International Trophy Sale 2013

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1975 Maserati Merak by Saurer

Lot No.: 312

Registration: JJH 944N
Chassis Number: AM1220272
Engine Number: Not Specified
Number of cylinders: 6
CC: 2970cc
Year of Manufacture: 1975
Estimate (£): 35,000 - 40,000
Sold for (£): 45,700

Maserati followed-up its first mid-engined supercar - the Bora - with the similar Merak. Launched in 1972, the latter was intended as competition for Ferrari's top-selling Dino 246 and used a stretched version of the Maserati-built four-cam V6 that had debuted in the Citroen SM. Derived from a V8 engine designed by the great Giulio Alfieri, Maserati's V6 was increased in capacity from the SM's 2,675cc to 2,965cc for the Merak and it developed 190bhp, which was good enough for a top speed of around 150mph. The unitary construction chassis, all-independent suspension and impeccable handling remained basically as the V8-engined Bora's, though to reduce costs the latter's tubular rear subframe was replaced by an extension of the all-steel monocoque.

Widely recognised as one of the finest, if not the finest, of contemporary V6s, the Merak engine proved smooth, powerful and capable of delivering its urge over a surprisingly wide range for such a high performance engine. Like any true thoroughbred, the Merak possessed handling commensurate with its breath-taking acceleration and 150mph maximum speed. 'Performance and handling are the raison d'être of a mid-engined sportscar, and the Merak's astounding cornering power is a match for its straight-line punch,' observed Motor magazine. The most successful Maserati of its day, the Merak ceased production in 1983 after just 1,832 had been built.

This car however is unique. What began as an Italian supplied LHD 1975 Merak has become one of the most desirable sports cars of its era thanks to the foresight and design skills of Carrosserie Saurer in Switzerland. The subject of a complete and uncompromising restoration to a simply stunning condition and finished in Silver with Red Leather interior, the modification in 1984 to what Paul Saurer considered his ideal ‘Hot Merak' is something to behold. The redesigned bodywork is not ‘a plastic add-on' totalling the sum result of an enthusiastic amateur in his garden shed, but rather a beautifully hand-crafted realisation of the full Saurer expertise in aluminium and completed to the highest standard. All original running gear has been retained and the new bodywork now accommodates exceptionally rare 12inch and 15inch Gotti 3-piece split rim wheels, shod in brand new 345x35 bespoke manufactured tyres to the rear costing an impressive £600 each!

Upon completion the car is understood to have remained in a private Swiss collection until 1995 when it passed to an owner in Spain. The car remained here until discovered and imported to the UK in 2009 since then it has had only two owners and has most recently been shown and admired at a handful of high-profile UK Concours and events including the Graypaul Maserati UK Concours, the Maserati UK stand at the Silverstone Classic, Italian Supercar display at Chelsea AutoLegends and the Octane Magazine Windsor Concours D'Elegance.

This is a unique motorcar, well known, well documented and would be a worthwhile addition to any serious collection...