|Designer||Giorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe|
|Engine||3.0 L V6
2.0 L V6
|Wheelbase||2600 mm (102.4 in)|
|Length||4335 mm (170.67 in)|
|Width||1768 mm (69.6 in)|
|Height||1134 mm (44.5 in)|
|Curb weight||1,420 kg (3,131 lb) (dry)|
The Maserati Merak (Tipo 122) was an Italian sports car introduced in 1972, essentially a junior version of the Maserati Bora. It substituted an all new Maserati designed quad-cam V-6 motor (also shared with the Citroen SM) for the Bora's larger V-8, resulting not only in a lower cost, but room for a small backseat and better handling due to lower weight and a better front/rear weight distribution.
Aesthetically, the Merak differed from the otherwise very similar Bora mainly in sporting open flying buttresses instead of the Bora's fully glassed rear, and the use of the Citroen SM dashboard on models produced before 1976.
The Merak went out of production in 1983, with 1830 cars made in total.
Citroën era Merak
The mid-engine Merak used the Bora bodyshell, but with the extra space offered by the smaller engine used to carve out a second row of seats, suitable for children or very small adults.
As for the Bora, certain Citroën hydraulic systems were used in the Merak; brakes, clutch, headlight pods. The Citroën SM's dashboard was also used in early Meraks (1972 to 1975). 630 were made up to 1974.
GEPI era Merak
In 1976 Maserati introduced the Merak SS, power was increased to 220 PS (162 kW; 217 hp) and weight was reduced by 20 kg to a dry weight of 1,400 kg (3,086 lb). Late Merak SS were bestowed with the interior and dash of the Maserati Bora. The US-spec version of the Merak SS also saw a return to traditional hydraulics, eliminating the last of the Citroen high pressure system. Production of the SS stopped in 1983 with 1000 units made in total.
DeTomaso era Merak
In 1977 DeTomaso purchased Maserati, and the Bora was discontinued after a production run of less than 600 cars. In 1977 DeTomaso introduced the Merak 2000 GT, with a smaller powerplant. It was built mainly for the Italian market, where a newly introduced tax law penalized cars with an engine capacity of more than 2000 cc. The Merak 2000 GT featured a 2.0 L (120 cu in) V6 with 170 PS (125 kW; 168 hp). No Merak 2000 GT were imported to the United States. Only 200 Meraks 2000 GT were made.
On today's market the Maserati Merak does not enjoy the same value as the V-8 Bora. Pricing on average is half the value of a Bora in similar condition. This is partly due to the cars' smaller V-6 powerplant. The Merak is also more common than the Bora, with about 1,830 manufactured over the 1972 to 1983 period. A recent auction price of 44,080 Euro for a 1977 Merak was achieved at the Artcurial Motorcars auction on 3 February 2012 in Paris.
Featured on television
On April 12, 2005, the Merak was featured in a Top Gear segment against its main competitors, namely the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 and Lamborghini Urraco. In the end, the Merak's engine blew up and the other two cars also turned out to be unreliable and did not complete the challenge.
Sources and further reading
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Maserati Merak.|
|Maserati road car timeline, 1950s–present|
|Ownership||Orsi family||Citroën||De Tomaso||Fiat S.p.A.|
|Luxury||Quattroporte||QP II||Quattroporte III||QP IV||Quattroporte V||QP VI|
|GT||A6||3500 GT||Sebring||228||Ghibli II||3200GT||Coupé|