8th March 2004

Well major excitement indeed! It looks like Marcos have been invited to participate in the official city centre parade on the Friday evening in Le Mans! One of the chaps on the forum (who ironically has swapped his Marcos for an RX7!) came through with a contact who is part of the Classic British Welcome organisation, who are showing great taste & sophistication by wanting us! Not sure how many cars we are allowed to enter but I've mentioned it on the forum & asked people to mail me on a 'first come first served' basis. Obviously I am numero uno! Hurrah! More posing! In the meantime the car continues to behave itself, and the clutch that i thought was slipping a tad seems to be OK again, which is good as I am not too flush atm...

... Which doesn't quite explain why (as a birthday treat from me to me) I have booked the Mantis in to John Noble Motorsport in Chesterfield, for a couple of hours on their rolling road. They didn't have any Saturdays free before the end of April so that was what I went for - I am interested in exactly how much of the claimed 352BHP is actually arriving at the wheels, and also would like the peace-of-mind of knowing that the engine is doing all it should be, as every now & then I wonder if it's not pulling as hard as it used to when I first had it. Probably psychosamatic (Hmm, bet that's not in the spell checker!) but there we go. Either way I'm definitely not looking for more power, just checking I've got what I'm meant to!

5th April 2004

The Spring issue of the CMI magazine arrived in the post this morning. I had been looking forward to this as it contains my article on last years trip to Le Mans (a modifed version of this article from the website). It stretches to about twelve pages, fifteen includes pictures, and Isobel the editor has been kind enough to put it in uncut. I can't imagine ever being knowledgeable enough to write a technical article for the magazine, so it was always going to be an 'experience' type piece, and I am pleased as punch to see it there in print! Kindly queue for autographs on the left please...

I cleaned the car yesterday & finally got round to attacking the leather. Oh the shame! I had not fully appreciated quite how grubby the transmission tunnel had got until I put on some Autoglym leathercare gunk. Wow! Talk about 'before & after' . Anyway I lashed it onto all the leather & gave the headrests (which bear the brunt of the weather with my penchant for open top motoring!) & the gearstick gaiter (which just gets bloody dry with all the heat from the transmission) seconds & thirds. It all soaked in & came up nicely, and I feel happier that it is all protected again. As usual the rest of the car took about five hours to clean & polish, and it was dark before I finished (out on the street, under a lampost - I must get a house with a garage...), so no time for wax. At least I didn't start off meaning to clean it then just go for a drive instead, like the previous thrity or forty attempts!

13th April 2004

Ho hum. Good news and bad news. Things are now confirmed for the Le Mans parade - I have a list of cars & reserves, and have mailed full details & photos to the organisers as requested, so Marcos will definitely be represented in the parade, which is fab. The bad news is that the organisers would like to see as wide a variety of Marcos models as possible, as the parade is, after all, for the benefit of the spectators. Why is this bad news? Because, rather unbelievably considering that only thirty six examples of the '97 Mantis were ever made, there are three examples (two Spyders and a Coupe) in the list of entrants ie more than any other model . The Coupe will have to stay in because it is one of only three ever made (so... er... quite rare then, eh!), and the other Mantis is the amazing red one belonging to Richard Partridge, therefore bound to be in absolutely stunning nick - thus being more appropriate for the parade. Having gone to quite a lot of trouble personally to collate info & talk to the organiser etc, I can't quite believe that I am not going to be in the parade! Unless someone drops out (not unheard of for a Marcos!), or withdraws (unheard of for a Marcos owner!) then I am buggered. Arse. Arse. Arse. Arsey arse arse.

On a brighter note, there are eighteen, yes eighteen confirmed Marcos going to Le Mans this year! This is great as I have shyed away (as far as possible) from organising things again this year, but still we all know who is going, & will be able to link up for the odd cruise, and definitely the odd beer! There are even a few baby convoys travelling down together, as people talk to each other about travel arrangements - I for one hope to be going all the way from Cheshire to Le Mans & back along with Cazzer in his cool LM500, and have the legendary Mr Partridge in his Mantis with us from the Chunnel onwards! Whoohoo!

