The Marcos Sports Car

                                             1968 Marcos Mantis XP                                                                          Seen at the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed

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                                          from Classic to Modern

The Early Marcos

     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

The Marcos GT 1800 and 1600

     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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Full Size

The Mini Marcos

     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
Production:                                             1965-1975
Output:                                                         700
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

                                                                                                                                                                    Full Size

The Marcos Mantis

     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
Production:                                           1970-1972
Output:                                                        32
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

                                             Marcos-Buick Mantis XP

                                                 Full Size                                                                                                                                              Full Size

                                                                                                                                                              Full Size

Marcos Reborn

     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.

The Marcos Mantula

     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

The Marcos Mantara

     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:                                                         

  • LM400 - using a Rover 3.9 litre engine  
  • Lm500 - using a Rover 5 litre engine
  • LM600 - using a Chevrolet 6 litre engine

     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

                                                                                                                                                               Full Size 

The Marcos Mantis

     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

                                                                                                                                                                  Full Size

The Marcos Mantaray

     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

                                                                                                                                                               Full Size

The Marcos TSO

     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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