19 September 2017

More than an old car #36: Marcos GT

Firstly, I'm really glad to have my first 100 Instagram followers ever since I started this page in late June. Thank you everyone for your undying support!! Despite writing about 36 cars only, it has come a long way regarding the content on my blog. I hope that it has been interesting so far to learn about the varieties available, and please continue to join me in my journey to cover pieces of automotive histories on our roads!

Even though I have seen UK-registered cars once in a while, I was initially stumped by what I saw because of its unrecognizable brand. It was only after running a quick check on the UK vehicle registration website that I became acquainted with the hitherto unknown 1969 Marcos GT 3-litre.

Marcos Engineering was established in 1959 by founders Jem Marsh and Frank Costin, and the name is derived from the first 3 letters of their surname. Quite an ingenious name for a company isn't it? They produced a number of cars including the GT before going into liquidation in 1972, due to a disastrous expansion attempt into the US. Jem Marsh resurrected the company in 1981 and cars were produced until 2000 when it went bankrupt again. For some reason Marsh reopened Marcos Engineering in 2002 yet again before it closed down in 2007. The Marcos name is still existing as Marcos Cars Ltd as of 2010.

In spite of its tumultuous history, the Marcos GT created a big sensation when it was revealed in 1964. It was initially made of plywood, and the chassis was glued together from 386 separate pieces. As a result, the car was not only light and strong, but also required minimum cost to make. The radical car design was due to Costin's experience as an aerospace engineer, who had a hand in developing fighter planes during World War 2. Since it was very low, the driver was almost lying flat while seated. One unique feature was that the seats were fixed, and the pedals could be shifted back and forth via a knob, which is the reverse of modern cars today. The 3-litre models were introduced in 1968, where it was powered by a 2994cc Ford Essex V6 engine. It was able to reach a top speed of 199km/h with an acceleration of 7.2 seconds [0-100km/h]. It was 4.27m long and weighed 884 kg.

Production ended in 1971 with around 200 made for the 3-litre versions. Interestingly, I stumbled upon an 
auction page showing the exact same car! Apparently, it was owned by a staff sergeant in the US Air Force who was stationed in the UK. The car was severely damaged when a Marcos engineer crashed it, and it had to be rebuilt. Now sporting a new registration number, the seller gave the car as a gift for his brother in Italy back in 1990. However, it returned to England in 2013, not driven at all. Somehow, someone in Singapore managed to acquire it and the car is still at the same place. This is the only one here, but whether it will be registered locally remains to be seen. Please take the opportunity to see this unicorn for yourself before it is gone! 


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