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Baby Bora: 1979 Maserati Merak SS

1979 Maserati Merak Ss Driver

The Bora may have been the big boy in Maserati supercar stable during the seventies, but for those of us on a budget, they can prove to be too expensive for most of us. That is where the Merak comes in. It was designed to be a budget supercar and it still is today. The hard part can be finding a good one. Well, we think we found a keeper here on eBay and the BIN price is set a reasonable $22,900 with the option to make an offer.

1979 Maserati Merak Ss V6 Engine

Citroën was in control of Maserati when they produced the first Merak. It utilized the body from the Bora, but had a smaller V6 engine in the back. This provided more cabin room and even made it possible to fit some painful looking rear seats. That 3 liter V6 offered plenty of power in SS trim. Around 217 hp and a five speed transmission made the Merak a pleasure for all but the most speed hungry drivers. This engine is claimed to run great, but we would still ask for some service records to back up those claims.

1979 Maserati Merak Ss Interior

Red on red may be a little flamboyant for some, but if you are going to buy an Italian supercar, you might as well go all the way. The SS benefited from the interior from the Bora so you can get the same view from behind the wheel for a lot less money. The seller does not mention if the car has been restored at some point in the past, but it would not be unbelievable if the car were all original because it has only covered 23k miles.

1979 Maserati Merak Ss Flying Buttresses

The seller mentions that there are some flaws in the bright red paint, but who cares. This flying buttress equipped beauty is sure to turn heads even if it only had a rattle-can paint-job. The price seems fair even with a few flaws. There are not too many mid-engined Italians you can pickup for this kind of money. We would just want to keep up on all the maintenance and drive it every change we got.


  1. Stan

    belle auto !!

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  2. John Matras Member

    The unfortunate 5mph bumper always made them look like they were playing a black harmonica… That said, you’d best have a mechanic go over the entire car because there are Citroen skeletons in its closet…

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  3. R.J. Denton

    These were real problem cars. I’ve had a Merak, a Bora, and a Kahmsin. The Bora and the Khamsin shared the V-8 with the Khamsin being front engined and Bora being mid. The V8 was a good engine. The Merak’s V-6 was the Peugeot, Volvo, Renault monstrosity. Bad Joo Joo. Couple that with all the Citroen nonsense and no wonder they are still inexpensive. You need a Citroen mechanic with lot’s of SM experience, like Jerry Hathaway at SM World in California to keep it running.

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    • Chris

      You obviously don’t know very much and spread really bad incorrect information. The Merak V6 had NOTHING to do with the PRV motor that the Peugeot,Renault, Volvo developed for themselves.
      These motors were solely Maserati and shared with the Citroen SM. They were/are VERY good motors, very powerful for their size and the time they were built.

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  4. J. Pickett

    The DeLorean may have used the Peugeot, Volvo Renault, engine and it did,I worked for a dealer. The Merak v6 was the one they designed for the Citroen SM. Different completely.

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  5. cardog

    uh, R.J. Denton doesn’t really know what he is talking about. The Merak does definetly NOT use the PVR 6 as J. Picket said it was in the DeLorean.Also this one does NOT have any of the Citroen hydraulics. The very early Meraks had timing chain issues but these were solved early on. These cars are actually a nicer “road” car than a 308. By that I mean more comfortable, better interior, easier to fit, the pedals, wheel aren’t as offset to the center. They are more of a GT than the Fezza and more comfortable on a long drive. That being said the F-car is sportier, faster, and handles slightly better. But the Ferrari also needs more maintenance, (see timing belt replacements) where as I have put almost 40,000 miles on my Merak SS with very few issues.Of course like anyone else here this is my biased opinion.

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    • Jim A

      Hey Cardog, need advice on a Merak engine rebuilder. Thanks for any tips 303-720-1021

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      • Bob Denton

        The Merak engine is the same engined that’s in the Citroen SM. The was a shop specializing in SMs in the San Fernando Valley of LA. It was called SM World.the owner, Jerry, can help you.

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      • Chris

        Auto Turismo Sport in New Milford, CT.