18th April 2004

Went to 'Cars in the Park' today, a PistonHeads event in the NE held at Bolton Abbey, & organised by one of their regulars, Chris. As he'd taken the trouble to track us down to the Forum & post an invite, it seemed rude not to turn up! Anyway I've never been to any of these types of gathering, so I was a bit curious. The weather was pretty miserable this morning (hood up! Gasp!), but improved after I collected Cazzer & his other half in his red LM500, & followed them on a very obscure (but picturesque) route over to the Abbey. When we (eventually) found the correct car park, there was loads of space reserved, and about another ten or twelve cars already present, mostly TVRs. Nice setting by the river 'n all! V scenic but snapped the cars instead! Doh!A couple of people wandered over to chat about the cars, most saying that they had heard of Marcos but never actually seen one; as usual I was able to answer the truely challenging questions like 'What colour's that then?'... 'Green'...'Oh. Right'. The more technical stuff ie anything else I fobbed off on to Cazzer! Heh! Heh! Between twenty and thirty other cars trickled in over the next few hours, inlcuding five Ferraris who dropped by, but it was obvious that the poor weather in the morning had put a lot of people off (and they have roofs! Tsk!). TVRs outnumbered everything else, and as the BBQs came out it became obvious most people knew each other from the PH forum. Had a quick look at what had turned up but being enamoured with Marcos rather than cars in general it got a bit samey. All wasted on me! Nice enough people at the meet though. Spent half an hour looking at the Abbey itself then set off back home mid-afternoon. Cazzer went directly back to his place in Lancs & I took 'A' roads back home which still get the opportunity for a bit of a 'blat'! Hurrah! An interesting experience, but a long day, so it is unlikely I will go to many of these things, as I am just not 'petrol-headed' enough!

2nd May 2004

Took the Mantis to the rolling road at John Noble Motorsport last week, as my birthday treat (to self!). My chum Garry came along to stop me getting bored, and so he could get his 'top down' fix (his MR2 roadster is being repaired after he lost the back end a couple of weeks ago)! There were a couple of Caterhams in the carpark when we got there, but they took the car straight onto the rolling road, and after one sneaky photo by me, shut the doors because of the noise! I'd hoped to take a good few shots & maybe a short video clip, but no doubt I would just have got under their feet, so I contented myself with listening to the increasing roar of my exhaust (even through the shuttering!), then slunk off for a full English breakfast! Yum! An hour later we wandered back & they were finishing up. I was pleased to hear there was nothing wrong with the engine, power or fuel supply, and I had a very respectable power graph! Also 325BHP (vs Marcos quoted 352BHP; not sure if mine was measured at the wheels or flywheel - if the former then that matches manufacturer figures nicely). The chap who did the testing also mentioned that they normally saw 310BHP out of the Ford Mustang Cobra engine, so it was a good figure, which was nice to hear! I thought, may as well ask if there is anything obvious to do to the engine to beef things up, & got told that the next significant increase would be major engine work (so major money!), so any thoughts about tweaking things were instantly dismissed...

The dyno only took an hour so we set off back home late morning; Chatsworth was on the way back so we stopped off to take some pictures, despite the car looking a tad 'well traveled'!

Also finally got round to taking the dash cover to a trimmers to get the leather replaced. The original leather has pulled off the front lip (from the heat of the sun I suppose), exposing the fibreglass, so hopefully the new leather will be attached more firmly. I'll also remember to feed it & stop it from drying out, as it's costing me about fifty quid

6th June 2004

Just back from a very successful car show at Tatton Park today. Eight of the ten Marcos expected made it, meeting at a new location (closer to the show venue) the car park of the White Swan in Bucklow Hill. While this was more convenient for everyone than the old meet location, what I hadn't banked on first thing on a Sunday morning was some geezer & his mate turning up in a tricked up Eurobox (Punto?), straight from two days of clubbing, spaced out of his mind & everyone's best friend! However drugged up he was he (a) didn't offer to share any and (b) twigged that the cars were something special. After offering one of our group £250,000 for his yellow supercharged Mantis (a reasonable offer but his credit did not look good!) him & his mate decided they would scrounge a lift in a Marcos each, into the show! When we got there they eventually realised they had a good mile plus walk back to their own vehicle, but at least they had fun! No way they should be driving like that though...

