The questionable reliability of sports cars was put to the test this summer when the Marcos Club organised a “raid” to the Ferrari Factory in Italy.
Marcos cars built between 1965 and 1971 (three, 3-litre Volvos, 2 manual, 1 automatic, a 3 litre V6 Ford, Ford 1600 and Volvo 1800 model) made the journey in convoy across France and Switzerland. On the way it fascinating visit was made to the Schlumpf museum at Mulhouse and a joint meeting was held between the UK Club and Swiss Marcos Club at Brunnen on lake Luzern, with other Marcos cars in attendance from both countries and also Holland and Germany. Reaction to the Marcos from the locals was enthusiastic everywhere. though the lack of concentration from passing drivers caused us some consternation, especially when one ran into the back of another. Both were more interested in watching us than where they were going. At Ferrari not only did we see the engine assembly and car production, but to our delight the first stop on the tour of the factory was the Formula One Grand Prix car workshop. Work was going on preparing the cars for the German Grand Prix together with modifications to bodywork. The visit concluded with an inspection of Niki Lauda’s Championship car. His name has not been completely obliterated at Maranello, although only Carlos Reutemann posters were displayed.
The 2,500 miles were completed without any breakdowns and only a faulty voltage regulator (still under guarantee) caused a minor delay. All the cars ran warm and open sunroofs were the order of the day, but then we did encounter the hottest weather of this summer. The mountain passes in Switzerland were a challenge, particularly in the Susten Pass which still had high walls of snow on both sides of the road. Apart from a near multiple Marcos shunt on a twisting downhill section when the road was suddenly blocked by sheep, everything went smoothly. Petrol consumption varied with engine type, but one of the 3-litre Volvos, a 1971 model with recorded mileage of 65,000, returned an average 31 m.p.g. and used 1/4 pint of oil and this was with a 850-mile return leg from Fribourg in Switzerland to Leeds in 18 hours including two hours crawling in the Paris rush hour.
The secret of reliability in these supposedly temperamental sports cars would appear to be good maintenance and thorough preparation. We can thoroughly recommend Continental touring for groups of modern sports car enthusiasts for an enjoyable and interest-filled holiday. Leeds – DAVID RATTEE