Marcos Visit 2002
Don picked me up at 9 at my relative’s house. After a quick coffee we set off, across the Oakland bridge, through Berkley and Oakland and onto Alamo.
Don’s smart, blue 3 litre Marcos (previously owned by the founder of Silicon Graphics) was running new AVO shocks which were set quite stiff, so we felt most of the bumps on the US highways/interstates, but the ride down to Alamo was completed in 1 hour, in which time we attracted lots of stares from passing traffic. A Marcos is a rare enough site in the UK, but a RHD one on US roads, seemed too much for some people.
Shortly before leaving Interstate 680, we spotted a yellow Marcos up ahead. The odds on that NOT being a Marcos Maniac on his way to see the XP would have had to be about 1 million to 1 and, sure enough, it turned out to be Mark Petrinovich’s 3 litre Volvo engined car.
Mark Petrinovich's Volvo 3 litre car heads away from us on I680.
As we pulled in, there sat the XP/Mantis.
Ned, his brother and wife were waiting.
First impression – Here it was!!! For real!
Great looking car, the long nose/short tail looking very modern, even 30+ years after it’s design
Mark looks on (in amazement?) at the XP - Photo Courtesy of Don Lattimer.
Some corrosion is present on the metal parts of the chassis and there’s some damage to the fibreglass (including on the nose where a Jackrabbit met it’s end!)
Tom arrived and told us of driving the car in LA traffic in the 70s. He recounted the time he was stopped (at about 80 mph) by a traffic cop, who’d spotted him a few days earlier at high speed. The policeman didn’t ticket him, but asked how fast he’d been going when he’d spotted the car on the previous occasion. Tom reckoned he’d probably been doing around 160mph!
Lots of the Morris's friends and neighbours arrived to see the car and hear it fired up, whilst we were there. Obviously word had got around and I don't think the car had been run since Dave McGill visited in 1995, which made it's enthusiasm to let us play all the more impressive.
The Morrises have an impressive collection of paperwork relating to the car, including the original bill of sale ($7000!), newspaper articles, numerous letters between themselves and Jem Marsh and a French motoring magazine with a picture of the car. Being California, everyone spoke some Spanish as a second language, so my - poor - schoolboy French was pressed into service to translate the caption.
The XP reveals its inner secrets - Photo Courtesy of Don Lattimer.