The Merak was Maserati’s answer to the oil crisis, which strongly penalised the sales of big-engined cars. This small sister of the Bora used a modified version of the type C.114 engine, which Maserati had engineered for Citroën. This smaller engine made it possible to equip the Merak with two small rear seats, while the Bora was strictly a two seater. The Merak used even more Citroën components than its bigger sister, such as the single-spoke steering wheel; but many of these components disappeared again on later versions. In 1976, a lighter and more powerful version was presented, the Merak SS. While Maserati already had a more economical alternative to the Bora in the V6 Merak, new company chairman Alejandro De Tomaso felt a version equipped with a smaller engine was called for to reinvigorate sales. Italian legislation imposed heavy taxation on cars with engines larger than 2 litres, and thus the Merak 2000GT was born. This version was recognisable by its black striping. The combination of its sensational Italdesign body and more economic engine choice made the Merak a real best-seller. The same downsizing strategy would later give rise to the Biturbo range.
|Data sheet||Merak||Merak SS||Merak 2000|
|Model code||Tipo AM122||Tipo AM122/A||Tipo AM122/D|
|Body type||2-door, 2+2 mid-engine coupé||2-door, 2+2 mid-engine coupé||2-door, 2+2 mid-engine coupé|
|Production years||1972 - 1975||1976 - 1982||1980 - 1982|
|Chassis||Steel platform chassis||Steel platform chassis||Steel platform chassis|
|Engine configuration||90° V6, double overhead camshaft||90° V6, double overhead camshaft||90° V6, double overhead camshaft|
|Maximum power||190hp @ 6,000rpm||220hp @ 6,500rpm||159hp @ 7,100rpm|