1968 Marcos Mantis XP Seen at the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed
from Classic to Modern
The Marcos sports car. The company was founded in North Wales in 1959, and its first sports car, called the Xylon, had gullwing doors, a high roof, and a split windscreen.
It was given the nickname "Ugly Duckling", and was powered by Ford 1 litre and 1.2 litre engines.
Targeted at competition events, only nine were built between 1959 and 1960. Production models were built up to 1963. It achieved racing success when driven by Jackie Stewart, and others.
In 1961, there were design changes to the original car, making it sleeker and more attractive. The plywood chassis and gullwing doors were kept, and the car was now renamed the Marcos Luton Gullwing sports car.
A total of thirteen were built. It was mostly used for racing. A convertible version, known as the Spyder, was launched with the gullwing doors removed.
Technical Data Xylon Luton Gullwing
Production: 1959-1963 1961
Output: 39 13
Engine: cc 997 997
Cylinder, bhp 4, 60 4, 60
Top Speed: mph - 98
Time to 60 mph: secs - 10.7
The Marcos Gullwing Image
In 1964, the Marcos GT 1800 sports car made its debut at the London Racing Car Show. Presented as a road car, it was well received. It retained a wooden chassis, which was encased in a glass fibre shell.
It originally used a 1.8 litre, 4-cylinder, Volvo engine. However, in 1966, this was replaced by a range of Ford engines, from 1.5 to 1.65 litres. Finally, in 1969, a Ford V4 unit was used.
In 1969, the plywood chassis was replaced with one made of steel. This allowed more powerful engines to be used, such as the 3 litre, Ford V6, or the 3 litre, Volvo straight 6-cylinder.
Cars exported to the US used the Volvo engine to cover exhaust emission regulations.
Technical Data GT 1800 GT 1600 GT 3-Litre
Production 1964-1966 1966-1969 1969-1972
Output 99 - -
Engine: cc 1778 1599 2979
Cylinder, bhp 4, 114 4, 100 6, 140
Top Speed: mph 115 120 125
Time to 60 mph: secs 9.1 7.9 7.2
1971 Marcos 3-Litre GT This desirable but somewhat rare machine was spotted during the London to Brighton Classic Car Run in 2015
1968 Marcos 1600 Seen at Motorsport Day at Crystal Palace
1967 Marcos 1600GT
Marcos GT Image
Marcos 1800 GT Image
In 1965, the Mini Marcos sports car was launched. It had a glass fibre body, and used the sub frame and A-Series transverse engine from the Mini to produce an affordable sports car.
It was successful on the race circuits, and was the sole British entry to finish the 1966 Le Mans race. It was sold as both a production and kit car.
Technical Data Mini Marcos
Engine: cc 848
Four Cylinder, bhp 4, 34
Top Speed: mph 75
Time to 60 mph: secs 15
1980 Mini Marcos Mk. IV Image
Mini Marcos Image
In 1968, the Marcos Mantis XP was introduced. It was, in fact, a racing car powered by a mid engine BRM V8. Only one car was made.
In 1970, the Marcos Mantis M70 sports car was launched. It was a 2+2 sports car powered by a 2.5 litre, fuel injected, 6-cylinder, Triumph TR6 engine. The luxurious interior seated four in comfort.
Marcos went into receivership in 1972.
Technical Data Mantis M70
Engine: cc 2498
Four Cylinder, bhp 6, 150
Top Speed: mph 125
Time to 60 mph: secs 8.0
Marcos Mantis Image
Marcos Mantis Image
Marcos Mantis M70 Image
Marcos Mantis XP Image
Full Size Full Size
In 1981, Marcos re-emerged from receivership.
Since 1964, the Marcos GT 1800 sports car was marketed in kit form.
A range of engines was available, including the Ford 3 litre V6, 2.8 litre V6 and 2 litre V4, as well as the Triumph 2 litre, and 2.5 litre, straight six.
Up to 1989, there were about 130 kits sold.
In 1983, the Marcos Mantula sports car was launched. It was based on the Marcos 1800 GT from 1964, but with a body desighed to be more aerodynamic.
It was powered by the more powerful and lighter Rover 3.5 litre V8 engine.
