It’s Amazing How Small The Marcos World Is
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?