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Marcos Engineering Ltd.
Type Private
Founded 1959
Founder(s) Jem Marsh
Frank Costin
Headquarters Kenilworth, England
Key people Tony Stelliga director
Industry Automotive
Products Automobile
Website marcos-eng.com

Marcos was a British sports car manufacturer. The name was a combination of founders Jem Marsh and Frank Costin

HistoryEdit

Marcos was founded in Luton, in Bedfordshire, England, in 1959 by Jem Marsh and Frank Costin. Frank Costin had earlier worked on the De Havilland Mosquito fighter-bombers and from there he got the idea to use plywood for the chassis. The company moved to a converted mill in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire in 1963 and in 1971 to a £125,000 purpose built factory at nearby Westbury, Wiltshire.

Problems with exporting cars to the USA and the move to the expensive new premises led to financial troubles in the 1970s and by 1971 they were out of business. In July 1971 it was reported that the Rob Walker Group of Companies, a principal dealer, had taken over the stocks and assets of the business and established a new company, Marcos Ltd.[1] The new owners insisted that production would continue, albeit, at least in the short term, only for the UK market.[1] Marcos dealers in the UK had been heavily discounting new cars since the end of 1970, however, while a report at the time of the collapse stated that the company's stock of 35 unsold cars in the USA had had to be "liquidated":[1] in reality there seems to have been a substantial stock of new cars still looking for buyers, and it is not clear whether, over the next few years, any more were built. Just a year later, one Saturday in June 1972, what was described as "a cash jumble sale of Marcos bits - prototype and shop soiled components, benches, tools..." took place at what was could now be characterized as the "old Marcos Cars factory" at Westbury, Wiltshire.[2] The sale was occasioned by the company's reorganisation and move to a smaller factory.[2]

Jem Marsh however stayed in the auto business. In 1976 he bought back the rights to the Marcos name, and in 1981 the Marcos was relaunched with the Marcos V6 Coupe that was sold in kit form.

Marcos went bankrupt again in 2000, but thanks to a wealthy Canadian, Tony Stelliga buying the company, production was again revived in 2002. The race car production was relocated to the Netherlands while road car production moved to Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England. By 2005 most of the designers from the near to bankrupt TVR had joined the company.

On 9 October 2007 it was announced that Marcos would cease car production and go into voluntary liquidation.[3][4]

Marcos CarsEdit

Marcos 1000GT, Marcos Luton Gullwing; Marcos Fastback GT, Marcos 1800 GT Edit

Marcos 1800
[[File:Marcos GT|frameless|upright=1.25|alt=]]
Manufacturer Marcos Engineering Ltd.
Also called Marcos 1600
Marcos 3-litre
Production 1964 -
Assembly Kenilworth, UK
Predecessor Marcos GT
Class Sports car
Body style(s) 2-door coupé
Engine(s) Volvo 1800 cc or 3000 cc
Ford 1600 cc or 3000 cc
and others at various times[5]
Transmission(s) 4-speed manual[5]
Wheelbase 89.5 in (2273 mm)[5]
Length 160.25 in (4070 mm)[5]
Width 62.5 in (1588 mm)[5]
Height 42.5 in (1080 mm)[5]
Designer Adams brothers[5]

The first car, the 1960 Marcos GT was a rather strange looking device with gullwing doors and a windscreen in four panels. For production the body was made less radical but initially retained the gullwing doors. It was powered by a choice of Ford engines varying from 997 cc to 1498 cc and had Standard 10 and Triumph Herald steering and suspension components. Thirty nine were made up to 1963.

In 1961 the brothers Dennis Adams and Peter Adams started working with Marcos and they introduced a number of changes to the original design, so the Marcos Luton Gullwing, and the Spyder were introduced in November 1961, immediately transformed to the Marcos Fastback GT , was displayed at the London Racing Car Show in 1963. The chassis were glued of mainly 3 mm thick sheets of marine plywood, giving the cars a very strong monocoque and unbeatable low total weight (internationally homologated with 475 kg), resulting in a great performance in sportscar competition. Totally 39 cars were produced of these early Marcos models and nearly all of them were used for national and international racing purpose.

