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Maserati Merak

Maserati Merak designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and manufactured by Italian auto company Maserati, was one of the standout car design statement during its years of production (1972-1983). A car designed to rival other super cars of the time such as Ferrari’s 308 GT4, the Lamborghini Urraco and the Porsche 911, Maserati Merak though with a comparatively smaller V6, 3.0 L petrol engine, the Merak stood out with her sleek, beautiful and eye-catchy design. The Maserati Merak’s body was a great improvement compared to the Bora. The Maserati Merak and the Bora had similar design aspects on their respective bodies, their noses and the front design aspects were almost similar. With a wheelbase of 2,600 mm (102.4 in), length of 4,335 mm (170.7 in), width of 1,768 mm (69.6 in), height of 1,134 mm (44.6 in) and a top kerb weight of 1,430 kg (3,153 lb) the Maserati Merak has an optimum dimensioning which goes a long to optimise the performance of the car on the road.

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The interior design
The Merak’s interior was strikingly different with great design improvements; the interiors of the Maserati Marek were made more spacious with a substantial legroom. Most interior components like the dashboard, console, bucket seats and the door trim are stylishly fitted in pure quality leather. Electrically operated windows together with height adjustable driver seats provided awesome user friendly features which helped give the Maserati Merak an upper hand over the Bora. The Dashborad of the Merak contained instruments such revolution counter, oil temperature gauge, fuel level gauge, water temperature gauge, battery condition indicator, the speedometer and the clock. The Maserati Marek has a decent air conditioning system and a pretty cool music system.

The exterior design
The Maserati Merak is a two door coupe with a stainless steel sunroof. The Marek has sleek fish shaped exterior which is greatly improved by the car’s retractable headlights. The four aluminium alloy wheels added a great design dimension to the sparkling exterior of the Maserati Merak. The car’s mounted grille lid had a nice rectangular shape which really complemented the whole fish shaped exterior of the Marek. The Maserati Marek has stylish matte louvres on the sail panels. The car was produced in multiple colours such as silver gray, jet black, yellow and a nice shade or red. The paint job on the car is very excellent with no unwanted spot across the car’s entire body. The Merak has 10 cubic feet of space in the front boot area, this is an adequate amount of space to store enough luggage that you will need when you will be travelling.

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History
The name Marek was not arbitrary given to the car; the name refers to a star from the Great Bear castellation. Maserati launched the Maserati Bora in the year 1971. The Maserati Bora was a classic sculpted design with a V8 4.7-litre engine, the price of the Boro was high and this saw it perform poorly in the market. During this period Maserati were in need of a cheap yet powerful and stylish super car to compete with the supercars in the market at the time. Giorgetto Giugairo was tasked with designing a new car to match the set features.

The Maserati Merak was introduced by Maserati into the market after the Bora. The Merak was designed and manufactured to be a cheaper option of the Boro which was not performing well in the market during the 1970’s. That is why most of the design features are heavily borrowed from the Boro. The Merak was first introduced into the market during the Auto Show held in the French capital of Paris in October 1972. The Merak was designed from 1968-1975 by an Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, during this period Maserati was owned by Citroen and a result Citroen components and systems were used to build the Merak. The hydraulically operated braking system, the clutch as well as the hydraulically actuated pop-up headlights used in the Marek were all produced by Citroen.

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The Maserati Merak and the Maserati Bora
Giorgetto Giugiaro to a great extent based the design of the Merak on the design of her bigger sister the Bora; he was tasked to sculpt the entire interior as well as exterior design of this new Merak. The Merak utilised a major part of the Bora chassis structure and the body works especially in the front. At the time the trend was to manufacture high performance cars with reduced fuel consumption, therefore the V6 3-litre that powered the Merak made practical sense towards achieving this goal of high performance.

The design of the two Merak and the Bora were different at the rear. The 3-litre V6 engine was installed longitudinally and the tabular Bora chassis was replaced by an all-steel monocoque with a simply designed rear frame due to the reduced weight of the V6 engine, these changes to the Maserati Merak in turn helped cut down the cost of the car significantly. The front panels of the Marek was significantly reduced to accommodate the new shaped bumper, the Bora’s chrome grilles were replaced by two chromium plated bumpers on the either side of the trident. A single character line was introduced for the protective rubber belt line in the Bora.

The Maserati Merak’s rear is designed with an improved standard approach; the car has a flat engine bonnet which incorporates louvred slats which aid in engine cooling by expelling warm air from the engine compartment. The rear window is flat throughout its width. The two buttresses running from the roof line to the back of the car gives the car a more elegant profile. The designers of the Maserati Merak had to face the hurdle of striking a balance between comfort, style and high performance with the targeted reduced low cost and the end they managed to achieve this.

Merak SS
In March 1975 Maserati introduced a much improved Merak. The Merak SS launched in the Geneva Motor Show was a lighter and more powerful car compared to the first Merak. The Merak SS goes for $44,000 in the current market and this price you are guaranteed to the best value for your money. The Merak’s rare and eye-catchy color options’ (including unique color combinations) is one standout feature of this car. The Merak SS has a five-speed manual transmission 3-litre V6 engine which generates 217hp this is a great improvement to the original 170hp produced by Marek engine; the Marek SS’engine is equipped with powerful Weber carburettors and the engine had a much higher compression ratio of 9:1. The Merak SS has two independent suspension systems for the front and the rear with upper and lower control arms and immensely powerful shock absorbers. The Citroen hydro-pneumatic systems in the first Merak were replaced with more conventional and improved mechanical systems which made braking and clutch using much more easily. The new Merak SS is 50Kg lighter than the Merak, this weight reduction resulted into increased top speed and improved performance in general. The Merak SS was equipped with a completely driver-oriented dashboard which through its featues greatly improved the driving performance. A padded steering wheel with three spokes was also a highlight feature of the Merak SS.

