Matthew Pits Photography has sent us these stunning photos of our Maserati Merak Restoration. The owner recently displayed this lovely Maserati at Bicester Heritage. We
With the internal build still in progress at the new Bridge Classic Cars HQ and the sun beaming down it was a great opportunity to
As a final touch on our Maserati Merak project we have asked our good friends at Pamela David Enamels to produce a 1-off Bridge Classic Cars badge
Having exhausted all avenues in sourcing some new/good used headlight hydraulic cylinders to operate the raising mechanism of the headlights, we had no other choice
I couldn’t resist posting a few pictures of our ‘almost’ complete Maserati Merak door cards. I’m sure there’s not many cars on the road today
A task that would be made a whole lot harder if the interior was already installed. Here we are applying rivets to the outer shell
Our next attempt on the 1976 Maserati Merak wheels have been a success. Having stripped them all back we have managed to further improve the
More images from the paint shop as we continue to tackle the magnesium wheel refurbishment.
Matthew Pits Photography has sent us these stunning photos of our Maserati Merak Restoration. The owner recently displayed this lovely Maserati at Bicester Heritage. We love to see our vehicles out being enjoyed. Thanks for sharing these images, Matthew.
We had an amazing day at Sandown Park Race Course for Barons British Heritage, Classic and Sports Cars auction.
In the auctioneer’s words the ‘star of the show’ was our stunning 1975 Maserati Merak, generating a huge amount of attention on the day with many admirers speaking to us personally to learn about the journey we took with the restoration of this car.
With a guide price of between £65000 and £80000 someone got themselves a fantastic deal when the hammer dropped at £69000. Not the result we were looking for with our expectations being more in the region of £95000 but the deal has been done. She’s now off to enjoy her new life with her new owners.
Having loaded her up the day before from our new Pettistree premises, we set off on the road early and it was great that we did as we got a fantastic position within the auction hall on the day.
With the internal build still in progress at the new Bridge Classic Cars HQ and the sun beaming down it was a great opportunity to bring out some of our old friends to enjoy the fresh Woodbridge air.
The sun is shining as we load our Maserati up for a trip to London.
Let’s just hope the weather stays bright as we take to the streets of London for a test drive.
Butley Priory, near Woodbridge was the setting for our 1975 Maserati Merak photo-shoot.
Deep in the sandy heath lands of east Suffolk, close to the river Butley is the gate house of Butley Priory, virtually all that remains of the Augustinian Priory founded here in 1171. It was built under William de Geystone (prior, 1311 – 1322).
The priory originally comprised a magnificent collection of buildings, and covered an area of twenty acres enclosed by a stone wall. Although nothing remains of this once great priory except the fine gatehouse and an arch which once led out of the south transept of the church, the plan of the site is known from the excavations carried out in 1930 by Montague Rendell, scholar and ex headmaster of Winchester, who bought the Gatehouse in 1926.
Unique features of the building are its extensive armorial frieze on the north side and exuberant flushwork decoration, ‘an amazing fantasy – wonderfully preserved through its complete charm can only be fully realised from a scaffold or by means of a powerful glass, so delicate is its carving and expression of the little sprightly features that adorn it, so rich the imagination with which they are inspired’.
It is thought that the stone used in the building of the priory came from the valley of the Yonne in France, and that it was brought up the Butley River in barges. A canal was cut to bring the stone to the wharf only 200 yards south of the Priory church.
The first king to visit Butley Priory appears to have been Henry III, who arrived on 9th March 1235.
It would seem from early records that the most important person after the sub-prior, and possibly the most popular, was the cellarer. In the only two instances where the records tell of the position previously held by a newly elected prior, we are informed that he had been the cellarer – William de Geystone, 1311, and Thomas Sudbourne, 1528.
Tradition has it that some where within the Priory grounds is buried a Silver Coffin containing the body of Michael de la Pole, third Earl of Suffolk, who fell at the side of Edward Plantagenet, Duke of York, at Agincourt.
