16-17 January 2014

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Lot 7

1978 Maserati Merak SS

  • Chassis no. AM122.A.US.2258
  • Engine no. AM

Sold for $44,000

217 hp, 3,000 cc double overhead-camshaft V-6 engine with triple two-barrel Weber carburetors, five-speed manual transaxle, independent front and rear suspension with upper and lower control arms with coil-over shock absorbers, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 102.3 in.

  • A rare and elegant color combination
  • Matching-numbers drivetrain; original paint and interior
  • Less than 15,000 original miles

In the early ’70s, Italy’s exotic marques developed “junior supercar” models as complements to their larger, faster, and more expensive top-of-range machines. Ferrari launched the Dino 308 GT4 and Lamborghini the mid-engined Urraco. Maserati’s front line exotic was the Bora, which was an elegant, Giugiaro-designed slingshot that was powered by a descendant of the legendary racing V-8. Not wishing to develop a new from-scratch platform, Maserati sent the Bora back to Giorgetto Giugiaro’s drawing board, asking ItalDesign to rework the car into something equally handsome but less costly to build, and something that was competitive with the offerings from Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The great Giugiaro met the challenge with smart solutions, including the replacement of the Bora’s expensive stainless-steel roof panel and the reconfiguration of the glassy rear canopy engine cover with a more conventional steel lid and a pair of flying buttresses to visually continue the sloping roofline over the rear deck. Maserati already had an appropriate engine available: the DOHC V-6 powerplant it had developed for use by Citroën in the exotic SM. As Maserati was owned by Citroën at the time, it only made sense to dip into the Citroën parts bin for its entire dashboard and instrument cluster, plus a myriad of hydraulic systems, which reduced costs and development time. The new model, which was called Merak, after a star in the Ursa Major constellation, came to market in 1972.

The 170-horsepower, 3.0-liter Merak was lauded for its exceptional handling balance and comfortable ride, and it competed favorably with the V-8-engined Urraco and 308 GT4. The Merak proved a worthy addition to the lineup, and when Maserati and Citroën had divorced, sometime mid-decade, the Merak was given a substantive mid-life update. The SM-sourced interior gave way to a more elegant, Bora-style cabin, and the complex Citroën hydraulics were replaced with more conventional mechanical systems. The engine was reengineered for a near 30-horsepower increase, the bumpers were redesigned, and a new chin spoiler was installed to reduce front end lift at high speeds. The much revised and improved Merak was rechristened Merak SS.

Maserati produced just 1,236 Meraks between 1972 and 1982; thus, the car on offer is one of only 312 SS models produced for the U.S. market. Factory records state that it was delivered to Maserati Automobiles, U.S.A., Inc., on October 17, 1977. It still wears its original Argento silver paint and Racing Blue Connolly leather interior, and all of the U.S.-spec emissions and safety equipment is present and operable. The car wears a mild patina of honest use and enjoyment, underscoring its originality. The factory triple Weber carburetors have recently been cleaned and synched, and they operate properly. According to its owner, the Merak fires easily, runs well, doesn’t overheat, and is an absolute joy to drive. The consignor also notes that all mechanical and fluid services are current (next due at 15,000 miles). Included with the car is a complement of factory owners, parts, and shop manuals, as well as a notebook of articles and sales material.

This original Merak SS is ready for street use or as an addition to any modern sports car collection, and it is the embodiment of all the best traits of Maserati engineering.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more