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Car Tales: Maserati Merak, True Stardom!

‘The Maserati Merak took its name from Merak, a member of the Ursa Major Moving Group, a loose stellar association whose members formed in the same molecular cloud and share common velocities and motion through space. Merak’s age is approximately 500 million years.
1980 Maserati Merak for sale
‘In spite of being only the fifth brightest star in Ursa Major, Merak was assigned the designation Beta Ursae Majoris by the German uranographer Johann Bayer, who catalogued the stars in his star atlas Uranometria, published in 1603.

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‘Accordingly, when considering that the Maserati Merak was introduced at the 1972 Paris Auto Show, just over 50 years ago now, you might feel this is not even a sneeze in terms of the infinity of such an enormous timespan.
1980 Maserati Merak side view
‘But reflection shows it is unsurprising that Maserati’s Merak was named after such an archetype. For the mid-engined Merak is a stunning automobile, perhaps the most significant, and certainly practical, of the Italian supercars of its decade.
‘With a powerpacked V6 engine, mounted longitudinally, it also had user-friendly occasional rear seats and a healthy-sized trunk. And all wrapped up within an aesthetically gorgeous body.
‘Like Maserati’s V8-driven Bora, with which it shared basic architecture, the then quintessentially modern Merak with its fish-shaped build, a stainless steel sunroof adorning the top of the car, had been designed by Turin-based Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Ital Design studio, intended as a rival to Ferrari’s 308 GT4 and the Porsche 911. The bold retractable headlights came as quite a statement.
‘More than any of its predecessors the Merak also celebrated to the finest degree the relationship Maserati and Citroen had first honed in March 1968, blending Citroen’s marketing and manufacturing know-how with Maserati’s intimate understanding of car engines.
1980 Maserati Merak rear view
‘However the link between the Italian and French auto-manufacturers would not extend beyond 1976. After that, when the French car giant gave up control of Maserati, the Citroën-derived parts were gradually replaced by more conventional systems.
‘In 1975 Maserati had introduced the Merak SS at the Geneva Motor Show. A lightened, more powerful Merak, the engine mated to a five-speed manual, the SS was 50kg lighter than the previous model, as well as featuring a 30hp boost.
1980 Maserati Merak interior
‘Visually, the updates to the Merak SS were minor, on the exterior, a new black grill was added to the hood, and on the inside, the dashboard saw updates including a new driver-oriented fascia, as well as new instrument dials. With just 190 bhp, the Maserati Merak could have been faster. But with larger carburetors and a higher compression ratio, the Merak SS’s 220 bhp edition certainly lived up to muster, with a top speed of 155 mph and a 0-60 mph speed of 7 seconds.
‘Only 312 SS models were produced for the U.S. market. We have one of these at the moment at Beverly Hills Car Club, a rare 1980 Maserati Merak SS featured with 38,271 miles on the odometer and finished in Rosso Fuoco complemented by a tan interior.
‘It comes equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, V6 engine, four-wheel disc brakes, triple carburetors, quad exhaust outlets, Veglia instruments, side markers, chrome trim, black grille between the retractable headlights, louvered engine cover, ‘SS’ badge on the tail, rubber bumpers, three-spoke steering wheel with a Trident logo in the center, Michelin tires, and alloy wheels.
‘Amenities include AC, sunroof, forward-folding front seats, two rear seats, dual-side mirrors, a center console, a cigar lighter with an ashtray, glove compartment, analog clock, and a Sony radio. In addition, this Merak SS comes with a clean Carfax and service receipts totaling over $7,900 dating from October 2021.
1980 Maserati Merak engine
‘This is an extremely collectible Italian sports car that is mechanically sound.
‘As so often with Maserati, assiduous attention was made to the interior of the Merak: there was ample space and legroom. Rich leather adorned much of the interior, including the console, dashboard, door trims and seats. The precise positioning of the instruments and tools only added to this luxurious comfort in the interior of the car.
‘Unsurprisingly, as the Merak was one of the greatest Maseratis ever made.
‘When Alejandro de Tomaso purchased Maserati in 1977, the Bora was discontinued after a production run of less than 600 cars. But the Merak remained on sale for a further six years.
‘A True Star.
-Alex Manos, Owner
Maserati Merak buyer Alex Manos

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