Any Marcos Fans ?

Author
Discussion

mph

Original Poster:

2,231 posts

251 months

Saturday 18th April 2020
quotequote all
I've always admired them but never even sat in one, let alone driven one. Reading back through period road tests they usually come out rather well.

I particularly like the Mantara and Mantaray with the V8 Rover. Couple of nice ones for sale at the moment.

Anyone here got any Marcos experience ?

I know there's a Marcos forum but thought I'd get more views on this one.

Kickstart

867 posts

206 months

Saturday 18th April 2020
quotequote all
Absolutely love them
Got a wooden chassis 69 car that was a 3 litre race car with Ric Wood 280bhp engine - ran it since 2006 but eventually chassis too tired so rebuilding as FIA 1800 car on new tub
Photos of the build are on Pinterest under Marcos 1800 restoration if you are truly lockdown bored
On less mundane note love to watch Core Users race Marcos in GT racing in the early 90’s

Cooper1999

268 posts

168 months

Sunday 19th April 2020
quotequote all
Not quite what you were thinking of mph, I suspect, but I've been building a Mini Marcos for the last 10 years - I'll get it on the road eventually.
Would've loved to see the Marcos LM cars running in the 24hrs!
And it's a shame the TS didn't sell more. What ever happened to the supposed restart?

TarquinMX5

830 posts

49 months

Sunday 19th April 2020
quotequote all
I've always liked them, driven them (Mantara, not Mantaray) but not owned.

I think they're a bit 'softer' than the same-age V8 TVRs, less rorty overall and a bit more old-school, 60's style, inside. Nothing wrong with that. Comfortable, although I'm not sure how adjustable the pedals are for shorter drivers. I thought they felt quite small and the rear of the Mantara always felt to me as if there wasn't much behind you, in a similar way to Caterham etc.. TVRs feel as if you have more substance between you and following traffic but that's a personal thing. The Mantara's pumped up body is an acquired taste for some; I quite like it.

I visited the factory (well, huts) back in the day and was quite impressed with the build quality and general set up. Engines were generally standard Rover spec although IIRC they did offer a sports engine package but that might have only been on the 4.6s. Can't recall now, did all of the Rover-engined ones have Rover gearboxes right to the end?


YankeePorker

4,666 posts

210 months

Sunday 19th April 2020
quotequote all
Will have to dig out old photos to show it, but had a Mini Marcos for a few years in my 20s. It was great fun and went like stink - obviously only in terms of acceleration and cornering - top speed was limited by the ratios in the straight cut box, but with a full race cooper 1275, twin 1 1/2 inch SUs, 649 cam and a straight through Peco big bore exhaust it was very entertaining!

Difficult to imagine driving one in this world full of SUVs, it already felt small in the days of mundane sedans. Would have major issues letting one of my kids own one nowadays, basically a fibreglass cockleshell sitting on two mini sub frames.

Eagleye

550 posts

24 months

Sunday 19th April 2020
quotequote all
The wooden chassis cars are an engineering marvel, the older the better.

The 1800s are really incredible cars, so light, stiff and amazing to drive. The later wooden cars were good but felt front heavy and altogether compromised. I had an Elan S3 in the 80s which I thought at the time was fantastic and had the opportunity of a drive in an 1800 IRS at Castle Comb - I had to admit, the Marcos was the better car.

The newest I've driven was a steel chassis Rover V8 engine car and the engine sounded lovely, quite sprightly performance but steering and rigidity didn't compare with the earlier cars.

I'd say that the 1800 is the car Chapman never managed to build but they were expensive cars for their time and cost cutting as the years went on showed.

For whatever reason, prices of them never took off on the classic scene and are still a bit of a bargain.

P5BNij

9,708 posts

75 months

Monday 20th April 2020
quotequote all
Can't help with any ownership info but I started a photo thread on them here last year.... wink

https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&...

TarquinMX5

830 posts

49 months

Monday 20th April 2020
quotequote all
Great photos on that other thread, thanks for posting them. The accident one looks horrendous, any idea where/when?

Today I found an old ('94) price/option list and I see that the Sport engine option (300bhp on the 4.0 litre) was a £5,500 option then. Still couldn't find the brochure though frown


alex_gray255

6,301 posts

174 months

Tuesday 21st April 2020
quotequote all
Yes. Own a Mantis. Good looking cars, nice to drive. Will probably get another one
later on - maybe next year,

Elderly

3,163 posts

207 months

Wednesday 22nd April 2020
quotequote all
A friend had an almost new white 1600GT in 1969.

We flew it from Lydd to Le Touquet in a Bristol Freighter; somewhere I have a photograph
of it being stuck at the top of the loading ramp onto the aircraft as the car had so little ground clearance.

We drove it down through France where it suffered a few minor problems.
We would take it to a Ford garage where they sucked their teeth and shook their heads ....
until we opened the bonnet to reveal the engine.

Then down through Spain and over the Sierra Nevada mountains which back then had appalling road surfaces
which did for the rear shock absorbers, and hence any great speed down the mountain roads.
I remember a situation with a 2CV which we passed going up, which then re-passed us going down.
The wooden chassis got singed during that phase of the journey!

On the return journey my friend got sick and so I drove from Madrid back to Le Touquet without stopping
for sleep. A great driving experience at dawn when we were speeding along on empty roads just under the very very low clouds/mist that was floating only
just above the car.

When we arrived back at Lydd; UK Customs seeing two long haired youth who had been to the southern coast
of Spain (then a route from North Africa for the drugs trade) preceded to take the car apart looking for .......

