Inspiration struck early this morning, & manually locking the driver’s door seems to have done the trick. This suggests the problem is with the door latch itself rather than the striker. (More hunting for parts on the Internet…). With the driver door locked (& staying locked!) it does mean that I have to enter & exit the car via the passenger door. Not the most gainly manoeuvre on my part, & probably quite entertaining for any spectators. However, it means that the driving can go ahead, so all good!
So after a substantial breakfast in central Belfast, we headed off in the Mantis & the AMG under a blue sky to drive the coastal route down to Portaferry.
We meet up with Cazzer’s chum from work who is in his heavily modified MR2 (the nicest customisation I have seen on an MR2), & head down the Strangford Lough scenic route in a mini convoy. The sun is still shining, skies are still blue & with the tide out the shoreline is constantly changing. All very picturesque, but the affects of the breakfast are starting to wear off (unbelievably) so there is a pit stop for coffee & cakes. The three cars dominate the cafe car park & there’s the inevitable ‘What is that?’ chat about the Marcos, which Caz kindly handles on my behalf. Caffeine & cakes done, we head back out. I still haven’t found a way to get into the car and look cool unfortunately.
Despite some nervous door waggling by me every few hundred yards, the locked driver’s door is holding up. A short stop at Mark’s house (awesome back yard, full of motorbikes a la Sons of Anarchy) then Cazzer & I head home for pizza & cocktails. Very sophisticated for an LM driver is Caz! In the meantime someone makes use of the car…
It’s been good to see Cazzer again, admire his blue Mercedes GT & see the sites of Belfast, which is a beautiful city. The original plan was to head out on the Saturday for a day’s driving. Unfortunately, despite my attempts to fix with JB Weld before setting out, the driver’s door opened several times whilst driving from the ferry to Cazz’s digs, so that required resolution before any day trips. A quick search for a new door striker latch from a local source in NI drew a blank. Therefore the focus was on repairing the current striker which was losing the black rubber sleeve around the bar. This meant the door latch was not fully engaging & the vibration from driving was eventually shaking it open.
A number of fixes were attempted, including bulking up the worn area with copper wire supported with epoxy resin, and some heroic 3D printing by Cazzer to produce ABS plastic sleeving to replace the worn rubber. Alas, the latch has made mincemeat of both, and a tentative trip up the coast road had to be aborted when the door opened coming off a roundabout. We returned to base for a rethink, door wedged shut with a repurposed sandwich packet covered in a microfiber cloth to protect the paint.
Some brainstorming prompted another trip to B&Q in the AMG GT (not bad for a shopping car!) with the tentative purchase of some bungees, rubber tubing, Gorilla tape & aluminium foil tape. The aluminium tape was an instant fail, failing to survive first contact with the latch. Due to the stripped down design of the door interior, The bungees did not have anything to clip to. Covering the latch bar with the rubber tubing & then protecting it with Gorilla tape has allowed the door to shut & latch engage, but destroys the tube/tape so this is a sacrificial fix. Only a test drive will establish whether it survives being on the road. Fingers crossed.
Very excited to be heading over to Belfast for a weekend of driving with long time Marcos chum Ian Turner (currently building his own Marcos in New York… I kid you not!). The weather forecast is decent so hood down all the way is the plan!
Currently waiting to board the Stena-Line ferry from Liverpool. It reminds me how much fun it was going to Le Mans. A few years ago now… Wonder when I will go back? In the meantime the sun is out (but cabin booked as a precaution). As the Mantis is low slung, I will be avoiding grounding it on the ferry ramp so in the queue with the caravans… and tractors!
“… you had a flat tyre?” So sayeth the nice Caterham owner at Knutsford Services this morning. Given it was inflated to 26 PSI earlier, this was not good news & spelled the end of my travelling down to the Stoneleigh Kit Car Show, but more importantly to attend the CMI AGM. I knew I had a slow puncture on the nearside rear but until now it has been fine for a few days by reinflating it. I hung around to meet up with the Morrisons in their now-awesomely prepped LM, but then headed back home, tail between legs. As you can see, it was a typical Manchester day with drizzle (but not enough to merit putting the hood up).
Very disappointed to have missed Stoneleigh after many years of absence. Looking on the bright side (a definite pre-requisite for owning a Marcos!), the Mantis was already booked into Diverse Automotive Technicians in Chorley on Tuesday for the Two Gates alloys to be refurbished, & now a pair of Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5s at the back.
A quiet first quarter with very few miles added to the clock, what with playing hockey, work & needing to go out on my bike more than a drive when the weather is sunny. It will be interesting to see how many miles I drive in the Mantis over 2022, given the last two year’s restrictions arising from Covid. However, things are moving (pun intended). I had a wonderful if rather random drive through the country lanes of Cheshire under clear blue skies & beautiful spring sunshine last Sunday with my son. Today I took the opportunity while having a few welcome days away from work to go out for a scenic drive through the Pennines to Chatsworth House, then back through Buxton & Macclesfield via the Cat & Fiddle. I invited my chum along who has a few interesting cars & who unbeknownst to me had bought an immaculate Daimler Double Six Vanden Plas last November. Whilst not my bag (it has a roof!) it’s a lovely 70s saloon and with 5.3 litres to draw on, didn’t have any problems keeping up with the Mantis (although the cornering was a bit interesting on the winding roads in the High Peaks). The Mantis drove well again, wasn’t too thirsty (good thing too at £1.85/litre for Unleaded. Grrr….) & I only got rained on for the last 10 minutes of a four hour expedition, so all in all, good fun!
Next up is a much-postponed (Covid – tsk!) get-together for Marcos owners in the North West, when we meet for Sunday lunch in Northwich. The weather is due to get a lot colder between now & then, & there has even been mention of snow, but unless they salt the roads or there is horizontal rain then I will go in the Marcos. I’ve also booked a ticket for the National Kit Car show at Stoneleigh, where this years Club Marcos International AGM will be held on 01-May-2022. Yes, yes, I know the Mantis isn’t a kit car (you knew that, right?!) but that seems to be the best bet in terms of catching up with other owners, after a famine of events over the last two years. I used to go to the Stoneleigh show & park up with the other Marcos on the CMI stand for a few years when I first got the car, but not been for ages so looking forward to seeing what it’s like.
Ridiculously mild weather at the end of 2021 has meant no salt on the roads, so a few trips out with the Marcos including to Northop Hall for the semi-annual hockey game. The post-cam change setup continues to delight & mpg is healthy (Averaging ~22 MPG)
Amazingly the next invite to the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace has arrived – this time for the Sunday. Bizarrely the Marcos Owners Club have also swung at invite to the equally prestigious Salon Prive event at Blenheim Palace which Sod’s Law says is on the same day. How fantastic to have been able to attend both events over the same weekend. Oh well! Maybe next year…
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.