The weather was great & with Marcos owners travelling to the show from as far away as Hull, Essex and Bath, I was quite relieved! The show organisers have given us a new spot at the end of the first main row of clubs, & we were able to park the cars in a nice cresecent. This also allowed the public to see us from three sides, which was nice. The yellow supercharged Mantis with its huge racing wing got most of the attention, followed by one of the Tatton regulars, a red LM500 from Todmorton, with it's shy, retiring owner (yeah right!). For the first time the show organisers had created awards for the Marcos marque, with two categories; early (Mantula) & late (LM500) models - quite flattering & I guess this must mean they take us seriously now! I am quite chuffed by this as I have built up the attendance from a couple of cars to double figures (following on the from the years of good work from young Mr Knott!) To top it all we even got a mention in the July Classic & Sportscar on p164


Not to be outdone (reference to the adjacent TVR stand), Marcos Owners' Club alongside included a wild, Quad Cam Mantis

Although obviously I'm a bit upset about the fact that mine was parked right next to the yellow supercharged one & didn't get a mention! Plus the club was CMI not the MOC - how can you miss those 20ft banners?!

22nd June 2004

Back from Le Mans. Back from the Drivers Parade . Ooooooooh yes! My annual missive about the trip can be found here. Even my exhaust cracking on the way back up from Le Mans failed to put a damper on things ('cos it made me sound like a Corvette ); I have just got back from Tube Torque in Macclesfield who fabricated the current stainless system & who fixed the weld in question, er, without question!

21st July 2004

MOT time & the Mantis has failed due to the handbrake not engaging on one of the wheels. I've also decided to buy the front damper modification kit from Marcos Heritage after they issued an alert about suspension failure. The gas struts for the bootlid fitted last year appear to be over specced & are shaking themsleves through the fibreglass lip of the boot surround. My garage have tightened up the nuts attaching them to the bodywork & added shaped washers to strengthen the bodywork, but it's stil a tad annoying & more money to el Mechanico. Adding insult to injury the speedo stopped working on the way back from the MOT test & therefore the Mantis is all booked in again to have the transducer cleaned up, bush assembly & new handbrake cable fitted. The only good bit is that work is sufficiently manic atm that I am not missing out on anything, as I do not have time to go out & drive for fun in the evenings - I miss this. Ah well, only two weeks to go before the CMI annual rally at Longleat - everything must be fixed by then!

9th August 2004

Just back from a very enjoyable CMI rally at Longleat. Predictably I never made it into the house itself, although I had every intention of doing so; I was too busy catching up with a few people & of course recruiting for the Forum.Once again I waived my almost certain first pplace in the concours by allowing some more needy soul to enter in my stead. Now I never thought I'd say this, but I also spent a very enjoyable half hour in the back seat of a Bentley with Lord Marsh!!! Jem is apparently putting a 'coffe table' book together at the request of TS, the new owner of Marcos, & took the trouble to show me the material he had collected so far. Despite not being a petrol-head, there was plenty of interesting stuff in there, even to the casual browser, but Jem is keen to source more material, which we agreed might be possible through a mailshot to all Forum members. I am to receive a mail with the appropriate wording & then we will see what turns up. Being a shallow type of chap, I am hoping some more shots of the 1997 Motorshow turn up, where Marcos launched the Mantis with two very 'gifted' models gratuitously draped all over it. Mmmm...

22nd August 2004

Tatton Park & a decent line-up again. Car still clean (enough) from the rally a couple of weeks ago!

5th September 2004

I went down to 'Thunder Sunday' at Rockingham circuit to meet up with some other Marcos Mantis. I think we ended up with nine all told, which I am sure is the most I've ever seen together - certainly more than I've counted at any of the club rallies. We were allowed two (whioch tunred into three!) laps of the circuit in front of the adoring crowd (as I perceived them!). Driving on a banked track is quite a novelty, & everyone got the most out of it, with a couple of near misses adding to the overall excitement of the Marcos owners!

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