Obituary: DMK Marendaz

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Captain Donald Marendaz, who had watched the Hon CS Rolls inflating his balloons opposite his school in Monouth, went on to make his name with specialised sportscars distinguished by their Bentley-like radiators and external exhaust pipes, which he drove in races, as he did Graham Paige cars at Brooklands and in successful record-bids there and at Montlhery.

During the war Marendaz flew with the RFC in France, notably in AW Scouts, and after the war he went into partnership with Seelhaft to make the assembled Marseel light-cars, which he renamed Marseal after Seelhaft had left, before he turned to making sports cars, racing these at Brooklands, where he was a competitor for many years. His secretary, Miss Dorothy Summers, also raced Marendaz Special cars. Marendaz made these first at Kennington, taking part of the taxi-garage there, and then at Maidenhead.

Production lasted until 1936, Marendaz Specials being notable for handsome lines, good brakes, and side-valve American engines in most models. Capt Marendaz then turned to making light aeroplanes, at Barton-on-the-Clay, but only one Marendaz Trainer was completed, which first flew in 1939 and was given to the ATC, the MkIII Marendaz four-seater monoplane was destroyed by fire in the Maidenhead factory in 1937 and the second was never completed.

After going out to Africa Marendaz returned to this country and staunchly defended his cars against any critics. With his death at the age of 91 another link with the pre-war industry and Brooklands has been lost and the Captain will be remembered as one of the few who built cars bearing their own name, designed for the enjoyment of enthusiasts. WB