Beyond Help? 1979 Maserati Merak SS

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Italian cars have a reputation for rust problems, and mounting a case for the prosecution is this 1979 Maserati Merak SS. Its history is unclear, but if I said it needed help, that would make me a master of understatement! Its future undoubtedly is as a donor for another project, raising the question of how much of it is salvageable. The Merak is listed here on eBay in Kraków, Poland. The seller set a BIN of €15,000, which equates to approximately US$16,360. Surprisingly, 264 people are watching the listing. However, you must wonder how many are doing so out of morbid curiosity.

This Merak would have weighed 2,976 lbs when it rolled out of the factory, but it now weighs considerably less, courtesy of its extensive rust problems. Most enthusiasts appreciate a flawless classic, but this one is floorless in a less desirable way. I don’t know what happened, but if the seller stated it spent time serving as a submarine, I would be among the least shocked people on the planet. We can see glimpses of its original Rosso Red paint, but most of the exterior features an ugly shade of rust. Assessing what can be saved is pretty easy because there isn’t much. Some trim pieces and glass look okay, with the same true of the engine cover and beautiful Campagnolo wheels. The remaining panels are toast, and I doubt they’ll need a crusher because they are days away from crumbling to dust.

Turning our attention to this Maserati’s interior continues the tale of woe. The dash and gauges appear to have been exposed to the weather, meaning the gauges and wiring harness are probably toast. I doubt the switches are any good, while the wheel has severely deteriorated. The seats and other interior upholstered pieces are present, but I think only the seat frames are viable. The seller mentions this car featured power windows, but who needs that luxury when the vehicle is in this shape?

The drivetrain combination was what set the Merak apart from the competition. While most Italian classics feature fizzy four-cylinder powerplants or sophisticated V8s, the Merak rolled off the line powered by a mid-mounted 3.0-liter V6 producing 217hp. The power fed to the road via a five-speed manual transaxle, and despite the weight, the SS could storm the ¼ mile in 14.8 seconds before winding its way to 155mph. Although the engine is no longer attached to this classic, it and the transaxle are present. Their relative condition is unknown, and it is worth noting that if the V6 requires a rebuild, that is an expensive process. If someone has a Merak with a sick motor and this one is okay, it alone could justify the asking price.

Seeing an Italian thoroughbred like this 1979 Maserati Merak SS reduced to its current state is heartbreaking. There’s little doubt that the few salvageable parts might find their way to another restoration project. This is tragic because, with 194 vehicles built, the 1979 Merak is a rare creature. How many of those were the SS version is unclear, but it is obvious the count has reduced by one courtesy of this car’s demise.

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  1. davidlcoop

    Possibly a transformer?

    Like 7
  2. Fahrvergnugen FahrvergnugenMember

    No need for shipping here. Pack the good pieces in an overnight bag home from Poland with enough room for some fresh kielbasa and perogies, and scrap the rest.

    Like 37
    • angliagt angliagtMember

      Better yet,pass on it & save all that money/work.

      Like 13
  3. bobhess bobhessMember

    Candidate number two for the January “you’ve got to be kidding” award.

    Like 46
  4. Will Fox

    Oh well, if nothing else the seller’s got a vivid imagination, thinking he can get $16K US out of a pile of rust.

    Like 9
  5. benjy58

    Hi Ho it’s off to the scrapyard we go

    Like 10
  6. RMac

    Wow what a pile of um… stuff??
    Who in their right mind would bid anything much les $16k for that?

    Like 6
  7. RMac

    That should have read who woul bid anything? 16k is not believable someone is insane

    Like 8
  8. Big C

    I thought Polish jokes weren’t a thing, anymore?

    Like 25
  9. AndyinMA

    No pictures of the underside?

    Like 18
    • Kh4fan

      What underside?

      Like 11
    • Lance

      That is hilarious!

      Like 2
  10. TheOldRanger

    Someone, please put this poor car out of its misery and drop it off at the nearest junkyard… this is absolutely pitiful.

    Like 6
    • Grant

      Crush it and remember what it once was. Trying to cash in something that was wrecked and forgotten decades ago is not walking the moral high ground. Only a fool would buy this. Perhaps the engine is rebuildable, but that is nowhere worth 15K euros. It is very possible this is at a wrecking yard and instead of the crusher, the yard owner is spinning the wheel.

      Like 5
      • Ted Mathis

        “Crush it and remember what it once was.”

        Crush it? From the looks of it, it’s safer to say finish crushing it.

        Seriously. That thing looks like it was halfway through the crushing process when somebody had second thoughts.

