Rebuilt and Restored: 1975 Maserati Merak

This Maserati Merak looks quite nice, and that’s because it is: it was substantially overhauled in 2016, with both the engine and the body receiving significant updating in the form of new paint and an engine rebuild. The Merak oftentimes appears as a bit of a project, usually not a total loss but absolutely in the need of some work; it’s also usually red. Seeing a Merak that has been returned to its original glory and wears a different shade of paint (in this case, silver over red leather) than normal, it’s not surprising that it will take more than the loose change hiding in your couch to buy it. Find the Merak here on eBay with an asking price of $78,000 and the option to submit a best offer.

The Merak continued a familiar recipe for Maserati, stuffing a sonorous powerplant midship and wrapped in a gorgeous body. The car’s immediate predecessor, the Bora, could sometimes be mistaken as a twin, but the Bora utilized an eight cylinder powerplant while the Merak transitioned to a 3.0L V6. Just under 200 horsepower was on board, which allowed the Merak to achieve nearly 150 miles per hour. What’s amazing is how long-lived this engine was, even seeing duty in the maligned Biturbo deep into the 1980s. The Merak built to U.S. specifications was unfortunately saddled by ugly safety bumpers, making the European bumper conversion a worthwhile venture.

Silver on red is a stunning combination, and there’s no question this interior has been thoroughly refreshed. The three-spoke steering wheel is a must in nearly any vintage car, but it looks absolutely perfect in a Maserati of this vintage. The seller notes that the Merak received new door panels and carpets as a result of the overhaul, and mechanical improvements inside the car include a new shift cable, A/C compressor, window regulators, and rebuilt headlight actuators (important when hitting the switch from inside the cabin and praying to the gods of illumination). The Merak shows virtually no flaws inside, with a crack-less dash and near-perfect upholstery.

The rebuilt engine and clutch assembly was handled by Excelsior Motors in Kentucky. I would hope that given this car’s prominence and the level of work carried out that receipts exist documenting the improvements, as those will go a long way to confirming how many miles are on the engine post rebuilt and the scale of the work completed. Without receipts, it’s hard to say exactly what was done and how many parts were replaced versus refreshed and reused. The Merak is expensive, sure, but it’s relatively affordable in the world of mid-engined Italian sports cars from the 1970s. Would you drive one, or hold out for the eight cylinder Bora? Thanks to Barn Finds reader Russell G. for the find.

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    What do you do in 1975 when you had your heart set on buying a Citroen SM but found out they were no longer sold in the US. You go out and buy a Merak with the same Maserati 3.0 V6 and at least some of the hydro pneumatics of the Citroen. Once in the drivers seat you will be comfortable knowing the Citroen had similar instrumentation. These are beautiful cars that have been lagging in resale when compared to Ferrari and Lamborghini but in every way are just as historically significant. Sign me up! Now if I could only find a way to fit the hydro pneumatic suspension?

    Like 7
  2. Tracy

    Great looking car but the autozone steering wheel has to go!

    Like 4
    • Charles Atlas

      I love that steering wheel. My 1986 Ford Escort Pony 4 speed has one just like it !

      Like 10
      • 370zpp 370zpp Member

        Charles and his pony appear to be working through some issues.

        Like 2
  3. Francisco

    Never did like that buttress in the back.

    Like 2
    • Nate

      That buttress is one of the coolest things about this car…

      Like 6
  4. wuzjeepnowsaab

    What a beautiful design and a very drivable car, but oh my gosh…those bumpers

    Like 5
    • JoeNYWF64

      & people complain about the front bumper on the ’73 corvette, & rear one on ’74-79s?

      Like 2
      • Jim

        Actually, I preferred the composite bumpers on the Corvettes over the chrome ones.

        Like 3
    • SDJames

      Those bumpers kinda remind me of the Bricklin SV-1, or a toy that if you pushed it in, you’d get a prize. :)

      Like 2
      • Mike

        The rear bumper makes for a great picnic table at the park.

        Like 4
      • wuzjeepnowsaab

        @SDJames, the SV-1 was my first thought as well. Especially the back bumper

        Like 1
  5. Mike

    Nice bookshelf back bumper! Aside from that, it is a beautiful car.

  6. SMS

    Years after owning one of these and having my heart broken by it I think I have come to understand it. This understanding has come from owning a multitude of British cars and listening to the talking heads who don’t know how to use a wire brush and dielectric grease or that the joy in the lightness of a Lotus comes at the cost of fragility.

    Had one and it constantly had issues. I blamed the car and that was wrong. These do not due well when sitting and my car had been sitting for a couple of years. Parts etched and rubber deteriorated. The wiring is hand assembled and you would run wires differently than I so there were places where wires were frayed. Add to that previous owners had installed a sound system and alarm.

    If I were to own one of these lovely cars again I would go through all of the wiring, clean it up and make good grounds. I would also replace all of the rubber bits including the suspension bits and shocks.

