Marcos Diary - Trials and tribulations of living with a 25 year old car!

Subj: 1990 Mixed Experiences.

The early months of 1990 were, like most with the Marcos, mixed.

The retrim went well, but I think the trimmers managed to gouge through one of the countless layers of paint on the bonnet while it was done. Although the retrim isn't perfect, it is a vast improvement on the old interior and was very reasonable (the only real problem is that the suroof wouldn't come out without drilling out the screws - and possibly not being able to get it back in - and so the lining overlaps the rear fitting rather than going under it).

The car seemed fine until I tried to get it MOTed in May. It failed with a worn upper balljoint on one side and 'excess play in the wheelbearings' on the other. The first problem was easily fixed, but the second proved to be badly diagnosed and entailed a new steering rack! Now fitting a rack shouldn't be too difficult, but as the Marcos isn't built the same as a Herald there are 1 inch spacers in the rack which restrict the look and prevent the wheels rubbing on the chassis. So I had to take apart the old rack to get the spacers out and then disasemble the new one to fit them in, before reassembling it and fitting it to the car. Well that was eventually done and the car was returned to the MOT test centre (this some weeks after the initial test).

The old problems were successfully cured, but the steering column (which is actually lots of rods held together by UJs) was fouling the chassis, and the horn wasn't working. So, after spending the rest of that day at a wedding, the next morning I took the steering linkage apart and cleaned up the connections on the horn. SUCCESS! The car passed.

The afternoon saw the Marcos take its first off road excursion in my ownership. We decided to go to a hillclimb near Alton, and the car park was about mile up a dirt track, only negotiable by putting the wheels on the high bits either side of the ruts!

On the way home we were doing a steady speed (caution prevents me saying what!), when water started spraying over the passenger side of the windscreen! Obviously we hastily stopped and opened the bonnet. Everything was covered in water, but there was no sign of a hose coming adrift or the radiator having burst.

Revving the engine soon identified the culprit as a small split in the top of the radiator (where the filler joins the body) which has always been there, but obviously had suddenly worsened. I drove home fairly cautiously and the car never showed any sign of overheating. Some Plastic Padding Fix-leak (or something like that) seemed to have effected a suitable repair and the car was fine on a longish run the following weekend.

Meanwhile, I had also addressed the problem of the bonnet hinges. Basically the hinges consist of two metal tubes passing through two pieces of plywood, and after 20 years the plywood has ovaled out quite badly, so I cut out a larger hole in the wood and made up two spacers from softwood with an outer diameter to fit the new hole and an inner one to fit the tube. It worked really well as the bonnet didn't float around at speed and there was much less of a banging and crashing on bumpy roads, which a fellow Marcos owner had said was probably due to this problem.

The next duty which the Beast had to perform was to be our getaway car at our wedding...

Back Home Diary Page Forward