It was during the time of Prior Augustine Rivet (1509 – 28) that the priory became the regular resort of many of the nobility who came there for the hunting. Mary Tudor, sister to Henry VIII, was a frequent visitor between 1515 and 1519. In 1527 she stayed for two months accompanied by her new husband Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.
On 6th August 1527, as it was very hot she ordered her supper to be laid out in a shady part the garden on the east side of the gatehouse. This she so enjoyed that picnic suppers in the Priory gardens became a regular feature of her stays. It is recorded in Brother Nicholas’s garden the royal party were overtaken by a tremendous storm and had to rush to the church for shelter.
On the 1st March 1538, Butley Priory, with all its lands and properties, was surrendered to Henry VIII. The commissioner, who received the surrender William Petre, stated that ‘we have today received the surrender of Butley, to which the Convent assented very quietly’.
For the next two years the Priory was used as a royal hunting lodge before being granted in 1540 to Thomas, duke of Norfolk, who in turn sold it toWilliam Forthe of Hadleigh in 1544 for £910 2s 2d. Anne, his only daughter inherited it and later married Viscount Hereford, who left it to his daughter Elizabeth. She married John Clyatt in 1684 and having no children settled the estate and heirs.
In 1737 George Wright Esq, married the Clyatt heiress and inherited the property it was George Wright who restored the Gatehouse and converted it into ‘a handsome mansion’. Later the house became the residence or shooting seat of many important people of the day, including the Marquis of Donegall, Lord Archibald Hamilton and Lord Rendlesham. After this time it went into decline for some years and was used periodically for some years as a very cold vicarage, until in 1926 the Gate house was saved again by the aforementioned Dr. Rendall who called in the famous architect Caroe and began an intensive programme of restoration and conservation to a country house.
A new front entrance was introduced into an angle of the east wing. Bedrooms and a bathroom were located above and a kitchen created out of the Georgian annex. Buttresses were repaired and the armorial frieze was carefully conserved.
It appears that such was Dr. Rendall’s passion for the building that he spent his last penny on the restoration work, and was forced to sell the property in his later years to Sir Bernard Greenwell Bart, who generously allowed him to live out his life at Butley.
The Gatehouse is currently owned by his son Sir Edward Greenwell who lives outside Orford. The present tenants, the Cavendish family have lived here since 1987 and have made the house into the very unique combination of private event venue and family home that it is today.
Due to its unique appeal the house has featured in design and interior decorating magazines as well as national newspapers on several occasions. One cannot help but wonder what the monks would have made of it all!
On Thursday 15th February 2018, with the location set and sun was shining we were ready for the exciting Maserati shoot.
John and Craig took the car, along with Mike from Shine Supply UK and Jason at Sugar and Spice Photography. We were welcomed at Butley Priory by Emma who gave us a lovely little tour of the priory too.
The location for one of our most eagerly anticipated shoots is the beautiful setting of Butley Priory near Woodbridge, Suffolk.
And we are so glad we were as the setting is truly stunning.
In addition to renting the house as a holiday getaway, Butley Priory also provides venue hire for a whole range of events and occasions. The house is an inspirational location for Yoga, Pilates and Beauty retreats, having hosted many already! The Great Hall offers a fantastic space for art/music/training courses, business meetings, poetry or song writing ‘lock ins’, birthday parties, corporate events and dinners, as well as wakes and christenings.
And of course the house is also available to rent for photographic shoots and filming, just email or call us on 01394 450 046 them for a quote.
We couldn’t have asked for a better day, especially when the weather was so poor yesterday we feared the worst but we needn’t have worried.
A huge thank you, as always to Jason from Sugar & Spice Photography, we can’t wait to see the real photos! But for now, here’s some Craig made earlier…
Different but very impressive.
We recently spoke to Steve. Steve lives in Manchester and he contacted us after reading up on our Maserati Merak project online.
Steve owns an early golf and it just so happens that it is fitted with Maserati Merak wheels so he sent through some pictures for us to see.
