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Marcos GT 3.0 V6

Marcos GT 3.0 V6

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Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6
Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6
Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6
Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6Marcos GT 3.0 V6
Lot number 135
Hammer value £12,700
Description Marcos GT 3.0 V6
Registration WWC 139L
Year 1969
Colour Silver
Engine size 2,994 cc
Chassis No. ECC1299
Engine No. 722F-0425

Marcos founder Jem Marsh was a member of the renowned 750 motor club in those formative years when the destined-to-be-legends of British motor racing were experimenting, building and racing their own ad-hoc creations.

As a ‘specials’ builder himself, he rubbed shoulders and traded ideas with the likes of Colin Chapman (Lotus) and Eric Broadley (Lola) and became close to aerodynamicist Frank Costin, the pair soon coming up with ideas for a small light sports car. Marsh and Costin’s early clubman racers used the 1175cc Ford side-valve. Their first creation won nine races from ten starts with driver Bill Moss. Another was driven by a very young Jackie Stewart. Jackie Oliver was a customer, driving a later ‘gullwing’ designed model. Marsh even tried his arm at Le Mans in 1962, though the car retired with engine problems

The Dennis Adams-designed GT made its debut at the1964 Earls Court Racing Car Show where its exotic ‘E-Type-from-the-dark-side’ lines amazed everyone. A stunning machine in any era, it stood only 43-inches high but was designed around Jem Marsh (who was 6ft 4ins tall) and can accommodate taller drivers with ease, offering a laid-back, single-seater race car driving position where the seat stays fixed and the pedals come to you – operated by a knob on the dashboard. On a track the driver feels very much in command and, on a long drive, surprisingly comfortable.

Lord Lilford ordered one, as did Prince Albrecht of Liechtenstein. At £1,500, the low-slung two-seater was a bit minty for most pockets. Even at this price the car was running at a loss, so the original De Dion rear suspension set-up was soon dropped in favour of a good old live axle, the wooden chassis was replaced by an easier-to-make tubular steel one and the Volvo/Triumph engines were binned in favour of the trusty Ford Essex 3-litre V6 installed in the long nose. With a respectable 140bhp, and 193ft lb of push, the GT V6 was capable of cracking 60mph in 7.5 seconds, with a top speed of 125mph.

In 1969, Motor magazine said of the GT’s handling: “fantastic; probably the best of any production car we have driven.” More well-known personalities lined up to buy, including Rod Stewart, Ford president Semon Knudsen – and John Noakes! Although designed as a road car, many GTs did in fact race and the V6 model is still a formidable opponent in FIA and HSCC championships.

As a letter from Marcos Heritage in the history file confirms, this particular GT had an interesting start in life, being bought new in 1969 by a Staff Sergeant in the US Air Force who was stationed in the UK. Returned to the factory for a routine service in November 1970, it was severely damaged by a Marcos engineer during a road test which led to the car being completely rebuilt with a new chassis and body taken from the production line plus many other new parts.

Originally bearing chassis number 3M 5555 and registration number NWL 29H, the rebuilt car was allocated a new chassis and registration number by HM Customs because of purchase tax implications (ECC 1299 and WWC 139L respectively, the numbers it still wears today). The V5C records the car as first registered in December 1972.

The vendor acquired the car in 1990 as a gift for his brother, an Italian who lived in Turin. He was to keep the car in Italy for the next 23 years but sadly he never really got to use it due to illness. In 2013 the car came back to England and the vendor, a life-long car enthusiast and collector himself, has just thoroughly recommissioned it for sale.

Over £2,000 has been spent on parts alone, including a full overhaul of the braking and cooling systems plus a thorough service with all fluids changed, including the gearbox and axle oils. Now said to be running and driving well with an MOT until May 2015, it certainly fired up promptly and performed with gusto when we took it for a quick blast up the Somerset lanes on the occasion of our visit to take these photos. When acquired in 1990, the vendor was told that it had been fitted with a new short engine at 75,000 miles but there is no documentary evidence to support this.

Equipped with overdrive and a Webasto sunroof that it has had from new, the car also retains its original lightweight magnesium alloy wheels, now virtually unobtainable and worth about £3,000 on their own, according to the vendor. It also comes with two sets of keys and a Brooklands book, ‘Marcos Cars: 1960 – 1988’. 

As dramatic today as it was at launch 50 years ago, the Marcos GT is now a very rare machine that is only just beginning to be appreciated by collectors and prices have begun to rise accordingly. This attractive silver example, from long-term ownership, looks a most tempting prospect at the sensible guide price suggested.

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