This project is an attempt to create a replica of the car. There are snippets of information and
photographs around but we need as much help as possible if we are to make this happen.
A very special project is under way at the Marcos factory and yes, you did read that correctly the Marcos Factory. Marcos Cars Limited and Marcos Engineering Limited are now based at Pembroke Dock in South Wales. Already there are four Marcos cars residing in the premises at various stages of construction, and some of you might have already seen the prototype at Prescott Revival last year, at the NEC Classic Car show or the Racing and Sporting Show. Sadly Marcos Cars are not manufacturing a Mini Marcos again, but it’s good to know the Marcos name continues in the manufacture of specialist cars.
Back to the Mini Marcos, and a project that was proposed in the summer of 2014, to have the 1966 Mini Marcos race again as part of a 50th anniversary celebration. The state of mind or sobriety of the two parties who originally hatched the idea is questionable, but the conversation between John Brookes and Tony Brown about the project and racing the car under the Marcos Owners Club Banner at Le Mans Classic 2016 began to take shape. If only a suitable MK1 Mini Marcos could be found.
‘I know someone with one of those’, John also added, and the rest… We hope will be an epic journey, culminating in a trip to the La Sarthe circuit in the summer of 2016, to watch a little piece of history being made, and you are all invited.
To begin with there’s a slight problem. As enthusiasts will no doubt be aware, the 1966 car driven to a famous 15th place by Bellot - Lena and Marat was stolen from the then owner Michel Tasset, in the Autumn of 1975, and sadly it has not been seen since! Various ‘replicas’ have appeared over the years as road going homages, most only replicating the 1966 paint scheme but none have gone to the extent of actually replicating the race car itself and that is the difference between this project and the previous ones, to build and race a replica of the heroic 1966 car.
Tony Brown is the current owner of Marcos Cars and has a long and successful career in motor sport of various sorts and not only runs Marcos Cars, but also prepares race cars and runs a racing school in South Wales. Tony said, ”What a fantastic opportunity. A Mini Marcos rebuilt by the Marcos Factory officially entered in the Le Mans Classic in the 50th anniversary year. If we get a bit of PR that will be great as well”.
First of all find a Mk1 ‘6000 series’ Mini Marcos. The MK1 was manufactured from 1965 to 1967 and the production run is unknown although the Mini Marcos Owners Club website lists chassis numbers from 6001 to 6151, but chassis numbering was allegedly not something Marcos were particularly good at, so its difficult to ascertain the exact number of MK1’s built. That aside, MK1’s don’t often come up for sale and certainly not at a price that would make the project viable and non runner was sought.
Backtrack more than thirty years, and the aftermath of a motorcycle accident saw a relationship start with Marcos cars that still goes on. I bought a Mini Marcos. At the time I had not idea it was a Mk1 and still didn’t know that when I sold it and then picked it back up from Malvern a few years later after someone had stripped all the Cooper S running gear of it. It then moved house with me and has resided, I am sorry to say, under a tarpaulin for the last seventeen years on the front drive. It was only around six or seven years ago, when I was doing a bit of research, I bothered to check KUX 615F’s chassis number, 6040, and then realised I had a Mk1.
So when the call came and the question asked about being involved in the 1966 replica project, I was eager to get involved and to see the car reborn. That was back in September 2014. Since then time has been spent trying to source period parts. The car had been stripped of everything that could have been used from the old Cooper S running gear, but fortunately the Mini Marcos parts were all there, including the sliding side windows for patterns. We have even managed to secure a new Mk1 windscreen thanks to Roger Garland, MMOC.
More research has also been done trying to establish just what the specification was of the car. It seemed fairly straight forward as there were a couple of well know articles that provided some guidance, but then others started to appear that contradicted some of the information and still more that was not easy to establish, such as which tyres were used? The sponsorship stickers in pictures seem to point to Dunlop but then Michelin is French and it was a French team...
What we do know - If you know different let us know
The shell was a Mk1 Mini Marcos.
