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1980 Maserati Merak : Classic Cars

Launched in 1972 to compete with the Ferrari Dino 246 and the Lamborghini Urraco, the wonderful Maserati Merak was a compact mid-engined supercar in the finest Italian tradition.

Essentially a lighter version of the gorgeous Giugiaro-styled Bora, it looked virtually identical but had open flying buttresses instead of the Bora’s fully glassed rear for superior all-round vision. It also used a more compact quad-cam 3-litre V6 engine in place of the Bora’s 4.7-litre V8 which not only liberated sufficient room in the cabin for +2 seating but also improved the handling thanks to lower weight and better front/rear balance.

The first cars had Citroen-derived hydraulic systems for the brakes, clutch, windows and seats, but when Alejandro de Tomaso took over Maserati in 1976 he soon ditched these complex and troublesome systems in favour of a conventional servo-assisted set up. He also made the cars lighter and more powerful, the new model being called the Merak SS which now produced 220bhp instead of 190bhp.

Driving through a new ZF 5-speed manual gearbox, this gave the car a top speed of 153mph with the 0-60 dash taking just 7 seconds. Like any true thoroughbred, the Merak possessed handling commensurate with its supercar pace. “Performance and handling are the raison d'etre of a mid-engined sportscar, and the Merak's astounding cornering power is a match for its straight-line punch,” observed Motor magazine. The most successful Maserati of its day, the Merak ceased production in 1982 after 1,832 had been built, only 928 of which were to SS specification.

Dating from March 1980, this Merak SS has undergone a complete rolling restoration over a number of years by its former engineer owner. Said to be in “first class condition throughout” and to drive beautifully, it comes with a substantial history file back to the early 1980s plus a disc of restoration photos and much useful technical literature relating to the model.

Every bit as capable as a Dino but at a fraction of the price, these wonderful sportscars look great value in the current market. Another one to buy now while you can still afford to?

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Sources : 1980 Maserati Merak Photo | 1980 Maserati Merak Article


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