Maserati Merak SS – restoration project - 1981— The Maserati made by Citroën —
- Model The little sister of the very exclusive Bora
- Design Designed by Italdesign by Giugaro like the Bora
- Carreer A long career of an affordable and stylish small GT
- Technology An engine from the SM’s V6 and hydraulic technology dear to Citroën
- Condition An interesting restoration project
Dévoilée au salon de Paris fin 1972 et développée avec l’appui de Citroën, la Maserati Merak sera produite jusqu’en 1983. Cette longévité importante pour une automobile sportive traduit tant le succès populaire de cette petite GT en tous points intéressante, que celui d’une carrière chaotique du fait de changements d’actionnaires.
A “little” Maserati Bora, visually very close to its big sister
The Merak was an answer to the 70s oil crisis, which affected the sales of powerful and expensive luxury GTs, for which the Trident brand was known for since the launches of the 3500GT and Bora models. It was also a marketing move to broaden the customer base with a more affordable car.
It is actually quite easy to guess that Merak and Bora are based on the same platform. They also share a unique designer, ItalDesign, then headed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. In fact, the differences between the two models appear minimal at first glance, but they are actually quite real and important.
From an aesthetic point of view, while the Bora is known for its very large rear canopy that housed the V8, the Merak had only two arches that visually simulated this “slope”, while the roofline was actually stopped abruptly behind the cockpit with an uncovered rear section.
Similarly, the roof and front windscreen pillars were no longer in raw stainless steel as on the Bora. Finally, the side strips have disappeared.
The front end is certainly the visual point that most unites the two cars; only the grille really distinguished them with chrome frames that had just been replaced by simple strips that act as bumpers.
A car developed with the support of the shareholder Citroën
The Merak was produced in three versions, each under the control of the three successive Maserati shareholders: Citroën, GEPI and de Tomaso.
The first two versions were born during the Citroën era and shared the same mechanical base as the Citroën SM.
However, the Merak had to be more powerful because of its prestige. So the French 2.7 litre V6 engine, re-tuned to 2,965 cm3, which developed 190 hp with a top speed of 240 km/h powered it.
The rest of the engine was powered by the hydraulic system dear to Citroën, which caused quite a lot of recurrent reliability issues.
The first version of the Merak was only sold for two years, with modest sales of only 630 units, before the SS version was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1975.
The Merak SS, which is the car featured in the ANNA LISA Art On Wheels collection, is distinguished by its increased engine power of 220 hp.
However, it was marketed at a time when Maserati had just been sold to GEPI, a state-owned company dedicated to helping companies in difficulty and waiting for a new investor.
The Merak was then placed under the control of the de Tomaso brand. The Citroën high-pressure hydraulic system was then removed and replaced by a more traditional system. Its power was then reduced to 208 hp to meet new pollution standards laws.
The Maserati Merak SS from the ANNA LISA collection
The Maserati Merak from the ANNA LISA Art On Wheels collection was built in the last years, in 1981. It is one of the 626 SS built. It was dismantled for a restoration that has not happened yet.
Complete but dismantled, this yellow car is now waiting to be restored to its former glory.