Marcos Diary - Trials and tribulations of living with a 25 year old car!
Subj: 1989 Early Days.
Early impressions of the car follow.
The handling of the car is great, no other word for it. Traction
on 175's is impeccable and the car seems totally neutral through
corners (and roundabouts). I pushed it pretty hard through some
twists on the A31 and it never hinted at losing it's tail despite
those thin tyres.
Performance was a bit difficult to judge, since the exhaust was
still blowing quite severly from the joint of the manifold and the
downpipe, (I cured that with two new bolts and a lot of Mufflit assembly
paste!) but appeared reasonable up to 80 mph. Before the exhaust
fell off the performance had seemed better...
The other side of the coin were the continuing problems of buying
a 20 year old car. The speedo cable which I fitted snapped,
leaving me with a £23 bill for a replacement. A call to
Marcos suggested that the routing could be to blame, which, since
it snapped in the same place as the old one and I routed it the
same way, seems possible.
More dramatically (fortunately not TOO dramatically) the brakes
failed on the way home from my parentís home(within a mile of their house) and the car had to be bought home courtesy of Frizzell Road Rescue(arrived in 45 minutes and even helped me push the car around the
corner to park it!).This was caused by the brake servo being
insecurely fitted and rattling about, leading to the end of the
brake pipe being damaged and eventually leaking.
I took the Marcos to the factory in Westbury shortly afterwards to have someone who knows the cars check it over generally and more specifically prior toits MOT. The steering linkage had seized onto its rose-joints and had a lot of play in its UJs. The exhaust system was shot and wouldn't pass (the exhaust on the car is totally non-standard apparently) and the nearside suspension upright needed replacement. I did all this work myself (I'm no expert though) and the only problem I had was getting parts which haven't been touched for 20 years apart.
The journey to Westbury was the longest I'd taken in the car since
I bought it and despite the racket from the leaking exhaust system
it was highly enjoyable especially on the way back when I was less
concerned about the car's condition. The patch to the exhaust system
has managed to restore the car's power and it's overtaking prowess
is impressive even compared to the Renault I drove (and that was good).
Handling is very predictable and although the limits of grip must
be limited compared to modern tyres I've not found them yet!
An interesting fact arose while at the Marcos factory. My car was
kept by them for 4 or so years until a year ago. Aparently the then
owner put the car in for some work and went to Singapore! After
a couple of years Marcos' storage charges were as much as the car
was worth and they contacted him about collecting the car. More time passed and the owner hadn't collected the car so they sold it, to pay the cost of storage, to a dealer in Whitchurch.
I arrived a little early and a tall man in a Citroen BX estate arrived and wandered over to the car. He commented on how good it was to see a car on its original alloy wheels. I later found out I was talking to Jem Marsh! When the workshop opened up, the factory manager recognised the car from 20 yards without even being able to see the number plate. That quite impressed me!
What wasn't quite as impressive was their organisation. They seemed
to be in a state of panic all the while I was there, although they
may have had a good reason for it.
The factory was in the throes of building maybe half a dozen cars,
some coupes, but more convertibles. They had just finished a
convertible with leather upholstery and walnut dashboard which was
painted virtually the same colour as mine (probably was just without
the fading!) - This was later used as a show car.
I was tempted to put mine in as a deposit there and then! They did say, though, that the cream leather is murder to keep clean!