    Over the years I have learned that most of the failings of machines is due to poor maintenance. If you want an MGTD then you will have to do the 500 mile and 1,500 mile services along with the annual wiring terminal checkup. Want to own a Jag, don’t overheat it, service the carbs, and pay someone or learn to do the valve adjustments. This is the price we need to pay, and stop whining. Okay, I will get off my soapbox now.

    Like 8
    • Gerard Frederick

      A car in this price range, in fact ANY car should not suffer from the incessant problems you talk about. Please explain to me, what right does a manufacturer have to produce and sell a machine which is flawed from the get-go? What sort of mind set is it, that doesn´t seem to care about BASIC quality issues and what posesses anyone to make excuses for these people? I owned an XKE back in the day and was told by the service manager of British Motors on van Ness Ave. in San Franciscio, that oil dripping was part and parcel of the whole thing! It wasn´t important anyway, just be sure you keep the oil level topped off! THAT sort of attitude is an insult to the buying public and people who design and built cars with such problems ought to be tarred and feathered and run out of town.

      Like 2
      • Laurence

        Back at it again, Gerard. So the Jaguar XK powerplant is an oil-gushing insult to the buying public, and Sir William Lyons, who built the engine and the E Type it was put in, should, according to you, “be tarred and feathered and run out of town”. Hm… Well, Gerard, I assume you have heard of a place called Le Mans. Back in the fifties and sixties it was the global venue where automotive manufacturers took their cars and pitted them against one another in a gruelling 24 hours torture test, where BOTH power and endurance (as in reliability) were what determined the class winners as well as the outright world champion. Manufacturers’ boasts and claims, as well as put-downs of detractors meant NOTHING. Only RESULTS mattered. Well Jaguar won Le Mans FIVE times OUTRIGHT with the XK engine, which to you is such an “insult”. Plenty of American V-8 cars also competed at Le Mans during the same era, driven by the likes of people such as Briggs Cunningham, yet no American V-8 ever came close to winning OUTRIGHT five times the title of World Champion. Also, by the way, I own a ’69 E Type Jaguar roadster which I was out in half an hour ago. It has never been abused and has always been SERVICED by competent Jaguar-trained mechanics. It leaks no oil anywhere, has never had rust removed, and all of its original wiring is in good shape. The service manager whom you say told you that oil dripping was a natural part of every day life, was a nit, as well as the prior owners of your E Type, who clearly didn’t maintain the XK engine properly. I enjoy driving my competently-looked after E Type and it puts smiles on my face as well as on the faces of others.

        Like 12
      • SMS

        The sellers had the same right as I did to buy the cars. I don’t excuse I understand what I am purchasing and enjoy them. My Lotus seven was so stiff everything that could crack or break did and that was the car I enjoyed above all others.

        My company makes special lasers. I understand low volume production. It will take over a year to build a new design. The market for these might be only three or six. The idea of doing a lifetime test for five years on a statistically significant number of lasers is cost prohibitive. We do our best and make compromises. The Seven makes few compromises and I loved it. My Toyota Highlander makes many compromises and I trust it.

        Like 1
  7. Howie Mueler

    Looks very nice, with the E brake handle up it would be harder to get in and out.

    Like 3
    • SMS

      That e brake handle was put there by someone with a great sense of humor.

      Picture if you will, the proud new owner of this car’s brother but in red. Opening the door wide. Sliding the left leg over the e brake handle and placing a foot on the ground. i rotate and stand. Being careful now to put weight on the door. As my right leg exits the car the cuff of my pant leg is caught on the e brake. I do an impressive dance of leaning forward while skipping on my left foot about halfway across the parking lot.

      Years later, none who witnessed it have ever forgotten the sight

      Like 2
  8. DARRELL G LAWRENCE

    I drove one of these when they were new and they like all Maseratis were fun to drive. Always underrated.

    Like 1
  9. CJinSD

    While the Bora arrived a year before the Merak and went out of production a few years before the Merak did, they were both available from 1972-1978. It’s possible the Merak really existed for the 2.0 liter version, which was under an important tax limit in Italy.

    Like 1
  10. Gary Rhodes

    That is a beautiful car. But that park bench rear bumper, dang. You can put on euro bumpers, but you can’t do anything about the pick up truck rollbar on the back. Maybe have a metalman make inserts similar to a Ferrari 308?

  11. Kenn

    Not sure why this is on “Barn Finds”. It’s clean, runs well, has a title, tires full of air.

    Like 2
  12. bog

    For those of you that like the Bora better (I do), there’s one for sale on same site for only 100K more. Prettier bumpers & 2 more cylinders….

  13. t-bone BOB

    Ended: Aug 25, 2021 , 2:05PM
    Price: US $78,000.00

    Located in:Belleville, New Jersey

  14. Joe Elliott

    Am I really the first commenter here to point out that this engine (type C.114) is completely unrelated to that of the Biturbo?

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