The Merak 2000 GT
In November 1976 Maserati launched the Merak 2000 GT at the Turin Motor Show. The Italian tough tax laws forced Maserati to develop a 2-litre version of the Maserati Merak majorly for the Italian market. The then Italian tax laws stated that cars with over 2000cc were charged 38% value added tax (VAT) and all vehicles under 2000cc were charged only 19% VAT. At the time other car makers such as Ferrari and Lamborghini were manufacturing two-litre models. To keep up the pace in the market Maserati had to design a two litre vehicle to compete in the market. The Maserati Merak 2000 GT 2-litre engine was optimised in its design and the engine produced a significant 170hp and the car could run at a top speed of 220 kph (137 mph). The 2000 GT has grilles fitted on the front cowling, the car also had wide adhesive strip which was black in color; the strip ran just below the beltline along the entire length of the 2000 GT. The car had a steering with four spokes with oval shaped instruments. The usual chrome in the previous Merak cars is replaced with separate rear and front bumpers. For 1999cc the Merak 2000 GT was a great performance car which did well in the local Italian markets.

The Merak 2000 CT was only available in two colors metallic light blue and gold. This limited color shades to some extent affected the of performance of these cars in the market.

In the year 1976 Maserati ended its association with Citroen and consequentially Maserati replaced all the Citroen hydropneumatic systems that it was using in all the Merak cars. This move saw Maserati introduce new and improved mechanical systems in their Merak cars and in all subsequent car models. This improvement of various systems in the Merak improved the usability of this car making it easy to drive.

In 1977 after Alejandro de Tomaso had acquired Maserati, the manufacturing of Maserati Bora was discontinued. This focussed the attention of Maserati into production and improvement of the Merak which remained on sale for the next six years.

Specifications

1. The Maserati Merak is 2 door 2+2 seater with spacious interior to accommodate you all.

2. The Maserati Merak was in production from the year 1971 to 1983. These days few car collectors and car lovers who own these 1970’s antiques.

3. The Merak has a V6 engine with capacities of 2965cc and 1999cc.

4. The Maserati Merak engine has an engine with a compression ratio of 8.75:1. The Merak SS and the Merak 2000 GT have a compression ratio of 9.0:1 each.

5. The car engine has a maximum power of 190-bhp @6000rpm. The Merak SS has an engine power of 220-bhp @6500 rpm and the Merak 2000 has a maximum engine power of 170 bhp at 7000 rpm.

6. The Maserati Merak has a four overhead camshafts, two valves per cylinder distribution.

7. The Merak has a No 3 twin-choke Weber 42DCNF downdraught carburettors for its induction system.

8. The Maserati Merak has an electronic ignition forced with pump for ignition lubrification.

9. The Maserati Merak has a powerful rear wheel drive transmission which works well to complement its engine power for optimum performance.

10. The old mode Merak car has Citroen Differential but the new model ( SS and 2000 GT) are equipped with ZF transaxle Differential.

11. The Maserati Merak has hydraulic single dry plate clutch-but new models have improved mechanical clutches.

12. The Maserati is equipped with a 5-speed and reverse transaxle gearbox.

13. The chassis of the Maserati Merak is a monocoque structure with flexibility mounted rear frame. This strong chassis offer a solid structure on which the Merak obtains its “strength” which goes a long way to enhance its performance.

14. The front suspension is based on independent wheels, coil springs and strong shock-absorbers and anti-roll bar. This strong suspension system allows the Merak to experience smooth rides even in rough terrains.

15. The rear suspension is composed of independent wheels, coil springs and strong shock-absorbers and anti-roll bar as well. This rear suspension works together with the front suspension system to give the Merak a unique ability towards achieving that optimum performance.

16. The Maserati Merak has hydraulically operated ventilated disc brakes on the car’s four wheels. This gives the Merak immense breaking power the car needs.

On the current market the Maserati Merak does not do so well in the market as it back then in the 1970’s this can be attributed to introduction of much powerful sports-cars into the market. Car makers have introduced upto to V12 engines which are immensely stronger compared to the Maserati Merak. The halt to the Merak’ s production gave room to the competitors such as Lamborghini and Ferrari who have continuously made significant improvements to their cars as well producing new and powerful car brands.

The Maserati Merak and the Bora had similar design aspects on their respective bodies, their noses and the front design aspects were almost similar. With a wheelbase of 2,600 mm (102.4 in), length of 4,335 mm (170.7 in), width of 1,768 mm (69.6 in), height of 1,134 mm (44.6 in) and a top kerb weight of 1,430 kg (3,153 lb) the Maserati Merak has an optimum dimensioning which goes a long to optimise the performance of the car on the road. But for the lovers of good old cars, the Maserati Merak is a car you need to be thinking of. Its beauty combined with power and elegance will give you a great value for your money.