Marcos Diary - Trials and tribulations of living with a 25 year old car!
Subj: 1990 - Ups and Downs
I took the Marcos to a rolling road (Airey Rolling Road at Cheriton, Hants)early in September to sort out the very high fuel consumption which had occured since I had fitted a Pipercross airfilter. Mr Airey, who did the work, commented that he thought that the engine probably has a fast road cam as it produced power right up to 6k, whereas the standard engine only has power up to about 5k. He also commented that engine seemed to be about 10 bhp up on most 3 litre V6s (Fords anyway, I suspect the Alfa is a VERY different matter, not to mention the Ferrari!) giving about 110 bhp at the wheels once he'd sorted out the carburettor.
The day, as seems usual with the Beast, was not all good though. On the way to Cheriton I was travelling along the A31 when there was a loud clunk from the rear of the car and a scraping noise (like an exhaust scraping on the road). I stopped to check it out but found nothing out the ordinary as far as the exhausts were concerned, although one wheel did seem further out of the body than I'd remembered. Anyway, I carried on, but the noise continued. I began to suspect a bush had failed in the rear suspension (the MOT had highlighted them as cracked and worn), so I had the car tuned, but on the road test I braked from about 70 mph and found the car weaving all over the road (not nice!).
I drove the car home carefully and jacked it up and took off one of the rear wheels (by now one was about 3 inches outside the bodywork and the other 3 inside). I thought perhaps the bar which is bolted to the axle at one end and the chassis at the other (Panhard rod to the initiated!) might have pulled out of it's bush, but the truth was much worse.
The bar had indeed come adrift, but the reason it had done so was because the plate which it was attatched to on the chassis had been completely shattered. I suspect it was partly corroded through rust and that the force applied to the remaining healthy metal was just too much!.
Got a quote, from a mobile welder, for £50 to fix a new plate to the chassis and the car is fixed and back on the road again.I'd recommend anyone with a car which isn't running quite right to visit a rolling road. The V6 in the Beast has never run so smoothly or been so responsive (Before or since!). It even sounded 100% better!
The rear suspension was fixed, engine was tuned and now I'd had the radiator reconditioned and purchased a fan blade to fit the auxillary cooling fan fitted in front of the radiator (to help cooling in traffic).Both windscreen wipers now worked (the passenger one used to just flop aimlessly onto the wing after one wipe) after a visit to the GrandLondon Autojumble (only the name was grand in truth!). Chrome wiper arms are getting difficult to find and the teeth inside the arm had stripped off the old one. I've hunted around autojumbles at various shows but this was the first time I've seen suitable arms and at a £1 each I couldn't go wrong (typical black arm prices in Les Smith are £6-£8). One thing to watch is the price of things at Autojumbles.Second-hand wiper arms of the same type as I managed to purchase still in their packaging were selling for as much as £4.99 on another stall at the same autojumble!
The only problem was that the car wasn't taxed! With a house sale pending, I'd not got around to spending the money and it had given me the chance to do these little jobs that I really should have done months ago!
Shortly afterwards, I splashed out the 100 notes (or should I say little gold coloured coins) on the Beast's road fund licence and took it out for a spin to meet Goran Mitevski (he of the Mini Marcos in the pictures. He also owns a Lotus Europa and TVR S3).
Everything went well (the radiator never got remotely warm so we froze!) except that on the way to the Leather Bottle it ran extremely rough. I guess it was damp electrics, because it ran fine on the way home.