        Like 6
  11. gippy

    Build a Polish kit car- put the engine and transaxle in a Renault Dauphine.

    Like 5
  12. That Guy

    On the plus side, no tools are needed to remove the parts you want. Just grab them and they’ll pull off like a drumstick off a turkey. The only thing holding anything in place is gravity and sadness.

    Like 21
  13. Derek

    Going by the rear bumper, it’s a US model. Everyone else got wee subtle ones…

    Like 4
  14. Mike B

    The answer to the question: can you drive a sports car year round?

    Like 1
  15. Craig Baloga Craig Baloga

    As Steve Magnante would say: “I think I’ll move on, and let this one Rust in Peace”…..

    Maybe Kumar at Gullwing Motorcars would take a punt on this one?

    Like 7
  16. DavidH

    The owner forgot to put the car cover on?

    Like 1
  17. ShaneR

    I guess you shouldn’t store a car in a Salt Water Aquarium.
    Who would have thought?

    Like 2
  18. Ike Onick

    What would it take to get this automobile through U.S. Customs?

    Like 3
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

      Ike Onick,

      Customs doesn’t really care what kind of vehicle it is, as long as the importer of record pays the import duties, typically 2% of the declared purchase price. Because this car will require shipping inside a container, the DEA will likely open the container for a drug sniffing dog to check it out, but they probably would not bother with X-raying to check for hidden drugs.

      As far as the other US government agencies, DOT and EPA both have forms for a car like this. As it appears to have been imported into the USA as a new car, the owner would fill out forms governing the re-importation of a vehicle. All 3 agencies probably have the original forms for both the original importation, and subsequent export to Europe.

      There is one possible [but remote] problem: The car may have been brought into the USA under a bond to make it conform to USA specs. It MAY have not met the requirements, and that would have required it to be exported. But because it has the USA dashboard components including the MPH Maser speedometer, I don’t think it was exported due to spec failure. A contact with US Customs should be able to confirm it’s status prior to trying to bring the car back in.

      Like 4
  19. Autoworker

    I got tetanus just looking at it.

    Like 14
  20. Rw

    Can’t believe Howard who claims to be a Jeep guy hasn’t posted “it’ll buff out” ..

    Like 0
  21. Howie

    With just a little…………………….Never mind.

    Like 4
  22. Danno

    I guess he couldn’t sell the VIN tag without showing all of the other parts, as proof?

    Like 1
  23. Dr, George D. PetitoMember

    I own a restored Maserati Merak. The value in the car has risen to the $100K area in the EU; Cauley Ferrari in Detroit recently sold one for $80,000; other examples can be shown. The Merak, as well as the BORA (v-8) are examples of engineering at their finest. These were mid – engine autos designed and sold in the early seventies to the mid -eighties with Ferrari/Lambo design and function. The Merak was produced in very low numbers enabling collectability and offering design of mid -engine, manual trans, inboard rear disk brakes and front disks, suspension (if hydraulic) far better than any other autos of the period, including its main competition, Ferrari! The interiors were state of the art completed in leather including the headliner. Before you all trash the seller, I believe he knows he has value in the pieces, albeit erroring slightly on the high side. The 2020 Corvette makes the scene in the USA as mid-engine 45 years later and is an instant hit! Wake up, America……many “foreign autos” were well ahead of the game. All have a place and purpose! I drive my winter GMC Denali and love it…. come spring out go the collectibles! PEACE!!!

    Like 7
    • Lance

      Sorry doc, no sale

      Like 3
    • Bob P

      I’d like to get a second opinion…

      Like 6
    • Jost

      I understand the value of foreign cars and the fact that many had very advanced engineering but this one , except if you need taillight lenses or something is a joke. Here in the USA we had many “advanced” engineered cars also, and many rare exclusive cars as I am sure you know. But even those, when they are done.. they are done.

      Like 0
  24. George Birth

    $16K for this pile of rust? All I’ld offer is $16.00.This one is way overpriced for what you see.You would be out of your mind to pay asking price on this rust pile.

    Like 0
  25. Carl Bacon

    “My Maserati does 185” is about all I get from the pictures.. Good luck on the sale!

    Like 1
  26. Elwin Ostrander

    Well~~~~ It is in POLAND ~~!!!

    Like 1
    • Mike G.

      Don’t know much about Poland, do you??

      Like 1
      • Elwin Ostrander

        Not the Country~~~ But I have met some of the people~~

        Like 1
  27. Greg GustafsonMember

    Come on guys… this with a little effort, this should buff out.

    Like 2
  28. pixelpusher

    Well, the key is still in it!

