The Mighty Marcos

 

MarcosGT3

Marcos cars are rarely seen in North America, but that’s our loss. In its heyday, the company produced a small number of cars annually until production stopped for several years in 1971.  That still leaves us with models like the quirky but stylish GT 1800, and the pugnacious Marcos Mini.

The company was founded in 1959 by Jem Marsh, with co-owner Frank Costin soon to join.  The early cars, including the GT 1800 (above), were constructed with a wood frame (!), but later versions incorporated steel frames and used Volvo or Ford engines.  The design steals a bit from contemporaries like the Jaguar E-Type, but on a smaller scale.   Typical British sports car ingenuity. The company later resumed production but it always remained a niche player.

By contrast, the Mini (below, and at bottom) – which debuted in 1965 – is a tad brutish.  With its round edges pushed up in the boot and bonnet, the kit car lacks a little bit of the grace in other minis, such as those made by Morris and Cooper.  It is renown as the only British runner to finish the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1966. But the very rarity of the Marcos makes it worth a second look.

MarcosMini2

The Marcos GT. (Photo: S. Bloom)

MarcosMini

 

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