I think you’ll agree, it looks fantastic with the Merak wheels on.
Steve, we love them! And a special mention to Mark Rodway and Cameron Russell for the amazing photos from London Cartel.
The very first Bridge Classic Cars enamel badge.
Fresh off the production line, here is the very first Bridge Classic Cars enamel badge, produced by our friends at Pamela David Enamels. This will be fitted to our 1975 Maserati Merak as the final stage of completion of this fantastic project.
When she leaves our workshops this will be the only car in the world to display the badge and although she may be the beginning of a trend she’ll always be the first.
As a final touch on our Maserati Merak project we have asked our good friends at Pamela David Enamels to produce a 1-off Bridge Classic Cars badge to be fitted to the car.
Here we have the initial designs sent back with the black lines being chrome and the white internals being black.
We are hopefully looking, right now, at the final trip for our 1975 Maserati Merak in it’s restoration journey.
Our task at Bridge Classic Cars is now complete so it just needs a few tweaks and the once over from the Italian specialists at Grimaldi Engineering.
Roberto Grimaldi and his team come from Italian and Swiss backgrounds which they are all very proud of and run a business with a flair of Italian style and Swiss precision.
Stepping foot in the door of Grimaldi is every petrol head’s dream as they have a huge array of incredible super cars on display.
Check out their amazing selection of cars on their website or take a look at the images we took whilst we were there…
Our Maserati Merak is now back in our Ipswich workshops after one final visit to the paint shop and she is looking absolutely outstanding.
Just a couple of small areas to work on and the concours restoration will be complete. A couple of removable panels need to be realigned once again and we are waiting on a new badge for the rear to be re-produced by the guys at Pamela David Enamel.
The car is now available for sale, for any interested parties please do not hesitate to contact the office for more information. Price is strictly on application.
Having exhausted all avenues in sourcing some new/good used headlight hydraulic cylinders to operate the raising mechanism of the headlights, we had no other choice than to re-manufacture some brand new components.
Certainly not as easy as it sounds; lots of phone calls later to lots of hydraulic specialists and with no one wanting to take on the task we started to look more locally for help.
Nigel and the guys at Ipswich Hydraulics reluctantly said they would take on the challenge and full credit to the team, they are now back with us, looking amazing and ready to be fitted up. A huge thank you to Ipswich Hydraulics for taking on the challenge.
Will they dread coming to the phone when they next hear ‘it’s Craig from Bridge Classic Cars’ on the phone? Maybe so…haha
…but a huge thank you.
It’s the end of another day at Bridge Classic Cars and the Maserati Merak is parked up, ready and waiting for the final trip to the paint shop. In the diary for the beginning of next week.
Once we have completed the final few touches she’ll be ready for one of our ‘now famous’ photo-shoots…after a good detail that is!
Location of the shoot is to be confirmed.
We reported earlier in the project that our original horn push came with the car damaged.
Because of the rarity of almost everything on the Merak, we have commissioned Pamela David Enamels to design and re-manufacture a new one for us.
Today, we received delivery of the new horn push…
…well not strictly true!
As you can see from our recent posts, our 1975 Maserati Merak has been somewhat missing the feel of the road for quite a while now. Due to a visit at the weekend, the workshops are being moved and that means the Maserati has been taken outside for a couple of minutes whilst all the shifting commences.
…and I’m sure you’ll agree, even though we’ve not quite finished with the paintwork she still looks absolutely stunning.
We’ve been hunting high and low for a replacement badge for the horn push on our Maserati Merak. Unfortunately the only results we could find was a full horn itself. Thinking this was the best solution we snapped it up but we soon realised that it was not what we needed. The size was right but the set up and finish was all wrong for what we were looking for so back to the drawing board…
… quite literally.
We’ve worked with Pamela David Enamels in the past on our now, world famous 1961 Jensen 541S project so we put a call in to them to see whether they could help in our hour of need. Andy guess what, they have come up trumps once again. A brand new badge is being manufactured as we speak and will be an exact match to the one broken from the car.
