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Yesterday afternoon I picked up my new-to-me 1974 Merak in northern
FL and trailered it home to Miami.

I bought the car that was on EBay last week (an early '74, red with
white interior). I had done some checking previously and found out
the car was originally in California where its original owner
apparently had it for 22 years and only 8000 miles. It was purchased
by dealer & exotic expert, Ed Waterman in Ft Lauderdale in 1997,
for re-sale. The fact that EW bought it was a good sign...it must
have been in decent shape. His store was kind enough to send me
color pictures of the car when they received it in 1997 from
California.

When I received the car yesterday I also received a thick file folder
with receipts and notes from the owner who purchased the car in 1997
and had it until this year. He is a very kind
gentleman/enthusiast/collector who is selling some of his cars (he
still has about 10 cars) as he is 86. In the case of the Merak, he
mentioned that he has trouble with his arm strength and turning at
parking lot speeds without hydraulic assist is a problem for him. In
any case, this fellow took excellent care of the car, revitalizing
the hydraulic system, re-dying the white leather, re-painting the
wheels, replacing valves with SS valves, properly tending to the cam
chain tension, replacing the alternator with a GM unit after a diode
on the original unit (which s still in the trunk) failed, replacing the
distributor & ignition cables, etc and driving it another 7500
miles in 9 years before he sold it to a dealer earlier this year.

The car knocked around 2 dealers aand 1 auction, accumulating 600 miles before I received it. The first, a Bentley/Rolls dealer, re-charged the AC &
the AC system is fully operative. Interestingly the last owner who
had it for 9 years never used the AC!

Everything works on the car...the hydraulics, the lights, all
accessories, the electric antenna, the original Blaupunkt AM FM
cassette, the window switched, etc. The only thing that's missing is
the lever to adjust the steering wheel height.

Visually the car is stunning. The cabin is nice as well. I like the
funky Citroen dash even though it has been considered by most to be
out of place on a car of this type. Mechanically, it starts right up
& idles very well, with our without the AC running ater initial start
up. Insofar as the driving experience...the engine sound is a raspy
throwback...sound nice. Acceleration is moderate, not particularly
fast, but quick enough to stay ahead if traffic if you need to. The
brakes are touchy, as advertised. The suspension is better than I
expected for a 31 year old car. Cars have come a long way over the
last 3 decades...this is nowhere near the current state of the art
but it is entertaining nonethless. I wonder what my impressions
would be for a Bora in terms of performance.

In sum, after one day I think I was fortunate to find a well-tended
Merak that almost looks factory new. The driving experience provides
pleasant sensory inputs and this car should be an excellent option
for casual cruises.

During the course of today it took me an average of 1.5 hours in my
house to drum up an excuse to go out in the Merak & familiarize
myself a bit more with it during each ride.

This afternoon I took one of my sons to see the maserati Birdcage which is in the Showroom at the local dealer, The Collection. What a fantastic looking car! When we parked outside in the Merak the salesmen in the showroom piled out to see the Merak & pepper me with questions. One of the senior salesmen offered me a copy of a 1974 R&T article comparing the Merak to a Dino, classifying both as affordable exotics at $20K at the time. I have not seen a single Merak ever in car-crazy Miami, although I'm sure there must be a few. I own a Coupe Cambiocorsa and see 1 or 2 per week here.

Within the past 24 hours 3 persons have looked at the Maserati nose badge and exclaimed, "I knew it was a Ferrrari". What's with that???

I used to have a Lotus Elise & was regularly asked if it was a Ferrari...I guess people associate curvacious mid-engine designs with the house Enzo built.
 

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Beautiful car

Thanks for sharing. I love my Cambiocorsa Coupe (42K miles) but the Merak is also very special. I currently want a Ghibli Spyder but the $$$ is a bit much for those.

Enjoy it.
 

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its refreshing to know that there are people out there that believe in looking after these machines, and improving them also on the originals! hope you enjoy your time with the car!
 

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Beautiful looking Merak. I think they are wonderful cars but can anyone explain why the market is so down on them. Sports Car Market rates them much more lowly than most of the other late 60's/early 70's Meraks.
 
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