Featured: It’s Amazing How Small The Marcos World Is

It’s Amazing How Small The Marcos World Is

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
October 16, 2015
11 comments

Story and photography provided by Chris Scafario

As the Petrolicious tale of my Marcos GT suggests, Marcos Engineering was a small marque whose recognition peaked as the ’60s turned into the ’70s. Following Marcos’ initial collapse in 1972, the brand was all but forgotten by enthusiasts who never had experienced the four-wheeled narcotic that is the Marcos GT.

David Rattee of Poynton, England is definitely a Marcos enthusiast—he’s dedicated to documenting the whereabouts of the world’s 173, 3-liter Volvo-powered GTs. After he saw my story, he reached out with a treasure trove of information about my beloved car.

First, I recieved an email introducing David’s connection with the cars and how he became an acquaintance of Jem Marsh, one of the founders of Marcos, upon buying a used GT in 1976.

Given its rarity, David approached and was given permission by Jem to look at each 3-liter Volvo powered car’s build file and create a database which today, some 39 years later still goes strong.

My chassis #3v5640 first made it into David’s database on September 6th, 1977, after responding to an ad in the “Exchange & Mart”. Its mileage was 7,935, but as his accompanying photos suggest it was nobody’s cream puff. And how it got that way is quite the story…

The build file notes that my car was originally ordered in November 1969 by Ms. Penny Schumacher of #5 Windsor Tower, Tudor City, New York, as a Home Delivery Export car. 

This meant (what I can only imagine as the lovely Ms. Schumacher) could use the car for a limited time, tax-free in Europe before being required to ship it back to New York. wFor reasons unknown, Ms. Schumacher never shipped the Marcos to the States or made payments on its sales tax. As a result, it was impounded by British Customs where it likely spent years enduring the automotive equivalent of The Midnight Express.

Its next string of owners cycled rapidly starting in the winter of 1977, when Bridge Garage, Ltd. of London bought the car at a customs auction. The Garage quickly sold it to Mr. Jahl of Luton, England, who in a matter of months sold it to a Mr. Mac Hunter, London who was trying to flip the car for a third time when David Rattee went out to shoot photos to document its history.

It is here where our stories merge. Amazingly, my documentation begins almost immediately after David’s ended. The car was sold soon after his photo shoot, and its new owner painted it red, and sorted any of its wounded mechanics. Service records go on to suggest that the new owner toured Europe with it and eventually suffered a transmission failure while on holiday in Belgium.

Not long after that, Jim Gordon of Woodbridge, Connecticut entered the scene and negotiated the car’s purchase and shipment to the U.S. through a series of letters that the last owner, a man now in his ’80s, kept and gave to me, along with a host of other records when I bought the car in 2013.

In the weeks since David’s correspondence, the world has gotten a lot smaller. My GT has become less of an enigma, and I have now found myself daydreaming about the ups and downs of my car’s first 45 years…and I truly wonder what the next 45 years will bring for us? 

 

Join the Conversation
Related

11
Leave a Reply

11 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
Greg MorrisJim LevittLeander van GalenRay GreenJoe Green Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Greg Morris
Greg Morris

I see 2 yellow spotlights (fog lights I presume) in the air intake. Probably OK in UK but here in Oz we need all the cool air we can get into the radiator.
Anyway here’s some pics of my car.

160515 4 Gingin Marcos Car Club my rear.JPG
161006 RAAF Museum WA 18 WW2 Spitfire & 1970 Marcos V6 front low.JPG
160717 1 Marcos & Chinese Cracker side low.JPG
Greg Morris
Greg Morris

I found this on my Facebook (FB) page tucked down below a lot of other stuff. I presume Michael Broughton put Petrolicious on my FB page? Thanks MB? Ordered Nov. 1969; looks like a steel space frame model (must be one of the first) & has the Volvo 3 litre straight six like my friend here called Rob Bodkin. Strange, I thought that engine was not used till 1970; maybe not delivered till 1970? It’s left hand drive and automatic as originally supposed to go to New York but now changed to manual I see. Mmmh, thought it was a… Read more »

Jim Levitt
Jim Levitt

I had one at my house for a while in LA
I did not own it, a friend was a dealer and it always seemed to break down at my home. So in my garage it went for days/weeks at a time. I drove it once. Very tiny inside, a lot of British wood (if I recall), and not really anything I wanted to venture out in. I thought it was very ugly and odd then.
(I had my Mangusta then so no contest).

Leander van Galen
Leander van Galen

Dear petrolicious, dear mr Rattee

To help you with your documentation. My mom ownes a LHD red 1970 Marcos Mantula with a 3 liter volvo engine combined with a 3 speed auto. My parents purchased the car in England in 1993. It was originally delivered in Lake Tahoe, USA. The car is still enjoyed and been driven. If you would like some more info. Reach out to me.

Leander

Ray Green
Ray Green

Great story. I also own a 1970 3 litre Volvo (not the Avatar – that is the LM500 I drove in a demo…) which I have raced since I bought it in April 1991. (Chassis #5797)

Full restoration 1993/94 and January 2016 I finally retired from racing and the car is now due a tidy up. Probably the most raced Marcos Volvo 3 litre in the world as most people race the earlier 2 litre or the later V8s.

When I get time, I might well do my story…

Joe Green
Joe Green

I am so glad somebody has finally done an article on the Marcos.
The GT and Mantula are beautiful shapes
We own two now.
I would love for Petrolicious to do a video on the marque.

Rhys Jenkins
Rhys Jenkins

“Nice car I like the fact you have Kept it looking original” It is the earliest Volvo 3L I’ve ever seen… maybe the first They were not Marcos Engineering until the nineties

Chris Scafario
Chris Scafario

I wanted to thank everyone for their interest in my story and in what I have done with the Marcos… For the record, the car is now a 4 speed with electronic overdrive.

I would also be remiss if I did not thank Mike Cashen and Steve Lefever for taking the shots that by fate very similar to the ones taken back in 1977. – Drive Tastefulls!

Luis Fernandes
Luis Fernandes

To fit me would have to have a manual transmission, and would be perfect !

Scott Senior
Scott Senior

Gorgeous car.

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

“…negotiated the car’s purchase and shipment to the U.S. through a series of letters that the last owner, a man now in his ’80s, kept and gave to me…”
I wonder how much of the story would have been lost forever if all of this happened in the digital age of emails and disposable photography.