The brand new green carpets are now being fitted to our Maserati Merak.
What better combination than Indi Verde green against the stunning red leather. It is not so much noticeable on the seats but the entire interior set up has been stitched in green to match the car colour. It is more noticeable on the rear cover.
Ordinarily the rear column on the Merak’s are covered in a plain leather/vinyl cover. From new, this column was not built symmetrically, after careful consideration and a lot of research we felt that a plain cover was not striking enough and would highlight the fact that it was not symmetrical. You can see what we mean by google many images of other Maserati Meraks…beautiful but in our opinion not beautiful enough.
We kept with the original black finish but instead, we diamond stitched our column in green and the pictures below speak for themselves.
A great example of when having the right tools operated by the right people can overcome anything…
Here we have one of the L bracket covers from our 1975 Maserati Merak front seats. Unless you can find a Merak that is being broken (which we only know of one currently) these brackets are no longer available.
The mechanism is still working perfectly, it’s just the outer plastic cover that has not survived the test of time.
However, Tommy has yet again come to the rescue. We believe everyone needs a Tommy!
With a little TLC and some fibre glass he has managed to rescue the piece.
It may not be the most visible part of the interior and removing the damaged piece may not have caused any issues, aesthetically, but we are back to full speed now!!
After months of hard-graft rebuilding the engine, Don Warman was back with us today to run up the 1976 Maserati Merak engine for the first time. This is the first time since it has been fitted in the recently restored car so it was a big day for all involved.
A small issue with a hose leaking but John was quick to act and resolve the problem so Don could continue with what he needed to do.
The engine runs beautifully, a few small tweaks are needed but a very successful day.
Images of the underneath of our 1976 Maserati Merak.
Dave and John are currently designing and producing the bespoke polished flooring that will be fitted later in the week.
Just a few weeks away from completion of our 1976 Maserati Merak. It’s been a long and challenging build but we are now very close to reaching the end.
This week John has fitted the water tank and hoses. He then filled the system ready for the engine test run next week.
The air filters and filter housing have also been positioned as has the fuel pump.
Progress has been further made on our 1976 Maserati Merak engine bay. The plumbing in of the brakes is now complete, the water pipes and vacuum pipes have also been connected up. We’ve replaced all of the pipes on the return system for the brakes. The fuel hoses have been fitted.
John has also successfully installed the Alternator, Brake Pump and Air Conditioning Compressor.
Still a bit of a way to go on this very challenging project but we are certainly getting through it. John has been working tirelessly on this project and it certainly hasn’t come without it’s frustrations. It’s when you step back and look at the pure beauty of this machine do you realise that all the hard work and hours are absolutely worth it.
We are now on the look out
I couldn’t resist posting a few pictures of our ‘almost’ complete Maserati Merak door cards.
I’m sure there’s not many cars on the road today with red leather stitched in green but then again, there’s not many cars on the road today with both a Maserati and a Merak badge.
A task that would be made a whole lot harder if the interior was already installed. Here we are applying rivets to the outer shell of the fuel tank compartments. This is a view from behind the seats prior to the fuel tank insulation and tanks themselves being fitted later this week.
A view from under the rear arches of the Maserati Merak fuel tank outer housing.
This information has been provided to us from the Maserati Club.
Our next attempt on the 1976 Maserati Merak wheels have been a success.
Having stripped them all back we have managed to further improve the magnesium finish to the wheels before applying a new coat of light gloss wheel paint.
It was a lot of effort and intricate detailing but the results on this attempt have very much improved.
More images from the paint shop as we continue to tackle the magnesium wheel refurbishment.
In a previous post back in December we explained how we need to further perfect the Merak wheels. Magnesium wheels are somewhat of a challenge to work and unfortunately the previous restoration did not bring them back up to the standard we wanted to we have stripped them back to carry out the task once again.
