Marcos Diary - Trials and tribulations of living with a 25 year old car!
Subj: British Sportscar Day, Brooklands 1997
Sunday June 1st was British Sportscar Day at Brooklands.
Brooklands is something special if you have any kind of interest in motor
racing and the museum there is excellent at evoking the heydays of the 20s
and 30s. If someone invents time travel before I die, I'm going to travel
back to those days just to see the Bentleys,
Lagondas, MGs and Bugattis duelling on the giant oval. Even standing on the
shattered remains of the banking, you can hear the ghosts of Birkin and the
others thundering around from just behind that office building where the
banking used to go.
But on Sunday, June 1st it wasn't ghosts on the banking it was British
Sportscars. I've never attended this show before, because it usually falls
on Le Mans weekend, but thankfully they moved it this year and I booked my
place and set off with the Marcos on a glorious sunny morning with my
As we arrived at Brooklands perimeter, I started to have uneasy thoughts as
I saw a number of modern stands with current cars from all over the globe
on. Don't get me wrong, I think some current cars are brilliant, but this
wasn't what I expected. Luckily, though this turned out to be an
unconnected event organised by the famous Auto Trader magazine.
Once I found the right road I drove over to the museum area, where the
clubhouse, test-hill and banking remains are. I soon spotted a few familiar
looking vehicles (much as I love the E-Type shape, they are awfully
common...) and a helpful organiser directed me to the Marcos parking area,
which came as a bit of shock; I'm used to being the only Marcos at non-club
events. As I followed his instructions another owner flagged me down and
introduced himself and directed me to park up next to the large TVR stand
and his wooden chassised 1600 Ford engined car. The other side of his car
was 2 year old Mantara Spyder, so in 3 cars we were a fairly representative
history of the Marcos marque from the mid-60s until today and from the
wooden chassis to the latest, fully built supercars.
We wandered around, admiring the Piper stand with more cars than I ever
knew they built on, which was the other side of the Marcos pitch. We did a
quick tour of the museum (4 year olds tire quickly of such things) and
admired the genuine Le Mans Bentley with Brooklands racing history, the
half dozen Gordon Keebles (My daughter says I should buy one on the
strength of the Tortoise bonnet badge), the Aston DB4 prepared for the
Paris-Peking rally, complete with ski box on the roof and jacked-up
suspension, and the smart little Teals (essentially Bugatti replicas,
looking very at home here).
The really nice thing about this show was that it was a great mixture of
old and new. There were 20s and 30s cars, mixed in with the latest
offerings from Jaguar (XK8s) and MG (The neat little MGF) and everyone
seemed happy to be there as part of it. Undoubtedly, the weather helped as
the sun shone down and, although the day was windy, the banking and test
hill shielded one from it almost everywhere around the museum site.
The day was glorious and cars were taking a turn to run up the test hill,
which runs from 1 in 8 to 1 in 4, and then out onto a short stretch of the
remaining banking. Lauren and I walked around the banking and up to the top
of the test hill, just in time to see it being closed, so we returned to
the car and ate our picnic. After buying an ice cream and touring the
aircraft hanger, with its collection of Brooklands related aero-memoribilia
including that Wellington fished from Loch Ness a few years ago, which is
well into a restoration project lasting years, we saw them reopen the test
We rushed back to the car and joined the short queue to have a go. There
were a lot of cars at Brooklands, but there seemed more people than could
be explained merely by their occupants and a lot of them were gathered
around the test hill as the start marshall flagged us off. The Marcos rides
very low, so I was a little cautious at the points where the gradient
changes as it is quite pronounced, but the crowd appreciated the sight and
sound of the Marcos storming up the hill and even over the engine we could
hear the oohs and ahs... Lauren liked it too, citing it as the highlight of
her day and even telling school friends about it on Monday morning. Once we
crested the hill, we took the small twisty road onto the banking and had a
brief, but glorious blast of 200-300 yards back to the area where we were
parked. A TV crew were filming the day's activities, but as I don't know
who they worked for I doubt I'll ever know if we made the TV!
We finished off our picnic watching a few more cars blatting around the
banking and then set off home along the country lanes of Surrey. Lauren
fell asleep and I enjoyed a rare (these days) hour driving the Marcos. Oh
what a wonderful day....