A fantastic weekend at the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace. Marcos were invited to provide 10 cars as part of the car club displays. Hampton Court Palace is an amazing place so took the opportunity to take my daughter along so we could look round in between ogling cars.
We met with other Marcos owners at Knutsford Services on Friday morning; Debbie & Darren in their lovely LM500, and Andy & Lorraine Peers is his latest (fourth?) Marcos, a nice blue LM500. A chum of mine was also joining us in his rather splendid Jensen Interceptor MK 3. The cars managed to stay together for 99% of the journey into London, bar an unplanned random diversion instigated by yours truely for a can-be – postponed-no-longer comfort break ☺️.
Come Saturday morning we met with the seven other other Marcos owners at 0930 in the holding area by Stud Gate in the Palace park.
Bar some very limited drizzle on the journey south, it was a top down weekend. The car behaved faultlessly over the 500 miles covered.
After 15 plus years of holidaying in Abersoch & seeing lots of Mclarens, Lambos and, er, Defenders, I finally got to take the Mantis over there! ️ It was just for the weekend but top down there & back, weather was decent. I even got to park in my chums drive. (often home to some expensive motors…)
The Mantis was finally used for a wedding… after 20 years! 藍 Transporting the disappointingly relaxed groom to his fate. Just to be clear, he was the passenger. I haven’t rushed into anything yet, dear friends.
Carfest North for the first time. I’ve always baulked at the ticket prices previously but with so many car events cancelled due to Covid, felt I should show willing (See what I did there? ) . I still wasn’t shelling out £150+ for camping though!
A somewhat peculiar experience with only three car clubs attending; Marcos, Maserati & Lotus. Unbelievably we had the most cars at six. (Sunday, one lone Lotus was present. I felt for the owner ). Talking to the car club organiser, Debbie, around 20 clubs dropped out in the weeks before the show due to Covid concerns. As it was, it felt more like a Foodie festival with bands & some cars than a car event. Not a bad thing, mind… I like food!
Everything was going fine until I popped the bonnet & then found it could not be closed without rubbing on the pedal/heater boxes, whilst also grinding away at the bonnet rams & rubbing through the DRL wiring. Yikes! Having just got back from Jay’s & a sizeable bill, this was rather unexpected. Despite much head scratching from the other (far more hands on) Marcos owners & a bit of ‘bending stuff’ no-one could figure out what was causing the issue. Bizarre.
Fortunately some nice fellows from Black Storm brewery had stopped to chat about the car first thing, & invited me over to their stall for a beer. This cheered me up (I recommend the Pilsner) & I bagged a lift home with the ever generous Morrisons to avoid driving & making things worse. Sunday back at the show trying to figure out what had happened to shift the bonnet forward. A group effort from all the owners failed to reveal the cause so headed home with tape over the most obvious rubbing points.
Verdict? Glad to have attended a Carfest. Hacked off about the bonnet of course , however…. weather was fab, top down, nice Cheshire countryside to drive through. And cars can be fixed. Plus I have bought another case of Black Storm Pilsner. I will catch up with Jay next week. In the meantime… Cheers!
This morning I am excited to be getting the train down to Lewes to pick up the Mantis from Chariots. The train journey passes quickly & it is not long before we are back at the ranch. Jay is taking me through the work he has done:
Cam change from fast road to standard, retune, refurbished pedal box including completely new fuse boxes, extended flanges on the hood, rewired cooling fans with a trigger temp lowered about 5 degrees.
As ever, the car looks great, a thorough job done by Jay, & I am raring to drive the circa 260 miles home. I completely ignore Jay’s recommended route (he drives people for a living, what would he know?) & spend about 7 hours getting home. But I really don’t mind because… Car drives really smoothly after the cam change & retune. The cooling is better with the M25 coming & going without an anxiety attack. Yay!
Today I headed down to Chariots, 250 miles away to get various things sorted out. Top of the list was the cooling fans & anything else related to keeping the engine temperature down. Also I have bitten the bullet & the fast road cam originally added when the LS3 was fitted and pushed the car past 500BHP is going, to be replaced by the standard cam. That will come along with an ECU retune of course. Whilst it was fun to have the 500BHP bragging rights, I never really had the chance to drive it in a way which really utilised the extra power. The fast road cam doesn’t even get out of bed below 2500 RPM & realistically the majority of my driving in our wonderful UK traffic meant I rarely hit that threshold. I am putting it all down to experience – it was fun but I’m looking forward to a more drivable (& less thirsty!) car. Definitely pleased I gave it a go though. I think that just leaves Jay’s converted Challenge car as the only road legal Marcos Mantis with over 500BHP.
Also on the hit list is a somewhat overdue refurbishment of the pedal box. This has been slowly suffering from moisture ingress over the last 24 years plus some organic growth & get-me-back-on-the-road fixes to the electrics & fuses.
Other stuff… the chassis protection from a couple of years ago is flagging in a couple of spots so that will be refreshed. I had asked for the hood seal rubbers to be replaced as part of my futile battle to make the car vaguely waterproof with the hood up (don’t know why I bother, much more fun with the hood down!). However, Jay had some great ideas about replacing the flange on the hood that should form a seal with the window. It’s about 0.75″ at the moment & will be replaced with a much deeper version. I’ll be delighted if this works as I’d assumed any changes to the hood meant a complete new hood. Fingers crossed…
As ever it was great to catch up with Jay. His place is like an Aladdin’s cave of interesting cars & I was particularly impressed with the bright red London double decker bus. Cool! I also got to see the vent covers that he has fitted onto his ex-Challenge Mantis, courtesy of Eurotech. These are the ones used on the race cars & they look mighty mean!
The drive down was OK & no issues with the car overheating (Hurrah). Coming back on the train was a bit weird with Covid, but even the Tube wasn’t that crowded so I felt pretty safe all the way. I will be counting the days until I pick the Mantis up…
Well the Mantis managed two local journeys before something went wrong. Coolant temperature went above 120 degrees C. No fans. Fortunately this was not far from home & got back. Ran the car today on the drive & it did the same thing. Fan fuse is fine so f**k knows.
The emotional rollercoaster that is Marcos ownership continues.
… as Canned Heat once sang. And all for the princely sum of £1.17.
A couple of nice drives out into Cheshire. I must have been spotted by ‘The Man’ because it’s been absolutely belting down for the last 6 days, & even when there’s a lull in the downpour the roads are pretty slippy so am resisting temptation. However, sunny days are round the corner…
Sooooo… We are into February & the Marcos Mantis is still, alas, dead. I confess to being at somewhat of a loss as to who to give the car to in order to get it fixed. Bring back Eddie from Cross Street Motors! (Actually, shame I don’t have his number as he won’t have been able to play golf for most of last year due to Lockdown so should have had a lot of time on his hands). Oh well! So long as the car is working for September. Why September I hear you ask? Because I will be taking the car down to display in the hoi polloi section of the Concours of Elegance in the gardens at Hampton Court Palace. One of only 10 Marcos cars invited no less! It would, therefore, be jolly nice if the car could actually move by then.