It’s a time consuming task but each wheels has been individually stripped with a hand tool and a skilled hand to ensure every angle has been worked on.
As I had nipped over to our trim shop to drop off some bits I couldn’t help but take a couple of pictures of the Maserati Merak interior.
Kim mentioned that there were a couple of areas she wanted to look at but all in all, they are all taking shape and looking fantastic. Just the rear column to master now and we’ll be looking at refitting the interior early in the new year!
Here’s a sneaky peak at the interior look gorgeous.
This may look like we’ve made a bit of an error with the template of our rear interior engine housing but this is exactly how it should be. Even the rear seats on the Merak aren’t the same size!
Here we the top of the rear interior engine housing that Asa has had to draw up a template for before forming it in 18 gauge steel. This is now in the hands of Kim, our interior specialist, as she works on the final pieces before the interior gets fitted.
The interior engine housing sits between the two rear seats and is actually takes up most of the room in the back. This piece forms the top of a column which runs to the height of the seats.
The entire piece will then be shaped and covered.
Here’s some examples that we have found on Google
The new old airbag has arrived for our Maserati Merak. Next stop, the paint shop where we’ll prepare it ready for a fresh new look. Next time you see it will be just before it’s fitted in the car and it’ll be finished perfectly in good black with a brand new filter.
Magnesium has several key properties that make it an attractive base metal for wheels: lightness; a high damping capacity; and a high specific strength. Magnesium is the lightest metallic structural material available. It is 1.5 times less dense than aluminum, so magnesium wheels can be designed to be significantly lighter than aluminum alloy wheels, while exhibiting comparable strength. All competitive racing rims are now made of magnesium alloy.
According to Wikipedia, a notable disadvantage historically affecting magnesium wheels was their susceptibility to corrosion.
The Maserati Merak wheels have been somewhat of a challenge to us at Bridge Classic Cars. When they originally arrived to us, they, along with the entire car, was looking in a very sorry state.
After carrying out a full restoration on the wheels they are now looking much better but still not perfect so we have given ourselves a second chance with them.
Today we have started to strip them back to bare metal (by hand) to start the process once more. These are not like your regular alloy wheels so the regular treatment you would normally be able to do does not bring them up as good as they can be.
Stripping them back reveals the corrosion and pitting that has occurred over years, it then gives us the opportunity to repair the areas before reapplying the top coat. This should give a much cleaner, crisp finish.
We are now well on the way with refitting our 1976 Maserati Merak.
Probably one of our most challenging builds to date, not only did the car come to us as a ‘box of bits’ but sourcing parts and information regarding this vehicle has been somewhat of a challenge.
As mentioned previously, all anyone seems to have for this vehicle is a manual. I’m sure you’re thinking ‘a manual is all you need’ but when it is all in Italian it makes some tasks tricky.
Luckily we have built up a fantastic contact book of Maserati specialists who have all been great and the guys at McGrath Maserati have been amazing help to us today as we fitted up the bulkhead ready for the fuel tanks and engine to be fitted.
We teased you with some images back in August of our 1976 Maserati Merak engine just as we were completing the rebuild. Well next week we’ll be introducing her back to the body shell once again as she gets fitted back in ready for the final stages of rebuild.
The original Merak’s three-litre engine produced 190 PS (140 kW; 187 hp) at 6000 rpm and 26 kg·m (255 N·m; 188 lb·ft) at 4000 rpm.
It is always pleasing when one of our engines is rebuilt. Here are the first pictures of our totally rebuilt 1976 Maserati Merak engine.
The engine has been totally stripped and has been rebuilt using original parts sourced from all over the world.
This is another challenging rebuild as parts are no longer available and when you work to such exacting standards it always stretches our team to the max.
The engine will be married to the refurbished gearbox and pictures of the finished unit will be posted in the next few days prior to it being married to the body.
We are well on with the trim which will be in vibrant red, stitched in green to match the body.
