RARE Car: Marcos 1600 GT
I honestly didn't know this car company even existed..:)
Cars that should be driven
They're all long gone. Pretty shame they didn't get the attention they
Name of the song is Bruce Springsteen & the E-street band - Racing in the
(I do not own any rights)
1967 Marcos 1600 GT - Sully Antique Car Show 2012
Thu Stubbs of Creative Auto Imaging interviews Dave Mensh with his 1967
Marcos 1600 GT at the 39th Annual Sully Antique Car Show on June 17, 2012
in Chantilly, VA.
In 1964, Marcos introduced a very attractive two-seater coupe which is
still being produced in modern times. Little changed from the initial
design and it has proved to be a timeless and alluring creation.
These coupes were created in an unusual fashion, using laminated plywood
for the chassis construction. GRP was used for the outer body panels. The
front seats were mounted to the rear bulkhead which meant they could not be
moved. To accommodate the different sizes of passengers, the foot pedals
could be adjusted to the correct length. A small wheel located under the
dash made the process a little less cumbersome, though highly unusual. The
1600 was powered by a Ford Cortina MK II GT engine which was capable of
carrying the car to a top speed of around 115 mph. This was a vast
improvement over the prior version of the car, the 1500. Zero-to-sixty for
the 1600 was in the 11 second range.
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
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. The new owners insisted
that production would continue, albeit, at least in the short term, only
for the UK market. 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": 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. The sale was occasioned by the company's
reorganization and move to a smaller factory.
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 re-launched 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 joined the company.
On 9 October 2007 it was announced that Marcos would cease car production
and go into voluntary liquidation.
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 thin
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.
My Marcos Mantula
My Marcos Mantula being driven at the Annual Marcos Curborough Sprint track
day in Lichfield in 2001 being driven by a previous owner Eddie. Glorious
sound and on the last run a whole 2 seconds clear of the competition !!!
The car is presently undergoing a full rebuild and can be followed at
Marcos V6 In Luxembourg
Following Mechanical Attention to the hydraulics, my dad test drives his
Marcos V6 round the hotel's underground car park whilst on tour in
Luxembourg! The car park was like a studio for photos and had superb
As a teaser for C&SC's forthcoming December issue (out next week!), here's
a video snippet of just one of the great classics it features.