January 1964 saw the debut of
the classic Marcos, in the shape of the Marcos 1800 GT at the London
Racing Car Show. The reception was incredible and it "stole the
This new Marcos was way ahead of its time with
an ultra fastback shape and rakish profile.
The 1800 consisted of an all
wooden chassis with an enveloping fibreglass body. The body, being bonded
to the chassis, formed an immensely strong but extremely light construction. The chassis
strength was obtained by transferring all of the loads through the central
spine and the two unique triangular torsion boxes which ran the length of the
sills. The chassis was constructed largely from 3mm Gaboon ply, with Sitka
Spruce lippings and Douglas Fir ply. Areas including the floor and
boot used balsa and insulation board for lightness. The whole structure was bonded
and stapled together using Aerolite 306.
The carís design
featured twin headlamps under perspex covers, a steeply sloped bonded
windscreen, and a high nose for aerodynamic purposes. Early cars can be
distinguished by the "elephant ears" on the scuttle. These were
a very crude form of air intake mounted directly in front of the
windscreen which acted as a shower in wet weather and
were soon discarded. Later changes included scalloped wheel arches, a flip up boot lid and louvres on the bonnet. The 1800 was
one of the lowest cars ever produced at less than 41.5 inches. The Ford GT
40 being 40in.
The 1800 had been
launched as a road car, but soon became very popular with club racers etc, with amazing performance and a racing-car like seating position, the
1800 was a winner from the beginning.
The 1800 cockpit
was extremely well appointed for its day. The semi reclining seats and
high, almost overwhelming transmission tunnel held the occupants more than
adequately even under racing conditions. The futuristic dashboard
consisted of a centre section enclosing minor instruments and switches.
Either side the dash was scalloped to house the rev counter and
speedometer for the driver, and a generous glovebox for the passenger. In
view of the cost of manufacture this style of dashboard was dropped on
One of the unique
features of the 1800 was the adjustable pedal assembly, the hall mark
of the Marcos, the whole pedal assembly moved backwards and forwards as
opposed to the seat, a feature used on all Marcos cars until the year
2000. The 1800 was also one of the first ever cars to have head restraints
fitted as standard equipment.
Other features of
the 1800 included the Marcos Electron wheel, manufactured in ultra
lightweight cast magnesium.
were fitted with Independent Rear Suspension - Marcos's unique system with a De-Dion tube,
leading link and telescopic spring damper units which incorporated inboard
drum brakes on the early cars and inboard discs on later cars. A live Axle
was soon introduced with three radius rods, and a Panhard rod, this was quickly
changed to four radius rods to transmit the loads into the chassis more
effectively. The early cars used
the Volvo B18 engine, and the last cars the B20 engine. Both B18 and B20
engines were used in race cars, with the option of overdrive.
The 1800 was displayed at the 1965 Racing Car Show and was described as "probably
the most elegant car in the show".
started to flag in 1966, and the decision was made to streamline
production and reduce the cost of manufacture. The 1800 was discontinued
with the arrival of Ford's 1500 GT engine.
Of the 100 cars built at Greenland Mills in Bradford on Avon,
52 cars were IRS and 38 were Live Axle cars.
||Volvo B18 1783cc 4
||0 - 60mph in 9 seconds, Top
speed of 115 mph
||Pirelli Cinturato tyres,
Shoulder harness, Overdrive, competition tuning equipment, wheels.
||£2,283 2s 5d ( April 1965