Bizarrely I have recently ended up on the committee of the MOC (Marcos Owners Club), thanks to the urging of one of the other members, Larry Kilick (he of Mantis slaying fame, but also someone who has created a stunning car out of a bright yellow GT, with various engine improvements & a veerrrry cool steering yoke). I say bizarrely because CMI (Club Marcos International) has always been my favourite Marcos club, due to the much more active membership, and the excellent way it is run by Isobel, who is a prime candidate for sainthood if ever I met one… However the CMI ticks along very nicely thankyou, so it is the MOC which needs a bit of invigorating, and that, I think, is the general idea behind the new blood on the committee. Long term I think there is a legitimate arguement for amalgamating the two clubs, as there aren’t exactly thousands of members in each and we would have a lot more clout if we acted as a single organisation. On the other hand most owners I know are in both clubs anyway! A major obstacle of course is the various shenanigans which led to two separate clubs in the first place – I wasn’t around at the time (barely out of nappies!) but it would be nice to think that however badly people behaved all those years ago, eventually things could be reconciled & we could all go back to trying to support the marque as best we can. This easy for me to say of course as I am not the one who has slogged my guts out for years to keep the clubs going. Re-reading this it sounds a bit sanctimonious but hopefully you know what I mean.
Had the Marcos annual rallies last weekend. Alas on the Saturday I never made it to the MOC (Marcos Owners Club) day at Curborough sprint track due to a domestic hiccup, but I would only have embarassed all the other Mantis drivers anyway! The top two drives were Mantis, with the LMs close behind, then the rest of the Marcos hoi polloi. I also missed the big evening meal which sounded like good craic. Instead I set off early Sunday morning with wench en suite, and met up with lots of people at the hotel so we could get to the main rally site at Donnington in convoy. We looked great on the motorway, but then got a bit chopped up as we approached the circuit. Over sixty Marcos and lots of sun made for a pleasant day, but the racing was boring (I don’t think I appreciate racing much, do you?). On the way back we tagged along with another local Marcos owner in his nice Mantara, and had a delightful squirt along the Cheshire roads. The only downer was that I noticed the engine temperature was reading higher than normal, even doing about ninety, but it never went over 120 degrees & the fan was going so we carried on. Today on the way to work the same thing happened, but this time I stopped to have a look & got squirted in the face from a hole in the radiator, which is a bit of a bummer. Nursed the car back home & will baby it to the garage this weekend to have the radiator removed & sent off to a specialist. It was suspiciously easy to confirm that the radiator itself is from a Ford Scorpio V6, but of course there had to be a Marcos twist(!). It has special brackets welded on, so it looks like my best bet is to get the core replaced & keep the tanks top & bottom (assuming they are OK). Could possibly get a more efficient one made up (Serck?), but then need to get brackets done etc etc – all valuable driving time! Meanwhile I hope it rains steadily for a week so I don’t miss my car!
Whoa! Back from Le Mans almost a week now, and taking a little break from driving the car, as I’m all Mantis’d out! I’ve actually written this year up now (er, extensively), so just need to get some pictures dotted around the place – the 2003 Le Mans visit is all here.
It’s a funny old world! The Bridgestones have worn a fair bit, & I was thinking how nice it would be to replace them before Le Mans, but I can’t really afford it . I tried them because they were the tyre fitted to all the Mantis, including the GTs, by the factory, however they have not ‘wowed’ me. Mind you, Marcos fitted the SO2s & I was only able to source the SO3s, which do not seem to have been received as well (& by people a lot more knowledgeable than me!) So… Saturday saw the end-of-season bash with my Hockey side, which this year we spent at Heywood Races, where bizarrely I won a grand by betting on some chap because he was wearing our team colours (red/black)! Coo! Anyway, Saturday night saw some winnings back into the kitty (all drunk now!), but I have just got back from Blackpool where the rest of my ill gotten gains were blown on a new set of tyres! (Blown? Tyres? Geddi… oh never mind). I have decided to try some Goodyear F1 ZRs, which I got fitted by Performance Wheel Supplies, up in Blackpool. A bit if a trek, but most tyre people are buggers with your wheels, however this outfit seem to have a very good reputation with the TIPEC folks. I got a reasonable price I think & they were careful with my wheels, but for £650 I was a bit disappointed they didn’t throw in metal valve stems!
Things are pretty hectic on the car front at the moment. I am losing the company car next week (a BMW Compact I got off the used car list) & have lamentably come to the conclusion that ‘Man cannot live on Marcos alone’. Or at least, get to & from work/hockey in it. I have been agonising over a second car for the more moist moments in life (remember the Mantis luuuurves to aquaplane! And leaks too!), and having rejected ‘interesting’ cars like the Alfa 147 (reliability/service issues) may end up buying the beamer off the lease company. Alas this has coincided with a heft garage bill for the Marcos, so it’ll be Marmite & rice for supper until Christmas for me! I am pretty happy with the Mantis right now though, so the fat bill was worth it. Most of the work done has been to replace stuff that’s worn out, not broken. This is OK, ‘cos it was me that’s worn it out, driving round ‘n having fun!!! I now have my upgraded front brakes to 315mm AP Racing discs, and replacement back brakes, trialling the EBC Greenstuff pads all round. Upgraded polyeurethane front and back suspension bushes. 100W main beam lights, and Philips VisionPlus dipped lights. Even a boot light! (something that will be most appreciated 0300 hours at Le Mans this year!)
I hope the Mantis is pretty well ready for Le Mans now. Having got so many other Marcos to come along, I have no intention for me to be the one to break down! (At least, not first). Mind you, as we have all round Marcos guru Dave Chivers coming along, help should not be too far/too many beers away. Next on the list of ‘fiddling’ is to reposition the front numberplate so that it does not impede the airflow so much. I will try & post some ‘before & after’ pictures, as I know that’s what my adoring public want. Probably…
Well it’s been almost five months since I last wrote anything, so I must’ve crashed the car or the engine blew up or something, right? Wrong! I’ve had five months of glorious, trouble free Marcos motoring and it’s been fab, both for me and for anyone with shares in Shell, BP or Esso! I apologise to anyone who may have been checking this page for updates, and I really do appreciate your patience! I’ve got loads of photos to try & put up & some events to remenisce about, but no ‘guess what broke’ stories, sorry!
The other thing that has been taking up my time is the Marcos forum I set up last May! With over fifty members and thirty thousand visits so far I am delighted with it’s success and hope it’s proving useful to the various owners who use it.
I will update this page fully when I have my photos ready, and even complete my article on Le Mans 2002, particularly as we now have Le Mans 2003 all booked up!