Marcos Beginners Questions!

Marcos Beginners Questions!

Author
Discussion

rick.e

Original Poster:

765 posts

240 months

Sunday 27th December 2015
quotequote all
Hi all. I have owned 3 TVRs in my time, and used each (S2, S3, Griff) as everyday transport, covering around 10k miles per year. Contrary to the common view, I didn't have any real reliability issues (the odd radiator, speedo sensor, fuel gauge sensor etc) in close to 100,000 miles of TVR driving, over a 10 year period. I always reckoned using the cars daily was the reason, rather than locking them away unused for 3 or 4 months per year. In addition, both the Cologne V6 and RV8 are solid engines.

Sadly, I have been TVR'less for several years now, but now in my mid 50's, I am retiring, and looking to get something interesting again, for occasional dry use only. Now I would dearly love another Griff, but prices for those in good nick are high, and a recent "Wheeler Dealers" show where they bought a Cerbera, reminded me of what a 12 year old TVR chassis looks like! So I am thinking of a Marcos as an alternative, but tbh, don't know a huge amount about them from an ownership perspective. I would be looking for a late model, V8.

So some dumb newby questions, and I apologise in advance for naivety:

1) I have read that some of the Marcos RV8 engines were difficult to get through emissions tests due to the way they were tweaked. Some of these were referred to as "Javelin" engines. So question 1, are there any particular problems with emissions tests, and if so, can they be overcome.

2) Marcos cars seem to come in a greater variety of configurations than TVR, and there is probably less knowledge around. So if I needed say, a set of brake disks, a UJ or suspension bush, where does the knowledge lie, and are there parts lists available?

3) I believe the front suspension is Mcpherson strut, which superficially seems a step backwards from the double wishbones of a TVR. On the other hand, Marcos cars did, and still do, achieve notable success on the racetrack. How does the handling compare with a TVR?

4) I recently came across a site with a scary list of Marcos safety warnings (failure of the rear chassis cross-member, front strut failure, oil pipes which fail and spray hot oil over the exhausts etc). Are these failures really likely, and have later cars been modified?

5) I like the idea of the Mustang V8, but this view may be biased by point (1) above. (I loved the 5 litre RV8 in the Griff, and I reckon they are fairly bulletproof). So any views on the relative merits of each of the V8s. (Obviously the Ford unit is more modern, more complex and more powerful, but I am interested here in ease of living with them).

6) Any other views of moving from a TVR to a Marcos?

7) How adjustable are the adjustable controls? My wife of 5ft 2" would happily drive my Griff. Would she fit a Marcos?

8) How are Chassis protected and are they a problem? (Although I would not be subjecting the car to salt and water, the car will already be circa 15 years old when I buy it!)

9) As if living with a low volume sports car isn't hard enough, a move to France is a possibility! I have no problem changing oil and brake pads myself, but for more major servicing, is there any experience of the cars over there, or any other owners in France?



marcosal

396 posts

174 months

Monday 28th December 2015
quotequote all
rick.e said:
Hi all. I have owned 3 TVRs in my time, and used each (S2, S3, Griff) as everyday transport, covering around 10k miles per year. Contrary to the common view, I didn't have any real reliability issues (the odd radiator, speedo sensor, fuel gauge sensor etc) in close to 100,000 miles of TVR driving, over a 10 year period. I always reckoned using the cars daily was the reason, rather than locking them away unused for 3 or 4 months per year. In addition, both the Cologne V6 and RV8 are solid engines.

Sadly, I have been TVR'less for several years now, but now in my mid 50's, I am retiring, and looking to get something interesting again, for occasional dry use only. Now I would dearly love another Griff, but prices for those in good nick are high, and a recent "Wheeler Dealers" show where they bought a Cerbera, reminded me of what a 12 year old TVR chassis looks like! So I am thinking of a Marcos as an alternative, but tbh, don't know a huge amount about them from an ownership perspective. I would be looking for a late model, V8.

So some dumb newby questions, and I apologise in advance for naivety:

1) I have read that some of the Marcos RV8 engines were difficult to get through emissions tests due to the way they were tweaked. Some of these were referred to as "Javelin" engines. So question 1, are there any particular problems with emissions tests, and if so, can they be overcome.

2) Marcos cars seem to come in a greater variety of configurations than TVR, and there is probably less knowledge around. So if I needed say, a set of brake disks, a UJ or suspension bush, where does the knowledge lie, and are there parts lists available?