In 1964 the Marcos 1800 GT was presented. Originally this used the 4 cylinder Volvo 1800 cc unit with overdrive gearbox and De Dion rear axle but in 1966 this changed to a Ford engine in 1500 cc, 1600 cc or 1650 cc capacity and a coil sprung live rear axle. In 1969 this changed again to the Ford V4 engine as used in the Corsair and Capri. In 1969 the GT changed from plywood chassis to a more conventional steel one. This shortened the production time and also made it possible to use more powerful 6 cylinder engines with a choice of 140 bhp (104 kW/142 PS), 3 litre Ford Essex V6 engine (UK), 140 bhp (104 kW/142 PS), 3 litre Volvo straight 6 or more rarely the Triumph 2.5 litre straight 6.

The cars were sold into the North American market and for them to pass the exhaust emissions regulations the Volvo engine was used there, but there were delays and problems and this, along with the development costs of the Mantis, resulted in the company closing its doors - for the first time. The car had a wheelbase of 1,956 millimetres (77.0 in), a height of only 1,092 millimetres (43.0 in) and weighed 914 kilograms (2,020 lb). The Ford V6 version achieved over 120 mph (190 km/h) on test and the Volvo engined model was not far behind it, but the heavy cast iron engines made the cars a little nose heavy, especially compared to the 4 cylinder variants.

Mini MarcosEdit

Main article: Mini Marcos

As the Marcos GT had got larger and more powerful, a return to smaller cars had come in 1965 with the glass fibre monocoque bodied Mini Marcos. With a wheelbase of only 69 inches (1,800 mm) the Malcolm Newell designed Mini Marcos was significantly shorter than the usual Marcos cars, but it was the only British car to finish Le Mans the following year. It was powered by one of the Mini A-series range of transverse engines driving the front wheels and used Mini front and rear subframes and suspension. Production finished in about 1975 to be taken up by Harold Dermott, who went on to produce the Midas. Cars were also made under licence in South Africa, Australia and Ireland. Over 1300 have been made in kit and complete car versions.

In 1991 the Mini Marcos was relaunched to meet demands from Japan and was made up to 1995.

After the demise of Marcos Sales Limited, the Mini Marcos moulds were acquired by Rory McMath of Marcos Heritage Spares. They are able to manufacture/supply all fibreglass parts, from a nosecone to a complete shell. Marcos Heritage relaunched the Mini Marcos in 2005 as the Marcos Heritage Mk. VI and Mk. VI GT

The GT Version was also included in the game Gran Turismo 4 for the Playstation2.

Marcos Mantis Edit

Main article: Marcos Mantis GT
1971 Marcos Mantis

1971 Marcos Mantis M70

Marcos Mantis XP

Mantis XP in Goodwood Festival of Speed 2010.

In 1968 came two different cars both called the Mantis. One was a pure racing car, the Marcos Mantis XP, a sportscar-prototype with very aggressive appearance, powered by a mid-mounted BRM-Repco V8. Only one was made. The only race was the 1000 km race in Spa in 1968, were it Did Not Finish (DNF) because of electrical problems , as the race was hit by severe rain storms.

The other was the 2+2 Mantis M70, powered by a 2.5 litre Triumph TR6 six cylinder injected engine, but the design was not well received and only 32 were sold.

Marcos Mantula, Spider and Martina Edit

In 1984 the Marcos Mantula appeared, with a reborn company, still under the original founder, Jem Marsh, looking very similar to the old GT, but now powered by a 3.5 litre Rover V8 and 5 speed gearbox. The alloy Rover engine weighed much less than the old six cylinder cast iron units and put the car back into serious contention against other Rover powered sports cars such as TVR and Morgan.

The Marcos Martina was externally a very similar car to the Mantula, but with flared front arches, however it was powered by a 2 litre four cylinder Ford Cortina engine and used steering/suspension components from the same car. In 1986 the Mantula became available in convertible form as the Marcos Spyder with a design similar to the GT. Both the Mantula and Martina cars were made up to 1993.

