Marcos Cars Range
Marcos GT Xylon,Luton Gullwing; Fastback GT, 1800 GT
|Manufacturer||Marcos Engineering Ltd.|
|Also called||Marcos 1600 Marcos 3-litre|
|Body style||2-door coupé|
|Engine||Volvo 1800 cc or 3000 cc Ford 1600 cc or 3000 cc and others at various times|
|Wheelbase||89.5 in (2,273 mm)|
|Length||160.25 in (4,070 mm)|
|Width||62.5 in (1,588 mm)|
|Height||42.5 in (1,080 mm)|
The first car, the Xylon, which had gullwing doors and a windscreen in four panels, was nicknamed the "Ugly Duckling". A total of nine, aimed at 750 Motor Club events, were built in 1959 and 1960.
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. 39 were made up to 1963.
In 1961 brothers Dennis Adams and Peter Adams started working with Marcos and introduced several changes to the original design. The Marcos Luton Gullwing and the Spyder were introduced in November 1961. This design was again reworked, becoming the Marcos Fastback GT, which was displayed at the London Racing Car Show in 1963. The chassis was fabricated from laminated 3 mm thin sheets of marine plywood, giving the cars a strong monocoque and low weight (the GT was internationally homologated with 475 kg), so they performed well in sportscar competition. Most early Marcos models competed in national and international events.
In 1964 the Marcos 1800 GT was introduced. Originally it used the 4-cylinder Volvo 1800 cc unit with overdrive gearbox and De Dion rear axle but in 1966 this changed to Ford engines of 1500 cc, 1600 cc and 1650 cc and a coil-sprung live rear axle, with another change In 1969 to the Ford Essex V4 engine from the Ford Corsair and Capri Mk1. In 1969 the plywood chassis was replaced by steel, which shortened production time and allowed use of 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 GT had a wheelbase of 1,956 millimetres (77.0 in) and a height of 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 increased nose-heaviness in comparison to the 4-cylinder variants.
Cars for the North Americas market had Volvo in-line 6 cyl 3 Ltr engines coupled to Borg-Warner automatic transmissions, tubular steel space frames, a higher ride height and no headlight covers, in order to get US road certification. Delays and problems, together with the development costs of the Mantis, led the company to close its doors for the first time.
The front-wheel drive Mini Marcos, designed by Malcolm Newell, was introduced in 1965. With a fibreglass monocoque body, Mini subframes and suspension, and a wheelbase of 80 inches (2,000 mm), it was powered by a transversely mounted Mini A-series engine driving the front wheels. A French-entered example came 15th and last in the 1966 Le Mans race, the only British car to finish.
When Marcos stopped making the car in about 1975, another company produced updated versions as the Midas. Cars were also made under licence in South Africa, Australia and Ireland.
Revived in 1991 for the Japanese market, production continued until 1995. A total of over 1300 Mini Marcos cars have been sold in kit form and as complete cars.
After the demise of Marcos Sales Limited, the Mini Marcos moulds were acquired by Marcos Heritage Spares, who relaunched the car in 2005 as the Marcos Heritage Mk. VI and Mk. VI GT.
In 1968 came the first Mantis, the Mantis XP. A racing car designed for the sportscar-prototype class, it was powered by a mid-mounted BRM-Repco V8. Like earlier Marcos cars it used a plywood monocoque chassis, albeit different from that of the GT. Only one car was made, and its only race was the 1968 1000 km event at Spa, where it retired with electrical problems in heavy rain. Originally Marcos intended to race it in the 1968 Le Mans, but that was postponed from June to September, and by then the car was in America, fitted with a Buick V8 engine (from which the Rover V8 engine was derived).
A full restoration of the XP was completed in 2008. Now based in America, it has visited the UK for the Marcos 50th anniversary celebrations and the Goodwood Festival of speed.
The next Mantis, the 4-seater M70, was launched in 1970 and had a fuel-injected 2.5-litre Triumph TR6 six-cylinder injected engine mated to a 4-speed gearbox. The promotional brochure says the styling "gives high all round visibility", and "a low centre of gravity together with an extremely wide track ensures superb roadholding. The luxurious interior seats four in comfort, and the boot, with a capacity of 10 cubic feet, makes the Mantis ideal for the man who is going places and wants to travel in style."
32 were sold before the company went into liquidation in 1972. Autotune acquired the moulds and produced a few more cars in the mid-1980s as the "Autotune Mirage".
Jem Marsh resurrected the Marcos brand in 1981, offering the previous GT cars as kits. Engine options included Ford's 3.0 Essex V6, 2.8 Cologne V6, 1600 Crossflow, 2.0 Pinto and 2.0 V4, plus Triumph's 2.0 and 2.5 straight six. About 130 kits were sold up to 1989.
Marcos Mantula, Spyder and Martina
In 1983 the Marcos Mantula was introduced, externally very similar to the old GT, but now powered by a 3.5-litre Rover V8 with a 5-speed gearbox. This alloy engine weighed less than the previous six-cylinder cast-iron units, reducing overall weight to about 900 kg and making the car competitive against other Rover-powered sports cars such as TVR and Morgan. The engine evolved into the Rover Vitesse Efi engine, and later Mantulas were fitted with the 3.9 Efi. In 1986 the model was made available as a convertible, the Marcos Spyder, which would outsell the coupés in later production. 1989 saw the introduction of independent rear suspension, together with the Ford Sierra's 7" differential and disk brakes. The improved suspension allowed a full-width boot and the relocation of the battery and heater/air conditioning. 170 coupés and 119 Spyders were produced.
Launched in 1991, the Marcos Martina was externally very similar to the Mantula, but with flared front wheel arches. It used the Ford Cortina's 2-litre four-cylinder engine, steering and suspension, and approximately 80 were produced. Originally available as kits or factory-built, the cars were all factory-built from 1992. Production of the Mantula and Martina ceased in 1993.
Marcos Mantara & LM200 GTRS,400,500,600
In 1992 Marcos left the kit car business and launched the Marcos Mantara that was sold through dealers in limited numbers. The main difference between the Mantara and the Mantula was the adoption of McPherson strut front suspension in place of the Triumph suspension, which in turn resulted in a wider front track, different bonnet, and flared front arches. 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
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 370 bhp (276 kW; 375 PS). It cost £42000. In 1999 a 500 bhp (373 kW; 507 PS) supercharged version was announced, capable of 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds. 18 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 and he customized it and modify it solving the serious Engineering problems.
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
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.
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).
Unfortunately only about 7 cars were produced before the company went into liquidation in October 2007.