3) I believe the front suspension is Mcpherson strut, which superficially seems a step backwards from the double wishbones of a TVR. On the other hand, Marcos cars did, and still do, achieve notable success on the racetrack. How does the handling compare with a TVR?

4) I recently came across a site with a scary list of Marcos safety warnings (failure of the rear chassis cross-member, front strut failure, oil pipes which fail and spray hot oil over the exhausts etc). Are these failures really likely, and have later cars been modified?

5) I like the idea of the Mustang V8, but this view may be biased by point (1) above. (I loved the 5 litre RV8 in the Griff, and I reckon they are fairly bulletproof). So any views on the relative merits of each of the V8s. (Obviously the Ford unit is more modern, more complex and more powerful, but I am interested here in ease of living with them).

6) Any other views of moving from a TVR to a Marcos?

7) How adjustable are the adjustable controls? My wife of 5ft 2" would happily drive my Griff. Would she fit a Marcos?

8) How are Chassis protected and are they a problem? (Although I would not be subjecting the car to salt and water, the car will already be circa 15 years old when I buy it!)

9) As if living with a low volume sports car isn't hard enough, a move to France is a possibility! I have no problem changing oil and brake pads myself, but for more major servicing, is there any experience of the cars over there, or any other owners in France?


Hello rik.e

I have owned two Marcos in the recent past. A 4.0 (3.9) V8 Mantara and a 4.6 Mantaray and have had the chance to compare Marcos ownership with equivant TVRs because my cars (along with several other local Marcoses) were maintained and serviced by David Gerald TVR over 7 years. Frankly the experience and general problems associated with both marques is not that different. The main recurring item faced by owners of steel chassis cars is chassis rail rust in the sills. (That will sound familiar to a TVR owner) and general deterioration of rubber hoses due to age.

The Javelin engine you mentioned is a real rarity that I think was used in very restricted numbers in 5litre cars (TS500 of which there are only two and possibly the LM 500) the vast majority of the V8s are straight forward Rover derivatives or the Ford 4.6 quadcam in the Mantis so emissions tests should not be a problem (unless it is a later car that has been decatted).

The Marcos is lower than the equivalent TVR and you sit lower in the car (no seat rails) the cockpit is also narrower. I do know of owners around the height of your wife and it is possible to reconfigure the seat. However there may be more of a problem if there is a big difference between your height and that of your wife. I am just over 6'1" and my Wife is about 5'3". There was not enough flexibility for the standard adjustment to cope with a 10" difference so we made a removable cushion for the seat back that worked really well.

We attended a Marcos gathering in Luxembourg this year and cars turned up from all over Europe. There certainly are cars in France, albeit they are a bit spread out. Marcos Heritage Spares support Marcos owners all over the world and from my experience, if a garage can deal with a TVR, it should certainly cope with a Marcos.

TheQuiffster

77 posts

210 months

Thursday 24th March 2016
quotequote all
Hi rick.e

I can't comment on switching from a TVR to a Marcos as I came from Evante ownership, but I've had a '97 Marcos Mantis since 2000 & done about 55K miles in it in all weathers. A few years ago it became my only car & I can live with it as (1) I love the looks and (2) it seems no more or less prone to the same perils of British sports car ownership as many other marques including TVR. I don't have the technical skills to look after the car myself (either mechanical or electrical) so it is not cheap for me to maintain, but you may well be more talented than me on this front & this therefore not a concern. At the end of the day the Mantis was built by a bunch of chaps in a shed, not by million dollar robots so when things drop off they can all be put back on or replaced. There are online resources for information like the Marcos Forum or Facebook site, and Rory at Marcos Heritage Spares. I have been asking questions for the last 16 years & no-one has been rude to me yet... tongue out

You've already identified the main achilles heal IMHO, which is the chassis. Mine 'went' a few years ago, & a body-off replacement was prohibitively expensive, but I was fortunate enough to come across one of the old Marcos engineers who did a great job replacing sills etc & I haven't looked back since. Certainly if you are looking at a Mantis that is where I'd start.

I don't know whereabouts you are in the UK, but if you are still thinking of a Marcos then there will be about 15 cars (& owners!) at both of the Tatton Park shows (Cheshire) this year, or if this is nowhere near you then there are local meets listed on the Club Marcos International, or Marcos Owners Club, websites. Probably worth a chat with Jeremy Kearns at Redline.

The very best of luck in your hunt, whatever you go for.

Edited by TheQuiffster on Thursday 24th March 12:01