Parts & Specs

History of Marcos


The company

Marcos was a British sports car manufacturer. The name was a combination of its founders Jem Marsh and Frank Costin. Marcos was founded in 1959 in Luton, Bedfordshire, England. Frank Costin had earlier worked on the De Havilland Mosquito fighter-bombers. With his experience in light weight building he got the idea to use plywood for the chassis. The newly founded company moved in 1963 to a converted mill in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. Marcos had a special and expensive factory built in 1971 in Westbury.
Marcos GT Gullwing Coupe, 1962
Marcos GT Gullwing Coupe, 1962

Partly due to this investment the company got into financial problems and went bankrupt in 1971. The brand was saved by the takeover of an investor, establishing the new company Marcos Ltd. It is not quite clear if any new cars have been built in the following years for the still present stock of Marcos cars probably was quite substantial.

Jem Marsh however bought back the rights of the Marcos name in 1976. This resulted in 1981 in the introduction of Marcos V6 Coupe. This car was sold as a kit.

Notwithstanding all efforts, Marcos went bankrupt again in 2000. The company was bought by a rich Canadian and production was resumed in 2002, in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England. Many staff of the near bankrupt TVR joined Marcos. In October 2007 it was announced that Marcos would suspend car production and go into voluntary liquidation.

Marcos models

Marcos 1000GT, Marcos Luton Gullwing; Marcos Fastback GT, Marcos 1800 GT In 1960 the first car, the 1960 Marcos GT, was introduced. Only 39 units were made of this car from 1960-1963. It was equipped with a choice of Ford engines varying from 997 cc to 1498 cc and had Standard 10 and Triumph Herald steering and suspension parts.

The Marcos Luton Gullwing, and the Spyder were introduced in November 1961. The Marcos Fastback GT, was shown to the public at the London Racing Car Show in 1963. The chassis were constructed of glued together sheets of 3 mm thin plywood. This gave the cars a very strong monocoque construction with the unbeatable low total weight of 475 kg. A total of 39 cars were produced of these early Marcos models.

In 1964 the Marcos 1800 GT was introduced. Originally this car was fitted with the robust 4-cylinder Volvo 1800 cc engine with overdrive and a De Dion rear axle. This constellation was changed in 1966 to a Ford engine of 1500 cc, 1600 cc or 1650 cc and a coil sprung live rear axle. In 1969 this changed again to the Ford V4 engine. In 1969 the GT changed from plywood chassis to a more conventional steel one. This shortened the production time and also made it possible to use more powerful 6-cylinder engines with a choice of 140 bhp (104 kW; 142 PS), 3-litre Ford Essex V6 engine (UK), 140 bhp (104 kW; 142 PS), 3-litre Volvo straight 6 or more rarely the Triumph 2.5-litre straight 6.

Mini Marcos

The small and light glass-fibre monocoque-bodied Mini Marcos was introduced in 1965. It remained in production until 1975. It was again launched in 1991 and was being produced up till 1995.

Marcos Mantis

Marcos introduced two cars named Mantis in 1968. A one-off racing car, the Marcos Mantis XP and the other was the 2+2 Mantis M70, powered by a 2.5-litre Triumph TR6 six-cylinder injected engine. The looks of the car was not well received by the public. Only 32 were sold.
Marcos Mantula V8 Coupe, 1985
Marcos Mantula V8 Coupe, 1985

Marcos Mantula, Spider and Martina

The Marcos Mantula was introduced in 1984. The company was now again under the original founder, Jem Marsh. The Mantula looked very much like the old GT, but it was now equipped with a 3.5-litre Rover V8 engine and 5-speed gearbox. This lighter alloy Rover engine rather than the old six-cylinder cast-iron engines, made the Marcos Mantula a serious competitor to sports cars like the TVR and the Morgan.

The Marcos Martina resembled the Mantula very much. Its technical constellation however differed considerably. A 2-litre four-cylinder Ford Cortina engine was mounted and the steering and suspension parts and components were used from the same car. In 1986 the Mantula also became available as a spyder. The Marcos Mantula and the Marcos Martina have been produced up to 1993.

Marcos Mantara, the LM200GTRS, 400, 500, 600

The Marcos Mantara was introduced in 1992. It was sold in limited numbers through dealers. The Mantara was powered by a 3.9-litre Rover V8 in standard edition. Optionally a 4.6 engine was available. A modified Mantara was also produced for the Le Mans race. This was the LM version. Several version of the LM were made such as the LM400 (with a Rover 3.9-litre engine), LM500 (Rover 5-litre) and LM600 (with 6-litre Chevrolet small-block V8). Only a total of 30 street version LM cars were ever built, and of these only one was a LM600.

Marcos Mantis and GTS

The Mantis name was used again in 1997 for a 2-seater coupé or convertible car. This car was a derivative of the LM series. It was provided with a Ford Cobra V8 engine and could reach a speed of 170 mph (270 km/h). The bonnet of the Mantis was remodeled significantly because of the Ford Cobra engine. This engine produced 370 bhp (276 kW; 375 PS). A new turbocharged version was presented in 1999. This 500 bhp (373 kW; 507 PS) engine was capable of 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Only 18 street version cars were produced.

The Marcos GTS was a version of the new Mantis, but equipped with 2-litre Rover engines. The most expensive version was the 200 bhp (149 kW; 203 PS) turbo version. The only one was ordered in 1997 by a Greek. It was delivered in 1998 in Greece as a present to his son George Stavros Galanakis. He customized it and modified it solving several serious technical problems.

Marcos Mantaray

The successor of the GTS was the further developed Marcos Mantaray. It appeared in 1998. It was now fitted with 4.0 and 4.6 Rover V8 engines as well as the 2-litre Rover engine. Only 11 were made with the 4.0-litre, and seven with the 4.6-litre engine. In fact only 17 were finished; the whereabouts of the 18th car are unknown.

Marcos Marcasite

There was a pause in production due to bankruptcy. A new company was launched to manufacture the Marcasite. This car appeared in 2002. The Marcasite TS250 was powered by a 2.5-litre 175 bhp (130 kW; 177 PS) Ford V6 engine. In 2003 this engine was succeeded by the 5-litre Rover V8 engine. This version of the Marcos Marcasite received the denotation TS50