      Did the US get to see the Top Gear episode where the guys had to race to a “Gentlemans Club” and had to use cheap (>£1,000) super cars?
      Clarkson had a Merak SS (so he he thought – wading through the invoices he found one for an SS badge….), Hammond a Ferrari Dino falling apart in the cabin and May had a Lambo with electrical faults. Needless to say nothing went to plan – Clarkson went out first when the Meraks engine grenaded. Then Hammond ran out of fuel. Finally May ran out of electrons. No one reached the target destination.

      Like 11
  3. Capriest

    My lasting impression of seeing this the first time is seeing the hood bulge and thinking “blower???turbo???intercooloer???”……NOPE! Spare tire in the engine compartment…..like a subaru DL! Not exactly what I’d want to see under the hood of my italian exotic.

    Like 3
    • John

      That bulge was only on the USA models.

      Like 0
  4. Don Meister

    The proportions of the body just seems “off” to me, and I have to agree with the majority….this is not a BF. It’s a “warehoused” vehicle article.

    Like 0
  5. TomMember

    Howard, I hear you BUT I respect an older and interesting car that is “found” wherever. Key word is respect. there are a lot of comments on Barnfinds about “who cares” etc like all the hate on the Grand Nationals with low mileage……

    Hey…..if it is not of your liking…..skip over it. I am sure there are people who this car in this story or a Grand National are their FAVORITE cars. Again, this site is about “finding” cars OR cars that have been found…..and making those of us who look at the site “aware”.

    Now, this story I FIND THE CARS INSIDE OF THE BUILDING in the background far more interesting and wondering “what is this place” full of expensive cars with a layer of dust on them ??!!!!

    Like 16
  6. Eric Z

    Nice car with the ugliest front bumper I’ve ever seen.

    Like 3
  7. Coventrycat

    The interior doesn’t look dated compared to today’s sports cars? Where’s the LCD screen and cupholders?

    Like 0
    • RayT

      Fortunately, nowhere to be seen!

      Although this isn’t a Bora, and thus doesn’t have either the sounds or the suds of its beefier brother, this is a driving car. No other “entertainment” necessary!

      And, yes, like Neil Plucknett above, I’d rather have an SM. But then, I have a thing for classic Cits….

      Like 3
  8. SMS

    24k miles sounds about right. Mine had a little more than that but could not afford to have it go further. Just about everything that could have gone wrong with a car did, except for the looks, engine and trans.

    Agree that the engine is better in an SM. They go faster and are more comfortable with the same setup.

    These were dirt cheap in the mid 80’s so picked one up for the looks. It actually made my friends FIAT seem reliable.

    I can understand the seller not being forthcoming about the mechanical state. When I bought mine it was in great shape. The previous owner had kept everything up and loved the car. The seller of this one most likely knows that no matter how good a shape this car is in it will bring the next owner to tears.

    When mine caught on fire I jumped out. People ran to put it out and I didn’t care.

    Like 7
  9. Marc

    Fun, I see my old car “related finds” SS link above! Memories! I’d only be interested in a SS as they had that little bit of extra. Also, this car appears to be a post Citroen era car.

    https://barnfinds.com/1978-maserati-merak-ss-garage-find/

    Like 0
    • Marc

      My bad, just saw the year and dashboard- still Citroen.

      Like 0
  10. BobinBexley Bob in BexleyMember

    Front wheels on dollys ? I smell beat down.

    Like 0
  11. BruceB

    It really is a great looking vehicle except for that front bumper….what were they thinking? At least they didn’t have to worry about it stealing sales from the Bora.

    Like 1
  12. KEVIN HARPER

    I had one of these, back when they were cheap. It was not a bad car, but not as sharp as a 308gt4 or similar.
    Engines had some timing chain issues but these have been corrected.
    The bumpers on this were not bad as the rubber extensions could be removed. They got much worse in 75 and looked like park benches had been bolted on. Retrofitting to euro bumpers is common.

    The trunk is a little odd but they did have flat trunk ones. I never liked the spare wheel hump. This was done just for US versions as at that time a full size spare was required.
    They didn’t use a lot of Citroen hydraulics, and only on the early ones. I think that only the headlights and maybe the seats were hydraulic controlled.
    Things to check. Tensioners on chains is the most important and being Italian you have to check for rust. Back around the gas tanks area is the most common.
    These are a good start in vintage exotica. They are reasonably quick, look good and fun to drive, but they are still basic with no computers and everything still mechanical.
    I am a little put off by their price, I think both the 308 GT4 and the lotus espirit are better cars in period.

    Like 2
  13. Jeffrey S.

    The seller did not try to start the car. Unsure if it runs. So that 49K price tag is for an unknown drivetrain. That’s a big gamble and not worth it at that price point. Running condition cars sell for that price or lower.

    Like 0
  14. t-BONE BOB

    nice

    Like 0

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