... I see I haven't written anything since my July entry last year. I haven't felt much like writing up the Mantis since then. The car has been out a few times but it's still two-tone green, dammit. And I need to win the bloody lottery to get it sprayed properly. Fat chance.

Task! What a bitter & twisted fellow I am in danger of becoming! I am still lucky enough to have the car, so shouldn't be inflicting this hand-wringing drivel on you. My next entry will be more upbeat.

3rd May 2007
Back from a trip to the garage where the nearside mirror was finally re-attached (although the paint was stripped when the tape came off - my fault for leaving it on for 10 months of course..). Battery output & voltmeter also checked due to some odd readings whilst driving but all seems in order. I am still paranoid about the car after the farce of a paint job last summer. I shouldn't be letting it get to me still, but it does. However, Le Mans 24 Hour is about five weeks away so let the excitement begin! My chum Caz is still having electrical/ECU problems with his supercharged LM500, but he normally fixes these things in time! We have decided to get the ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge & travel down through Belgium (& even Paris if we are feeling brave!). Two, no three selling points for this course of actions; firstly, less poorly maintained, over-populated speed camera infected UK roads, secondly, the journey there & back is broken up with a bit of sleep, & finally Caz managed to get one of the cars booked for £1! Very impressive, & more beer money of course! It should be great fun & will make a pleasant change from traipsing down to Folkstone for the Chunnel crossing. I shall, of course, report back at a later date...

23 June 2007
Back from the Le Mans 24 hour. The itself race was... okay. Diesels won & you can read enough to make your eyes bleed elsewhere on the Net about whether this is a good thing, bad thing, next big thing & so on. I have to say that the event seems to be getting increasingly 'Chavvy' & there were numerous 'organised' Stag parties present with nobody interested in cars at all really (& that's coming from me! lol). No problem there until this manifests itself as a lack of respect for the cars & owners; emptying gallons of water into an open car is criminal damage & wouldn't be tolerated elsewhere (I'd like to think). Ditto kicking somone's car because they won't do a personal burn-out for you. I'm tempted to say LM has got too accessible & that such people should be priced out of the event, but realistically it's not money but respect that is the issue. Besides, I can only just afford to go myself ATM! Heh!

I really enjoyed myself, because the race was only a minor part of the experience. The journey, the company, the accommodation, the food 'n' booze & the 'incidents' are what define Le Mans for me, & 2007 was a success!

27 June 2007
Gorgeous baby daughter born yesterday! Glad I did not suffer any major hold ups getting back from LM, or I'd be in big trouble indeed. Can't wait to take her out in the Mantis, although that's a good while off yet. My son absolutely loved it when we finally got around to going for a spin; the "Faster Daddy, faster" raised a smile although I didn't have much luck explaining 30mph zones to him. I got away with naming my son 'Marcos' (well, as a middle name at any rate) but no luck persuading the other half that 'Mantis' is a well known girls name. Oh well... Mind you, she drives a Honda CRV so maybe it's time we dismissed naming children after cars completely!

13 August 2007
Yikes! The Mantis failed its MOT today, with a 6" crack in the windscreen in driver line-of-sight. Bugger. I knew about the crack & have arranged to go down to MHS to get the windscreen replaced on Thursday, but had hoped it would scrape through the MOT.

17 August 2007
Back home from MHS two days earlier than planned, without the Mantis & not sure whether I'm keeping the car or not. What a complete yesterday was. Just totally un--believable.

I got down to MHS about 1000 hours, left the car with them & borrowed the current courtesy car (the new Mini-Marcos! In 'can-be-seen-from-space' yellow no less!). Thirty minutes later my mobile goes & although I ignore it the first few times eventually I decided it must be urgent so I pull over & take the call. It's Rory at MHS & he says... "I think you'd better come & see this". So, I turn around & half an hour later I'm walking towards the door to the MHS workshop with a sombre looking Rory. I am perplexed. At least, I am until Rory walks up to the Mantis & puts his finger through the siderail, then repeats this on the other side of the car. Oh . "You've got a problem". Yup - even I can see that & I know eff all about cars. Rory then kindly points out that the floor panels have also corroded & that the carpets can be seen from underneath the car. Fab.


"You need a new chassis & floor pans Oliver. This car shouldn't be driven again in its current state."

"I can see that! Um... what's that going to cost, Rory?"

"£10K + VAT & it will be the first Mantis we've had to replace the chassis on. It's like rebuilding the car"

Cue 3 nanosecond pause while I think if I have won the lottery recently. I haven't.

"Haven't got £10K at the moment Rory. Can I leave it here?"

"Course you can."

"Thanks. Any chance of a lift to the station?"

... and that was it. (I got the lift!). The unexpected train journey home was a pensive one. Wonder what the hell to do now.

19 August 2007
It was the second show of the year at Tatton Park today, and my second show there without the Marcos. It was nice to see the other Marcos cars & owners, as always. Guru Chivers had kindly agreed to attend Tatton with the purple Mantis Coupe & was staying at the house, which was nice as it gave me the opportunity to repay their hospitality from previous occassions. Predictably the main topic of conversation was the dire straights I found myself in with the corroded Mantis chassis. The weather held for the show itself, but Dave & Mandy had a rather moist journey either side of that.

September 2007
I have a plan. A plan to keep the Marcos, and not have to sell a kidney. So it's a good plan. I have been put in contact with a chap called Lee Keller who is ex-Marcos factory & apparently a dab hand with the old welder. The fact is that I can't afford a complete new chassis however 'creative' I get with the numbers, so I need to get the current one patched, & patched properly. After several discussions with Guru Chivers it turns out that there has been another Mantis with similar rust 'challenges' & that they were addressed by cutting through the sills from the inside of the body & accessing the chassis via that route, thus avoiding any external damage & costly respray. Huzzah! I have bitten the bullet & told Rory that the galvanised chassis solution he offered was (way) beyond my means. Rory was pretty decent about the news, & was kind enough to warn me to 'be careful'. The car is being picked up by Dave C/Lee & nursed over to Warminster where Lee is based. It will be interesting to hear what he thinks of it.

20th December 2007
Just got back from a trip to see the Old Man in Henley (filial duty & all that), which I cunningly combined with a going to see the Mantis at the workshop in Warminster. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been pining for her these last few months (despite the grim weather), & of course it was an opportunity to meet Lee in person. What a thoroughly nice chap! He certainly knows what he's doing with the car, althought it was a bit disconcerting to see it without any floorpans... He has done a splendid job of welding new sections, & has even managed to use 3mm stainless sections, rather than the 1.5mm mild steel sections used by the factory (Grrrrr...). I guess this means some extra weight, but frankly who cares - I'm not racing it, or even getting any track time in it. The main thing is I can put the threat of rust at the back of my mind for a few years. Lee seems to be uber thorough which is a delight to hear; he is planning to use 129 rivets on each floorpan! We discussed what to do with the rest of chassis that is sound, but requires some sort of protection, & has been looking pretty scruffy for some time. Lee agreed to scrape down & paint the rst of the chassis (bar removing the engine) for a reasonable sum, so I'm going with that. I don't habitually pop the bonnet at car shows, but it will be nice not to wince when I do!


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