Oi mate, did you know that…

“… 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.

Just in time for my trip to Belfast to meet up with old Marcos chum, previous LM owner & currently New York based Marcos constructor, Cazzer.

Farewell 2020

Well goodbye 2020. A year that, to borrow a phrase from our ex-colonial cousins… truly sucked 😠. Or in Britspeak, the year has been a tad underwhelming. Like many Marcos owners, 2020 will have seen my lowest annual mileage ever 😭. The silver lining? Lowest fuel costs ever. 😂

As we enter Lockdown 3 (in England) 😷😷😷 there have been some lovely crisp driving days over the last few months but unfortunately the Mantis hasn’t moved since it was dead in August 😔. The new Optima Yellow Top battery continues to show as fine & hold charge. Unfortunate I cannot find anyone local to entrust the car to to get fixed.

So… what else? After a very quiet 2020 in terms of car events, I have formally handed over the baton as Club Marcos International area organiser for the North West to Debbie & Darren Morrison. They are already on the case with emails going out & plans afoot for the Carfest North, which is great! A pleasure to see & just reinforces my conclusion that things were getting a bit stale under my stewardship & some new blood was required. The Morrisons are also much nicer people than me, know a lot more about Marcos, are experts on their own car & absolutely brimming with enthusiasm for all things Marcos. Basically it’s an upgrade all round!

Like a lot of Planet Earth currently, I am wondering what 2021 will bring. IBM have finally decided to ‘spin off’ Global Technical Services to concentrate on Cloud and AI, so that will be the end of an era this year. I may just about make my quarter century with IBM (May 2021) after which it’s a voyage into the unknown & that includes my company car allowance that keeps the Marcos Mantis on the road. (OK, well, technically incorrect but… you know what I mean).

Too late for Santa now but in hindsight I should have sent a letter up the chimney asking for;

  1. Standard cam to replace the thirsty/hot/bumpy Fast Road cam, plus a retune of the ECU
  2. Better engine cooling with a whole year of going without dramatic overheating & blasting coolant into the atmosphere
  3. New rubbers for the hood frame
  4. A new gasket to seal the rear brake LED light strip
  5. A new interior
  6. A new hood which actually keeps the rain out
  7. No more mice…
  8. A smooth run up to Scotland to revisit the fantastic scenery around Callendar

Tally-ho for 2021!

CMI rally, Longleat

Just back from a very enjoyable CMI rally at Longleat. Predictably I never made it into the house itself, although I had every intention of doing so; I was too busy catching up with a few people & of course recruiting for the Forum. Once again I waived my almost certain first place in the concours by allowing some more needy soul to enter in my stead. Now I never thought I’d say this, but I also spent a very enjoyable half hour in the back seat of a Bentley with Lord Marsh!!! Steady on you lot…  Jem is apparently putting a ‘coffee table’ book together at the request of Tony Stelliga, the new owner of Marcos, & took the trouble to show me the material he had collected so far. Despite not being a petrol-head, there was plenty of interesting stuff in there, even to the casual browser, but Jem is keen to source more material, which we agreed might be possible through a mailshot to all Forum members. I am to receive a mail with the appropriate wording & then we will see what turns up. Being a shallow type of chap, I am hoping some more shots of the 1997 Motorshow turn up, where Marcos launched the Mantis with two very ‘gifted’ models gratuitously draped all over it. Mmmm… In the meantime there is this video from Men & Motors at the time

The Clubbing scene

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.

Rallying cry

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!

CMI rally number one!

Club Marcos International Annual Rally! My first! This year at Castle Combe so we get to experience the GT Power Tour at the same time. I also get to meet other Marcos owners & check out some of the other models. Saturday is a bit of a dud as no-one else turns up at Lacock Abbey so me & the boy Roysty slink off to the accommodation after a heavy dose of culture but no other Marcos bods. Mind you, we checked out the abbey & Lacock village which was all rather picturesque. Amazingly things get much better when we hit the B&B,Manor Farm, highly recommended!!!. Great countryside (LOTS of twisting single track roads – and no cyclists… I think) & a nice welcome from the farmer/husband. Everything gets dumped at the farm including the car (lots of nice comments of course) & we make a beeline for the pub. The rest, as they say, is… er… hard to recall.

So, into Castle Combe circuit before 0900 on the Sunday where we are the 7th Marcos in the special parking area. This turns out to be a good thing as a couple of hours later there are 4 rows of them, and some tricky driving to be done by the late arrivers. I would’ve hit something, but then I haven’t been driving my Marcos for the last 20 years, so… I didn’t get to speak to everyone, but there was a nice mixture of people & everyone without exception was incredibly friendly. Some of them were mad, but friendly with it. I mean, who’d try & fit a 6.5 litre Chevvy engine in his Mantis ‘cos his GT wasn’t quick enough?!? (That would be Geoff then)

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