Thread: Marcos Mantis
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Old 04-29-2002, 07:38 PM   #20
Thunda Downunda
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Those 3-wheeler Morgan trikes could, depending on which (motorcycle) engine was selected, be anything from 'a sporting carriage' to downright devilish. 90-100mph was not unknown but nor was the dreadful prospect of a motor seizure .. followed immediately by a forward roll into oblivion & death.

As for the 4-wheelers, apart from the incredibly harsh ride I've read many fawning articles, some verging on adulatory. Depending on your point of view it's either the (up to the 50's) 'flat nose' model, the rorty Vanguard-engined one, or Plus 4 etc which gain your preference. Personally the Plus 8 is hard not to covet. But there are also bitter admonishments of long-term Morgan ownership, specifically the wooden body frame which is made from Ash & secured by staples. Over time these work loose requiring incredibly expensive restoration. I spoke to a one-time besmitten owner of 23 years who, after his 3rd rebuild in under 70k miles of careful use, wearily pronounced them as an emotional yet flawed dalliance and vowed '"never again!'

Chris thanks for your correction but I am positive there's another 'major' British cottage car which was often mentioned as employing laquered plywood a-la boat-building techniques in its foundation, and thought it was the ancestor of this-shape Marcos? .. Any British enthusiasts help out here with this useless bit of trivia?
btw: notable to MarCos was Mike(?) COStin, whom I believe held influence over the British industry for many years.

Out of the plethora of small U.K. makers (eg Fairthorpe, Opus etc) one of my favorites would be Ginetta (spl?). One of their long-standing & very pretty road/race models (G-12?) resembles a nascent Porche 904/Ferrari Dino and was often powered by one of the world's best ever engines, the 4cyl. alloy Coventry Climax. This great motor originated from a design brief for a portable ultra-lightweight fire pump powerplant would you believe and found its way into everything from the Hillman Imp (I had an Imp 'GT', fantastic car) to being dominant in formula-class racing cars .. eg: fairytale of the little engine that could. btw: the still-in-production Moto Guzzi V-twin motorcycle engine originated from a WW2 amphibious landing craft engine!

To my mind one of the most quintessential British marques is Bristol. Evolving after WW2 from the highly regarded aircraft & aviation powerplant company (eg: Concorde uses a Bristol engine derivative) as a way to retain its aviation-quality workforce Bristol Cars still make some of the best engineered, finely crafted and most interesting of vehicles. Check out their amazing 'Fighter' V10 model at the above website, so aerodynamically pure no spoilers are required despite its 200mph+ top speed - compare this with the design compromises owners must endure on Ferrari F60 etc. A schoolfriend many years ago used to commute in his father's BRG-coloured 403 and despite being an early-50's model these still look like a spaceship to me. Check out the incredible lightness of line and aerodynamics for its era below, its Cd still competitive into the 80's! They were powered by the fabulous ex-BMW 328 (1930's model) hemi-head 6, interestingly obtained by Bristol through war reparations after 1945 and note the BMW-style grille. Later models have lost their way in regards to styling, but never their quality.

Last edited by Thunda Downunda; 04-29-2002 at 08:41 PM.
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