    Like 0
  29. RoyBoyMember

    The value is in the 3.0 engine, the same engine used in the Citroen SM.
    Here is Ca., SM World used to work on them.

    Like 3
  30. Paul R

    You could clean up the dash and hang it on the wall in a bar somewhere.

    Like 2
  31. Steve

    Sure is getting more comments than the average ad!! The one wheel and tail lights might still be good!

    Like 0
  32. Shuttle Guy Shuttle GuyMember

    I think both eBay and BF crossed the line by listing this one.

    Like 1
  33. RMac

    Dr George you cannot seriously think this pile is worth saving!! I think this was place just to elicit comments and look ! IT WORKED!!

    Like 1
  34. Dr, George D. PetitoMember

    @RMac…..Absolutely not! What i said was that the value is in the parts for someone who has one that needs, for example, an engine block. Many parts still valuable because many originals are no longer available (dash, etc.)
    I would offer $1500-5000 depending on what the need was and the extend of good parts. I would bet that he will sell this in the EU and smile on the way to the bank!

    Like 3
  35. RallyAce

    That is an awful lot of money for a full set of lug nuts.

    Like 6
  36. Steve

    The only person dumber than the seller is anyone who would bid on it.
    (264 people are watching the listing just to see if anyone will buy it.)

    Like 0
  37. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    Be “under water” in no time. Statute of limitations long gone, but someone finally found that Maserati that “went missing” 40 years ago as Lake Mead drained out,,,and that isn’t all they found,, :0

    Like 3
    • Karl

      Howard you would be under water after the effort of stacking it on your trailer!

      Like 1
  38. Dr Ron

    This probably won’t buff out easily.

    Note to seller:

    Washing a car usually helps with selling a car.

    Like 2
  39. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    In my 50+ years of searching out old cars, I’ve seen more than a few vehicles in a similar condition. In every case, the vehicle had either been stored outside and vegetation [mostly vines], had been allowed to cover the car to the point it couldn’t be seen from a few feet away, or the car had been stored inside a very leaky windowless garage. In both situations, the environment never dried out and the air around the vehicle was near 100% humidity all the time.

    Like 3
  40. Moit

    Not even worth the expense of shipping through customs.

    Like 0
  41. Michael Kraus

    If you are considering registering on an on-line dating site it may be worth the price to be able to add “I just imported a vintage Maserati from Europe” on your profile.

    Like 4
  42. RickyMember

    Nice patina.

    Like 1
  43. Geoff C

    Bring dustpan & broom.

    Like 2
  44. Keith D.

    Every once in awhile we get a Barn…uh sorry a Scrapyard Find on this site and this mess is 100% one of those

    Like 0
  45. PRA4SNW

    Ran when parked – someone had to say it.

    Like 3
  46. RMac

    LOL pra4snw or drop and LS in it! But looks like someone dropped and LS on it
    You cannot convince me anything on this pile is worth 16k

    Like 3
  47. JagManBill

    ok – save the engine/gearbox, what suspension and dash pieces you can, then use it all in a kit car. How many other people could then say the built a kitcar from a Maserati? Merak no less!

    Like 0
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember


      Now that’s a clever idea!

      Like 0
  48. william stephan

    Id say a pissed of boyfriend torched it but it looks more like a few gallons of acid gel was poured on/in it. Yeah… nice valve cover; great for a 16,000.00 ashtray.

    Like 0
  49. Gary Jones

    For those who love patina…

    Like 0
  50. Damo in Oz

    Reminds me of the Lambo flattened on the bulldozer at the start of the original “Italian Job” movie with Michael Cain.

    Like 0
  51. D Pureblood

    A clear sign the owner has a drug abuse problem.

    Like 2
  52. Jasper

    What a mess! A friend of some neighbors had one just like this. As kids it was something pretty special to go over and check out. Seems a shame someone would let this go like they did. My takeaway is that it uses the same bolt pattern as an air cooled VW!

    Like 0
  53. ed the welder

    Jeff Spicoli can fix it . His Dad is a TV repairman. He’s got an ULTIMATE set of tools .

    Like 1
  54. Bakes

    It looks like it was stuck in a flood then pushed up to the top of the canyon where it got caught in the landslide.

    Are there parts worth using on the car? Probably. $16,000 worth? I serrrrriously doubt it.

    Like 1
  55. Wildfire

    It appears the roof was removed using the Jaws of life and in a emergency situation no one cares about how easy it is to replace or repair the car. only getting the injured party out and to a hospital !
    how much is the scrap price in Poland these days? because I believe that is the only value is in the Vin plate and the scrap price

    Like 0

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