Things are starting to pick up pace on the 1976 Maserati Merak restoration. We’ve had a few quiet weeks on her as the workshops have been busy with other jobs but now the wheels and suspension are on, the car is starting to take shape.
As you can see, John has been working on fitting the radiator and twin fans today. Along with the Air Conditioning Radiator and Air Conditioning Separator.
It’s been a while since we last saw this but this afternoon we finally fitted the wheels back onto the Merak so she can finally come off the dollies.
It’s been a while but as the suns out and she’s off the ramp we decided to work on fitting the chrome work, vents, suspension and braking system outside in the sunshine.
This is turning out to be one of our toughest challenges to date.
One of our first tasks after collecting the vehicle was to send the wheels away to have them professionally refurbished. The wheels on the Maserati Merak were cast light alloy Campagnolo 7½J x 15″, fitted with Michelin XWX tyres measuring 185/70 at the front and 205/70 at the rear. Anyone who has refurbished wheels in the past will recognise just how difficult it is to work on repairing a wheel like this.
The tyres were special order too…nothing on this car seems to be easy but it’s all worth it in the end!
We have had two separate attempts on refurbishing the wheels but you do have to draw the line somewhere, as the more you try with this particular wheel, sometimes, the worse they can become.
The first attempt looked fantastic but did have a few imperfections to them so we worked on the imperfections that little bit more and went for a second attempt…the results are great. We decided to stop there rather than push our luck too far, striving for perfection on a set of original wheels that are over 40 years old.
Here’s a collection of original Maserati Merak parts ready to go off to paint.
Where possible, it is always best to use original parts providing they are in full working order.
Work is underway today to fit the front suspension to the Maserati Merak.
As we are used to so very often, a full classic car restoration is never as straight forward as the guys on the TV show you.
We are currently working from a very old but original Maserati Merak manual, the biggest problem being that the entire book is printed in Italian…makes life very tricky!
The diagrams are good though, here are a selection of images of the front suspension.
Working late in the workshop tonight preparing for the arrival of our Series III Jaguar E-Type Convertible. Couldn’t help but stop and admire the beauty on our ramp.
With the newly tiled assembly room now in full working order, today we moved our stunning 1976 Maserati Merak back in ready for the assembly operation to start.
The Maserati Merak has now been fitted with a brand new Maserati windscreen sourced directly to Bridge Classic Cars from Italy.
When restoring anything in the concours world it is important that you call on the right people at the right time to assist you in your quest. We used Pamela David Enamels to recreate the iconic Maserati badge that will sit on the front nose cone.
The paintwork is now into the final stages of completion.
As with all classic car projects, it is vital to carefully inspect every stage before moving on to the next. It is often easier to find the imperfections at every stage then to try and do it all at the end, when more often that not, it is too late.
The paint is looking absolutely stunning, a few minor alterations need to be made but we should be ready to move on within a week!
Final stages of primer. This time next week our Maserati Merak should be painted and starting to take shape.
The Maserati Merak being primed, prepped and ready for paint, check out the stunning Verde Indy Green finish we’ve been testing on some of the panels.
Bridge Classic Cars can now reveal that the next restoration will be… a Maserati Merak.
This 3 litre version, believed to be an SS but still has to be confirmed was purchased after the owner realised that after four years the restoration was beyond his reach.
The car originally in Verde Indy Green with red leather was to have a colour change but here at Bridge Classic Cars we have decided to put her back to original, unless sold prior to paint when a new owner can change the specification.
Another reason for putting her back to original is this is the ACTUAL car featured on the album cover of Dexy Midnight Runners organist Andde Leek. A signed record sleeve accompanies the car.
The car is for sale and interested parties should contact us as soon as possible as our concours rebuild projects don’t remain for sale long as they are seen as serious financial investments when some classic cars are rising 30% per year.
Bridge Classic Cars have also secured a complete collection which comprises of a Austin Seven Nippy, Austin Seven Special, Austin Top Hat, Armstrong Siddeley Lancaster and a MGBBT.
More information will be posted on their arrival…