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  6. C Doyle in SF

    I’ll always remember Clarkson’s Merak in the Italian super car challenge.

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  7. J. Pickett

    I cannot afford them, but I have made it a rule since a couple of experiences, and being a svc mgr. I do not buy cars with timing belts, If I am going to keep the car any length time. That is one very expensive maintenance item. I like chains. If someone gave me a Ferrari I would sell it 5000 miiles before belt replacement time. This was a well thought out car.

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  8. J. Pickett

    And you really gotta hand it to most of the Jap cars can you say interference engine?

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  9. Tony

    Looks pretty but under the skin a cobbled up piece of junk. Is that hunk of boilerplate with the alternator and AC compressor bolted to it stock? Nasty.

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  10. cardog

    yup, that is stock…and your solution is…………?the motor is 181 cubic inches, (3ltr.) and in euro trim puts out 220hp. not bad for 1979. The problem is the car weighs 3200lbs. Not heavy by todays standards but too heavy for ’79. this is basically the same motor that was in the Citroen SM. The black “hockey stick” paint sceme is kinda’ wierd on this, I wonder if it is hiding body work?

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  11. Bob

    Do I recall that the Citroen SM motor has the timing chain in the middle and if it has a problem the engine must be disassembled??

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  12. cardog

    Yes, the cam chain runs after the first two cylinder and before the last two. I believe the first year they had single chains and a timing chain issue, but after that they switched to a dual chain and resolved them. It is a very compact motor, probably shorter than it is wide also because it was a 90 degree V. Odd for a V6 but Maserati’s tooling was set up to make V8sand they didn’t have the funds to do otherwise. It is not as some articles have said a V8 with two cylinders loped off, nor is it related to the Bi-turbo V6.

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  13. J. Pickett

    And as GM found out to their expense, with the right timing and crankshaft design a 90% v6 can be made to run smoothly.

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  14. cardog

    My Merak is actually pretty smooth. It is not “turbine” smmoth but it is no worse than most inline 4’s. It is just a bit lopey at idle and maybe the motor mounts are a bit too soft for the purpose of the car, (i.e. not a “luxury” car), but just off idle it smooths out wonderfully. It is not at all like I imagined when I was younger and read the car mags reviews of it’s “rough idle”

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  15. Bill

    Save the dough & get a Fiero or two. Parts are readily available. I have two Fieros, one w/ a transplanted 3800 V-6 and 4t60 transaxle.

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  16. cardog

    Actually an ’84 Fiero was my first new car.I loved the look especially from the front 3/4’s view over the hood and the windshield. though like th eMerak they were lamblasted at the time, (and still a lot) I had No issues with mine. I drove it 125K untill a deer ran across the road and messed up the front. even though it was just the “iron duke” 4cyl. It was fun. I was once racing a train on a road that was parralel to the tracks. Th etrain was doing 85. I got my speedometer to swin around past that and hit the peg at 0, guessing 100? I was younger and foolish. I still regret getting rid of it. I wish I could find a decent one now…actually I wish I could find a ’88 with the uprated suspension. I kinow they’reout there but the maserati scratches that mid engine exotic itch for me…for now.

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  17. J. Pickett

    GM let the Fiero down. Mainly by the time they got it right they killed it like they did the Cadillac Allante. But initially they got this rep for burning up. Simple explanation, You cut the oil pan size down to 3 qts in the iron duke engine to make it fit in the space provided. Then you tell the customers they don’t need to change the oil till 7500 miles. At that time i worked for an Olds dealer. GM’s position on oil consumption was 1qt every 800 to 1000 miles acceptable usage. Do the math. Innocent civilian doesn’t check the oil between changes, pops the engine and if done properly sends coolant and possibly some oil onto the catalytic converter. Instant blaze. The components were tried and true. Just poorly conceived, At the time GM was notable cost cutting so the budget probably forced some of this.

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  18. B-Man

    is that a REAL SS? or just one with a 38$ badge on it like Clarkson found out in Series 7 of top gear UK. lol ” YA SEE!! MY BIG END WOUND UP IN A BUCKET!”

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