The Marcos G.T.

SINCE its introduction last year by Jem Marsh and Frank Costin the Marcos G.T. has undergone a steady development programme although it has proved to be remarkably "bug" free. Much of the testing has been carried out on the race track with two different cars being driven by Bill Moss and Jem Marsh.

Many people have expressed concern over the strength of the wooden construction of the Marcos but it has now withstood a number of races and there are no signs of structural failure as yet. The wood used is marine plywood which is employed in different thicknesses of three-ply. The main construction consists of two torsion boxes which run the full length of the car and are made up from many individual pieces of plywood. A separate box is attached at the front-end and a steel frame is bolted in to take the front suspension. The wishbones, brakes and steering rack are all Triumph Herald components and at present Armstrong adjustable dampers are fitted, although non-adjustable ones will be fitted to production cars.

Most of the non-stressed parts of the body are glass-fibre mouldings, including the bonnet, boot lid and wings. The plywood parts have been impregnated with various resins and fire-resisting materials so that there is little risk of warping, peeling or fire damage. Much of the plywood is glued but aircraft Rivnuts are also used which eliminate the need to use wood screws in the construction.

The engine to be used on production models is the Ford 105E which will be supplied in standard form except for a four-branch manifold. The amount of tune is then left to the owner. A Nash Metropolitan rear axle is used as a large number of alternative ratios are available for this unit. It is rigidly located by parallel trailing arms and a long Panhard rod running almost the full width of the car. Springing is by coil springs and Armstrong damper units. The axle actually runs through the chassis/body unit and can be withdrawn from either side. A slot is cut in the body floor to duct cooling air to the differential.

The boot, which holds the spare wheel, petrol tank and battery, is moderately large and would take the luggage of two people for a fairly lengthy holiday, although there is no reason why a luggage rack should not be fitted. Access to the cockpit is gained by gull wing doors which are necessary because of the height of the torsion boxes running each side of the car. However, sports-car drivers will not find entry unduly awkward. The seats which form part of the stressed structure are on the narrow side but hold the driver in place for rcaing. The gear-lever from the Ford 105E gearbox is bent backwards and protrudes through the bulkhead, being very easy to operate. On the road the Marcos gives a really commendable ride, having an excellent balance for both touring and racing, and on the car raced by Jem Marsh with 1,172 Ford engine there were no rattles apparent.

On the car owned and raced by Bill Moss a new glass-fibre nosepiece has been fitted which fully encloses the front wheels and this will almost certainly be used on production models. This car is also fitted with a Cosworth tuned Ford 105E engine giving a genuine 74 b.h.p. which propels this 8 cwt. coupé at quite considerable speeds — 118 m.p.h. having been achieved on one occasion. With this sort of top speed and acceleration to match, a Lotus Elite has to be well driven to stay in front. Although these performances are impressive Jem Marsh feels that a large market does exist for an accelerative G.T. car selling for under £1,000. Although costing has not been finalised the Marcos will almost certainly be available for under £800 in kit form and due to the completeness of the chassis/ body unit the car could be completed in under a week. The Marcos G.T. may not be the best looking car in the world and the wooden construction has had to overcome a good deal of "consumer resistance" but it is a worthwhile newcomer to the ranks of "do it yourself" cars and deserves a good deal of respect.