Edited by Elderly on Wednesday 22 April 09:01

Deranged Rover

1,337 posts

43 months

Monday 27th April 2020
quotequote all
My mother hails from Westbury and a friend of my aunt's worked for Marcos for years. I got a tour of the Nissen Huts and a blast around the Wiltshire countryside in a then-new Mantara back in the 1990s, and it is something I will never forget.

I can promise you here and now that one day I WILL own a mid-90s Mantara of my own!

As an amusing aside, the last time I saw a Mantara out in the wild was a few years ago in the car park at Stonehenge. More people were looking at the car than the stones... biggrin

singlecoil

29,339 posts

215 months

Tuesday 28th April 2020
quotequote all
Interesting reading the positive comments re the wooden chassis. I've long fancied making some sort of car with a birch plywood chassis and have the equipment and space to do that. I've also been much involved with kit cars over the years, enough to know there wouldn't be any money in it, but I'd still like to do it...

mph

Original Poster:

2,231 posts

251 months

Tuesday 28th April 2020
quotequote all
singlecoil said:
Interesting reading the positive comments re the wooden chassis. I've long fancied making some sort of car with a birch plywood chassis and have the equipment and space to do that. I've also been much involved with kit cars over the years, enough to know there wouldn't be any money in it, but I'd still like to do it...
What about restoring a wooden chassis Marcos ? You'd get the satisfaction of using your skills to return an iconic car to good health, plus it may just about make financial sense.

singlecoil

29,339 posts

215 months

Tuesday 28th April 2020
quotequote all
mph said:
singlecoil said:
Interesting reading the positive comments re the wooden chassis. I've long fancied making some sort of car with a birch plywood chassis and have the equipment and space to do that. I've also been much involved with kit cars over the years, enough to know there wouldn't be any money in it, but I'd still like to do it...
What about restoring a wooden chassis Marcos ? You'd get the satisfaction of using your skills to return an iconic car to good health, plus it may just about make financial sense.
It's an interesting idea but it doesn't appeal to me, I would want to make quite a few changes and also I've too much negative experience of working on cars of that era. I did have a quick look to see what sort of money a restoration project car would cost, but there's none for sale that I could find.

Gemaeden

197 posts

84 months

Tuesday 28th April 2020
quotequote all
Elderly said:
...When we arrived back at Lydd; UK Customs seeing two long haired youth who had been to the southern coast
of Spain (then a route from North Africa for the drugs trade) preceded to take the car apart looking for .......
Oddly enough I had a very similar experience upon returning from the south of France in a TX Tripper


dandarez

12,094 posts

252 months

Tuesday 28th April 2020
quotequote all
Elderly said:
A friend had an almost new white 1600GT in 1969.

We flew it from Lydd to Le Touquet in a Bristol Freighter; somewhere I have a photograph
of it being stuck at the top of the loading ramp onto the aircraft as the car had so little ground clearance.

We drove it down through France where it suffered a few minor problems.
We would take it to a Ford garage where they sucked their teeth and shook their heads ....
until we opened the bonnet to reveal the engine.

Then down through Spain and over the Sierra Nevada mountains which back then had appalling road surfaces
which did for the rear shock absorbers, and hence any great speed down the mountain roads.
I remember a situation with a 2CV which we passed going up, which then re-passed us going down.
The wooden chassis got singed during that phase of the journey!

On the return journey my friend got sick and so I drove from Madrid back to Le Touquet without stopping
for sleep. A great driving experience at dawn when we were speeding along on empty roads just under the very very low clouds/mist that was floating only
just above the car.

When we arrived back at Lydd; UK Customs seeing two long haired youth who had been to the southern coast
of Spain (then a route from North Africa for the drugs trade) preceded to take the car apart looking for .......
And some 'youngsters' on here will call the period in time the 'bad ol' days'.
WRONG! cloud9 One of the most fabulous periods in time (and into the 70's) - regardless of whatever marque.


Singer Chamois? to the left.


This car is off to Le Mans but never raced. I know what it is, only because I've spent the last 6 months (or much of it) engrossed in this marque!

mph

Original Poster:

2,231 posts

251 months

Tuesday 28th April 2020
quotequote all
dandarez said:
And some 'youngsters' on here will call the period in time the 'bad ol' days'.
WRONG! cloud9 One of the most fabulous periods in time (and into the 70's) - regardless of whatever marque.


This car is off to Le Mans but never raced. I know what it is, only because I've spent the last 6 months (or much of it) engrossed in this marque!
Looks a bit like a Bristol 404 but I don' think it is.

cjb44

485 posts

87 months

Tuesday 28th April 2020
quotequote all
mph said:
Looks a bit like a Bristol 404 but I don' think it is.
It is a Gilbern GT.
Dandarez I thought you were a Ginetta man to the core!

MarkwG

3,209 posts

158 months

Tuesday 28th April 2020
quotequote all
dandarez said:
And some 'youngsters' on here will call the period in time the 'bad ol' days'.
WRONG! cloud9 One of the most fabulous periods in time (and into the 70's) - regardless of whatever marque.
I suspect if you can afford to have you & your car flown across the channel, any period of time would appear to be great...

grumpy52

4,730 posts

135 months

Tuesday 28th April 2020
quotequote all
When I started as a marshall in 1971 there seemed to be plenty of the Marcos breed about in club racing .
Plenty of them up the sharp end of the races .
These were usually the wooden smaller engine models or the mini based variety.
As the cars developed and went off to Le Mans and the like, the mini based versions seemed to disappear .
They always seemed to be owned by very British chaps .