Exotic Restoration: 1979 Maserati Merak SS

In the world of the purebred Italian sports car, Maserati has tended to be the forgotten child and has found itself overshadowed to a certain extent by offerings from Ferrari and Lamborghini. However, Maserati has produced some pretty interesting cars, and have attempted to show some diversity in its models. This Merak SS is a good example, as it represents an attempt to build what is a 2+2 sports car. This particular Merak is going to require a brave soul to return it to its best because it is a project that is going to need plenty of dedication and patience to see it through to completion. Located in Flanders, New Jersey, you will find the Merak listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has now reached $8,700, although the reserve hasn’t been met.

Before we tackle what we can see with the Merak, it might be worth addressing what can’t be seen. The owner provides a good selection of photos, and these show floors that look solid and clean. The only thing that they don’t show is the state of the rear sub-frame, which is pretty important. This is what the engine and transmission bolt to, and what you don’t want is this to be compromised in any way. Tackling what we can see, there are plenty of rust issues that will need to be addressed, and these are all in the lower extremities of the body. This is the reason why I would really like to get a look at the sub-frame. The Rossa Corsa red paint looks really tired, but if the next owner is going to take on a complete restoration, then this will be able to be addressed at that time.

The interior of the Merak has not been spared the ravages of time and is going to require plenty of time, effort, and not to mention, money, to return it to its best. The Merak was nominally designed to be a 2+2, but I must hasten to add that the rear seat is really designed to accommodate very small adults or children. If the driver is tall and needs to move the front seat too far back to get behind the wheel, then the rear seat is essentially not fit for anyone from the human race. The highlights of this interior are the carpet, door trims, and the console, which all look to be quite good. The top of the dash looks like the San Andreas Fault, while the seats will need new covers. The seats shouldn’t present a major problem, but the dash pad potentially could. These are now exceptionally hard to find, and it may well be a case of finding someone capable of restoring the original pad.

Powering the Merak is a 2,965cc V6 engine, which sends the power to the road via a 5-speed manual transaxle. In its day, the Merak was considered to be a reasonable performer, but it was definitely more of a sports car than a full-blown supercar. A ¼ mile blast took 14.8 seconds, which was fairly respectable, as was a 0-60mph time of 6.6 seconds. The good news with this Merak is the fact that it is mechanically complete, it rolls and steers okay, and the transmission shifts through all gears. The bad news is that although the engine turns freely, the car doesn’t actually run. My greatest concern is the sheer quantity of corrosion that can be seen on so many components in the engine bay. This suggests that the Merak hasn’t spent its life in the most sympathetic of climates, and makes me wonder how things look inside the engine. A rebuild for a Merak engine can be a pretty expensive proposition, and I would be willing to bet that this will probably be on the agenda with this car.

When it comes to rarity, the Maserati Merak SS does rate some points, as there were only 312 examples imported into the USA. They might not rate as the most attractive car that Maserati ever built, but they are by no means an ugly car either. This one is going to need a lot of work, and I believe that the only way to do this properly would be to completely dismantle the car down to the last nut and bolt. Getting the body and mechanical components right will be specialist work, and won’t be a cheap exercise. The killer here is going to be the final value of the car. While there are a few immaculate examples on the market for prices north of $90,000, I have also found a couple of clean examples that require some light restoration work, and these have recently sold for under $60,000. That tends to indicate that the person who seriously considers this particular Merak will need to be an enthusiast who really has a passion for restoring cars like this.


  1. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    These are great looking cars.

    Like 5
  2. Mike

    I see it has the picnic table rear bumper. What a joke…

    • Kevin Harper

      At least it doesn’t have the hump for the spare tire

      • t-bone Bob

        What hump?

        Like 2
  3. Robert Lund Opsvik

    Early use of “Flying Buttresses”!…giving this example a FLYING BUTT!

  4. JBP

    noooo there is rust holes all over the whole car. as if it was a Alfa.
    not the best projekt. imo. a Pantera is a better, cooler Looking exotic.
    why are Italian cars Always so rusty? bad sealing, between Panels? bad prep. for paint, or just bad quallity of steel?
    there is better projekts outthere

    • mike Marcin

      before 84/85, they {Italian builders} didn’t prime or paint the inside of body panels. They all (Ferrari, Lambo, Maserati, Pantera, Fiat, Alfa, etc.) rusted badly.

    • Kevin Harper

      Yes they rust, kinda like corvette birdcage, rustangs, datsun z cars and 510 frame rails, BMW 02 and 3.0, jag xke, and just about everything else from this time period.

      Like 1
  5. angliagt angliagt Member

    This is one of those cars that you’d be better of
    taking a cutting torch,cut a hole in the trunk lid,& throw
    $100 bills into it.
    Do it the easy way.

    Like 2
  6. Healeymonster

    Well if you have to have one, the SS is the more saught Fter version. I passed on a very nice non SS driver for 16k years back. These were over shadowed by its big brother, the V8 powered Bora..

  7. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    The seller didn’t like that the max bid was $13,200, so quit messing around and re-listed it at a BIN of $27,900.

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