Marcos Mantara & LM200GTRS,400,500,600Edit

In 1992 Marcos left the kit car business and launched the Marcos Mantara that was sold through dealers in limited numbers. The Mantara was powered as standard by a 3.9 litre Rover V8 or a 4.6 as an optional extra. For a return to GT racing, a range of modified Mantaras was also produced in the LM (Le Mans) versions. In order to qualify as a production vehicle, road going cars were also made. Several version of the LM were made such as the LM400 (with a Rover 3.9 litre engine), LM500 (Rover 5 litre) and LM600 (with 6 litre Chevrolet small block V8). Only 30 road going LM cars were ever built and of these only one was a road going LM600.

Marcos Mantis and GTS Edit

In 1997 the Mantis name was re-used on a 2 seater coupé or convertible road car based on the LM series powered by a Ford Cobra V8 and capable of 170 mph (270 km/h). Due to the use of the new Cobra Engine the bonnet of the Mantis was significantly remodelled from the previous LM range (that used the Rover V8). The engine produced 370bhp. It cost £42000. In 1999 a 500 bhp (373 kW/507 PS) supercharged version was announced, capable of 0-60 in 3.7 seconds. 39 road going cars were produced in total. A race variant was created and used in GT racing, as well as Marcos own single type Mantis Challenge.

The Marcos GTS was a version of the new Mantis, but powered by 2 litre Rover engines. The top version was the 200 bhp (149 kW/203 PS) turbo version. The only one LM200GTRS was ordered in 1997 from Mr. Stavros Galanakis and delivered in 1998 in Greece as a present to his son , George St. Galanakis ( he was only 16 years old !!! ) and he customized it and modify it solving the serious Engineering problems.

Marcos Mantaray Edit

In 1998 the GTS evolved into the Marcos Mantaray, but now with 4.0 and 4.6 Rover V8 as well as the 2 litre Rovers. Only 11 were made with the 4.0 litre, and seven with the 4.6 litre engine. In fact only 17 were finished the 18th was sold in chassis/body only form[citation needed].

Marcos Marcasite Edit

In 2002, after a break in production caused by bankruptcy, a new company was launched to manufacture the Marcasite TS250 with a 2.5 litre 175 bhp (130 kW/177 PS) Ford V6 followed in 2003 by the 5 litre Rover V8 powered TS500.

Marcos TSO Edit

Main article: Marcos TSO

The Marcos TSO was launched in 2004 with a Chevrolet V8 engine in either 350 bhp (261 kW/355 PS) or 400 bhp (298 kW/406 PS) versions. The car's components were CAD designed in England and its chassis engineering was completed by Prodrive.

Also in 2004, the 5.7-litre Chevrolet Corvette (LS1) V8 TSO GT was announced, but solely for the Australian market. It was joined in 2005 by the GT2 for the European market.

In 2006 Marcos announced the TSO GTC, a modified version of the current TSO with a racing suspension, racing brakes and a rear diffuser. The car continues on with its Chevrolet-sourced 420 bhp (310 kW) V8, but there was also a 462 bhp (345 kW) Performance Pack available as well. With the extra power from the Performance Pack the TSO GTC accelerated to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.1 seconds and to 100 mph (160 km/h) in 8.5 seconds. With the bigger 340 mm (13 in) AP Racing brakes, the TSO GTC delivered a 0-100-0 time of 12.9 seconds, and the extra power allowed it to accelerate from 50 to 70 mph (110 km/h) in just 2.1 seconds. Its top speed was over 185 mph (298 km/h).

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Motorweek", Motor: page 53. date 10 July 1971. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Motorweek", Motor: 50–51. date 3 June 1972. 
  3. Marcos Engineering Appoints Administrator
  4. Marcos folds
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Charles Bulmer (Ed) (7 September 1968), "Group Test No. 7", Motor (nbr 3455): pages 29–35. 

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