This firms started in the dim and distant days when small-output manufacturers were thick on the ground. They have weathered the storms that sank most of their rivals and have achieved the stability of finance and production that is essential nowadays for survival.The Marcos enterprise has been headed from its inception by Jem Marsh, a man who bears comparison with Colin Chapman in that he is a combination of designer, development driver and businessman.
This firms started in the dim and distant days when small-output manufacturers were thick on the ground. They have weathered the storms that sank most of their rivals and have achieved the stability of finance and production that is essential nowadays for survival.The Marcos enterprise has been headed from its inception by Jem Marsh, a man who bears comparison with Colin Chapman in that he is a combination of designer, development driver and businessman. TVR, conversely, has passed through many hands and taught not a few sharp lessons in the economics of car building, under the guidance of Martin Lillev.
Just as the engine and transmissions are Ford products, so the vast majority of the rest of the running gear comes from volumeproduced cars; an owner's major difficulty might be to identify a given component's source. Damage to the glassfibre bodywork should present no repair snags to specialist garages either, since the makers supply replacement panels that can be grafted into afflicted areas. The chassis frames, welded up in each case from mild steel tube, should be similarly easy to repair and maintain.
Marcos have followed similar policies, sticking to one basic model on which the changes can be rung as necessary without disrupting production. Thus the Marcos, while best known today in Britain in the three-litre form under evaluation here, can also be had with a Ford V4 two litre engine or, primarily for export markets there exhaust emission control is required, the Volvo 164 three-litre six-cylinder inline unit. All three versions look very much alike. Indeed, the basic Marcos shape has changed only in detail since the firm first sloughed off the original, ugly gullwing body and took up the Adams design.
Marcos also has a multi-tube frame nowadays, having soldiered on for years with the original stapled and glued plywood structure, only to be forced into dropping it for reasons of economy just when the public seemed finally convinced of its worth. The frame, like the TVR's, is practical rather than scientific. It relies mainly on sturdy rectangular-section tube and is a compromise between the pure backbone and layout of the TVR and the high-sided setup normal in a track car, leaving depth enough at the cockpit sides for reasonably large doors.
The suspension is simpler, using the usual double wishbone arrangement at the front in conjunction with a live rear axle on leading arms and a Panhard rod for lateral location. This car, regrettably, are saddled with the accompanying Ford gearbox with its notoriously low second ratio.
The Marcos is the worse offender, being as long as a saloon yet an uncompromising two-seater. The initial foot or so of drooping snout is there for nothing more than styling and penetration. The engine has perforce to live in the elongated cavity necessary for the Volvo inline six. Advantage of this has been taken to site the Ford unit well back in the chassis in the interests of weight distribution.
Surprisingly, the rest of the underbonnet space is fully taken up by the ancillaries, plus two footwells projecting in from the cockpit. The cockpit itself is intimate, not to say claustrophobic. As usual in such cars there is a problem with stowage for odds and ends. The facia locker is rather small, but there are two shelvesone atop the scuttle, under the steeply raked and curiously veed windscreen, the other beneath the back window. Articles placed on either are likely to be grilled on a warm day and are free to slide around. The rear shelf is also extra- ordinarily inaccessible. These areas apart, one is reduced to leaving odds and ends on the floor.
The boot is not so roomy as it looks, partly because it shares its space with a poorly protected fuel tank and partly because the bulky spare wheel reposes naked on the floor.
this car have seats that give excellent lateral grip and are comfortable on long journeys despite sparse padding. On the Marcos you still recline more than is usual (though less than on early examples), making the built-in neck restraint more of a head- rest, and an effective one too for once, as it does not transmit the car's vibrations to one's cranium.
The seat is a fixture with no adjustment at all. Instead the entire pedal assembly can be wound in and out by an ugly handwheel on the recently revised, padded dash. The steering column is adjustable also, calling for five minutes' spanner work on a clamp under the bonnet.
The pedals in the Marcos are set close together and arranged perfectly for heel and toeing.
The Marcos models suffer from engine and exhaust heat and noise entering the cockpit, a fault difficult but not impossible to cure in such instances where the occupants are in close proximity to the poorly silenced machinery (there is room to fit a proper air cleaner). Ventilation system is inadequate and rudimentary, lacking face-level outlets, and one has to rely on opening the windows. The ones in the Marcos have power operation as standard.