Its light weight made it a match for other Rover V8 powered cars, such as the TVR and Morgan.
Later Mantulas were powered by the Rover 3.9 litre engine.
In 1986, a convertible version, called the Marcos Spyder, was introduced, powered by the Rover 3.5 litre V8 engine. It would eventually outsell the coupe versions. Some 170 coupes and 119 Spyders were built.
In 1991, the Marcos Martina was launched.
Looking very similar to the Mantula, it was a lower cost version, and used the Ford Cortina, 2 litre, 4-cylinder engine. Nearly all were kit cars. Some 80 Martinas were built.
Technical Data Mantula Spyder
Production: 1983-1986 1986-1991
Output: 170 119
Engine: cc 3946 3532
Cylinder, bhp 8, 173 8, 190
Top Speed: mph 143 147
Time to 60 mph: secs 5.4 5.0
1986 Marcos Mantula Spyder
Marcos Mantula Image
Marcos Mantula Image
Full Size Full Size
In 1992, Marcos decided to leave the kit car market.
That same year, the Marcos Mantara sports car was launched. It was powered by a 3.9 litre, Rover V8 engine, although a 4.6 litre unit was offered as an option.
There was little difference between the Mantara and Mantula.
With the return of Marcos to GT racing, a range of modified Mantaras was produced as LM (Le Mans) versions, including:
Road going LM cars built numbered about 30.
Technical Data LM400 LM500 LM600
Production 1992-1997 1994-1998 1994-1998
Engine: cc 3947 4995 6130
Cylinder, bhp 8, 190 8, 450 8, 530
Top Speed: mph 140 168 169
Time to 60 mph: secs 5.4 4.6 3.3
1994 Marcos Mantara An up-close shot of this 3.9 litre, 190 bhp Rover V8 powered Marcos with a top of 131 mph and 0-60 in 6.0 secs. It was also used on the track as the LM400 (4l), LM500 (5l) and LM600 (6l) variants. Very nice
Marcos Mantara Image
1995 Marcos LM600
Marcos LM600 Image
In 1997, the Marcos Mantis sports car was launched. It was offered as a two seat convertible, and a fixed head coupe based on the LM series of Mantaras.
The Mantis was powered by the four cam, V8, Ford Cobra engine, developing 370 bhp.
In 1999, a 500 bhp supercharged version became available.
The Marcos GTS, a version of the Mantis, introduced in 1997, was powered by a 2 litre, Rover engine.
An alternative version of the GTS was the Marcos GTS Turbo, of which only one was built in 1997.
Technical Data Mantis Supercharged GTS GTS Turbo
Production 1997-1998 1999 1997 1997
Engine: cc 4601 4601 1994 1994
Cylinder, bhp 8, 370 8, 500 4, 134 4, 197
Top Speed: mph 170 170 129 135
Time to 60 mph: secs 4.2 3.7 8.2 6.1
In 1998, the Marcos GTS was further developed to produce the Marcos Mantaray.
It was powered by one of three Rover options: 2 litre, and 4 litre or 4.6 litre V8 units. Only 17 were ever built.
Technical Data 2-Litre 4-Litre 4.6-Litre
Production 1998 1998 1998
Engine: cc 1994 3947 4601
Cylinder, bhp 4, 135 8, 230 8, 290
Top Speed: mph 135 150 150
Time to 60 mph: secs 5.9 5.0 4.8
In 2004, the Marcos TSO was launched, powered by a Chevrolet 5.7 litre V8 engine, as used in the Corvette, which developed either 350 bhp or 400 bhp, depending on tuning.
Although it was marketed solely for the Australian market, in 2005, the GT2 variant was introduced for the European market.
In 2006, the Marcos TSO GTC was introduced in which competition suspension and brakes plus a rear diffuser were added to the original TSO. The Chevrolet V8 engine now developed 420 bhp, but when the Performance Pack was added, the output increased to 462 bhp.
This modification produced a top speed of 185 mph, 0-60 mph in 4.1 secs, 0-100 in 8.5 secs, and 0-100-0 mph in 12.9 secs.
Unfortunately, only 7 units of the TSO were ever built prior to the company, for the last time, going into receivership.
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Marcos Sports Car