Berlin – Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin – Maserati Merak SS 01

Berlin – Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin – Maserati Merak SS 01
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Image by Daniel Mennerich
The Maserati Merak (Tipo AM122) is a mid-engined 2+2 sports car produced by Maserati between 1972 and 1983.

The Merak was closely related to the Maserati Bora, sharing part of its structure and body panels, but was powered by a 3.0 L V6 in place of the latter’s 4.7 L V8. The extra cabin space gained by fitting a smaller and compact powertrain was used to carve out a second row of seats – suitable for children or very small adults – making the Merak not just a less expensive alternative to the Bora but also a 2+2.

The Maserati Merak was introduced at the 1972 Paris Auto Show, over a year after the Bora. The Merak and the Bora share the front part of bodyshell up to the doors. The front ends are differenced mainly by the use of dual chrome bumpers in place of twin trapezoidal grilles, but the similarities end at the B-pillar. Giorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign was commissioned the transformation of his last work the Bora into the Merak. Unlike its bigger sister the Merak doesn’t have a true, fully glassed fastback, but rather a cabin ending abruptly with a vertical rear window and a flat, horizontal engine bonnet pierced by four series of ventilation slats. Giugiaro completed the vehicle’s silhouette by adding open flying buttresses, visually extending the roofline to the tail. The main competitors of the Merak were the similarly Italian, mid-engined, 3-litre and 2+2 Dino 308 GT4 and Lamborghini Urraco P250. However unlike its transverse V8-engined rivals the Merak used a more compact V6, that could therefore be mounted longitudinally.

Having been designed during the Citroën ownership of Maserati (1968–1975) certain Citroën hydropneumatic systems were used in the Merak, as for the Bora. In specific the braking system and the clutch were both hydraulically assisted and operated, and the pop-up headlights hydraulically actuated. After 1976, when the French manufacturer gave up control of Maserati, the Citroën-derived parts were gradually replaced by more conventional systems. In 1977 Alejandro de Tomaso purchased Maserati and the Bora was discontinued after a production run of less than 600 cars, while the Merak remained on sale for six more years.

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