Saturday, August 22, 2015

Marcos GT - Series 1 (1964–72)

The Marco Marque came into existence in 1959 and was formed by Frank Costin and Jem Marsh. The Marcos GT is the name used by the British firm for all of their cars until the introduction of the Mantis in 1970. Most commonly, the name is used to describe the very low (43-inch tall) coupé designed by brothers Dennis and Peter Adams.

The car was first introduced as the Marcos 1800 in 1964, with a wooden chassis and a cast-iron four-cylinder Volvo P1800 engine, although later models (1500/ 1600/ 1650/ 2-litres/ 3-litres) had a steel chassis and commonly Ford engines although others were also available.

The entire nose portion, of a long and tapered design, was hinged at the front and was held down by latches behind the front wheel wells. While the car is extremely low and sometimes awkward to enter, it can still accommodate surprisingly tall drivers. The entire pedal set could be moved fore and aft with a knob on the dashboard. 

As was the intent with most Marcos products, the GT series saw much competition use. The original 1800 and other 1960s and 1970s Marcos are still competitive in both FIA and HSCC (UK) historic racing series.

After Marcos ran out of money the company was sold to Hebron & Medlock Bath Engineering in mid-1971. The car was out of production from 1972. Jem Marsh bought up spares and other parts at the liquidation sale and proceeded to run a company servicing existing Marcos, until he resumed production of small scale Marcos kits (Series 2) in 1981. (wikipedia)

Marcos 1800 GT (1964-66)

The original Marcos GT. Designed by Dennis and Peter Adams and built using glued 3mm marine plywood for the chassis and a fibreglass body. The Marcos 1800 was launched at the London Racing Car Show and entered production in the early 1960s and was originally powered by a four-cylinder, 1800cc, Volvo engine. Later changed to Ford power-plants in 1966. (

The 1800 is the only Marcos that is eligible for historic racing and as such is considerably more valuable today than later models. Although successful in competition, the rather expensive 1800 sold very slowly. Only 100 built. It was replaced by the Ford-engined 1500 in 1966. (wikipedia)

A few of the last cars built had the 2 litre Volvo B20 engine fitted,
as did some of the racing cars.

Marcos 1500/ 1650/ 1600 GT (1966-68)

In 1966 the GT was changed to a pushrod inline-four Ford Kent engine of 1500 cc, in order to lower costs as the 1800 had been rather too expensive to market. Power for the 1500 is 85 hp (63 kW). Under 100 cars were produced at Greenland Mills between 1966 and 1967.

The 1650 was based on the 1500, with the same wooden chassis, the 1650 was launched. It was fitted with the Chris Laurence 1650 engine, and around 20 cars were produced in 1967.

The 1600 was introduced as a result of Ford introducing the 1600 crossflow engine. This was virtually identical to the 1500 / 1650, with a few minor alterations. The new engine was capable of carrying the car to a top speed of around 115 mph, and was a vast improvement over the 1500. The 1600 Crossflow produces about 100 hp (75 kW). Zero-to-sixty was in the 11 second range. Of all the early series of cars, this proved to be one of the most popular with around 200 cars being built at Greenland Mills, Bradford on Avon between 1967 and 1969. The plywood chassis was placed in 1969 to steel, which reduced production time and allowed for large and more powerful engines. The cars were sporty, lightweight, and rather efficient. (wikipedia &

Marcos 3 litre GT (1968-72)

Production began in January 1969. Fitted with the double-carb Ford Essex V6 engine (3012E) and transmission from the Ford Zodiac. Max power is 140 bhp (104 kW) and aside from the badging, this car is most easily recognized by the large, central bonnet bulge necessary to clear the larger engine. All inline-sixes required a rather angular bulge right of center on the bonnet to clear the carburettors. Around this time, some V6 cars begun sporting single rectangular headlights (not on US-market cars).

The 3 litre has a four-speed manual with a Laycock-de-Normanville Overdrive for the third and fourth gears fitted. Later in 1969 the six-cylinder cars, as with their four-cylinder counterparts, received the new steel chassis.

In December 1969 twin-carburetted 3-litre Volvo B30 straight-six became available for the North Americas market. Automatic transmission. They sit on tubular steel space frames, have a higher ride height, and no headlight covers. The Volvo engine has 96 hp (72 kW), enough for a 116 mph (187 km/h) top speed and a 0-60 mph time of 8.2 seconds. 172 cars were produced. About 60 of them were for the US market. (wikipedia)

(Photos from,,,,,,, &

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