Although originally built using a 1275cc Mini Cooper S engine, the team then obtained 2 x Mini Cooper S, Group 2 specification, BMC Competition Department engines (Monte Carlo Rally Spec). The engines were tuned to produce around 91 BHP and size was increased to 1287cc and would have been balanced, lightened and ported. A racing clutch and a 45 Weber was fitted for the Le Mans race although prior to that there is reference to twin SU’s being used in tests. The unit would almost certainly have been fitted with a larger bore competition LCB system and a ‘Paddy Hopkirk’ quick release rocker cover was fitted to the engine.
We have subsequently been informed that the carburettors were in fact twin 1 3/4 SU’s as they could not get the Weber to run satisfactorily.
2016 is the 50th anniversary of the most famous Mini Marcos finishing the prestigious Le Mans 24 hr in 1966
To start with we were going for a competition system, but subsequent magnifying of pictures show no rear exiting exhaust! So where is it? A grainy photograph shows the exhaust exciting on the right hand side of the car under the back of the door. Something that has been confirmed by J C Hrubon, investigations are ongoing.
Straight cut close ratio gearbox, LSD & Jack Knight 2.49-1 Diff ratio giving a final gearing of more than 120MPH.
Radiators: Two were fitted, one at the side in the standard location and one across the front, to cope with the warm summer in La Sarthe.
‘Big’ fuel tank (no details of size), articles just say big. Race fuel pump.
Cooper S disk brakes, high capacity master cylinder. A servo was fitted and bias control probably fitted to ensure that the back brakes did not continually lock up. If anyone knows differently please let us know. Minifins were probably fitted to the rear as these were used in competition as a replacement for the standard drums on the rear. A competition fly off handbrake was also probably used.
Aluminium spacers were fitted to the car and arches modified to accommodate wheels. The spacers were thought to have been fitted as the dealer was trying to sell them as an ‘add on’ to the Minis they were selling. At the time their strength was debated and modern equivalents such as Super Minifins are likely to be used to add safety having the spacer as part of the Brake hub, along with stronger wheel studs.
The Brake system will be uprated with modern replacement components but will comply with the regulations for historic racing.
10” Minilite Wheels
Tyres: These were thought to be Dunlop Racing Tyres, going by the sponsorship stickers on the front wing. This is yet to be confirmed as Michelin have also been mentioned. The car had a puncture and rumour has it that the tyre manufacturers at the circuit did not have a 10” tyre so someone was despatched to a local garage to get replacements.
We thought this would be easy, not so. Obviously headlights are not an problem, they are Mini. But, what about the taillights, spotlights and are those door lights?
Rear/Brake/Indicator: Simca 1000 - 1500
Spotlights: Marchal ‘Favourite’
Door running lights Marchal B Post Lights (Red/clear) also appears to be one on the right rear racing number.
These appear to be very difficult to find so we are looking for an alternative... Anyone?
Front Indicators: Mini (Lucas)
Rear central light - could be another Marchal unit, clear glass.
The car will be fitted with modern safety features in line with historic racing guidelines.
So there you have it. The car is scheduled to make its first appearance, ow at the Classic Car show at the NEC in November 2016
But we need a bit of help.
If anybody has additional information on the race car we’d love to hear from you and of course if you know differently to information we have added here, then please let us know, but we need factual information that can be backed up with reference and pictures.
We’ll hopefully be updating the site throughout the build process with developments, pictures and of course mentioning those who are kindly helping the project through a website dedicated to the car.
As soon as they go live we’ll post it on the MOC website and of course let as many people know about it as we can.
We’ve managed to secure some great partners who have offered parts and services for free already, more on them in an update, but we do need some help in the form of parts donations.
Just what have you got in the back of the garage or down in the shed? You’ll never use it, and you can be part of a great project for 2016.
Here’s what we are looking for at the moment;
2 x Marchal Side lights
Cooper S hubs, and callipers.
That fuel filler cap, where did that come from or off? Well apparently its off a French truck, a Berliet and again this mightbe a bot of a difficult one to track down.
Minilite wheels 10 x 5
1275 GT engine & gearbox (the cars originally had a Mini Cooper S, Group 2 specification competition engine and the engine will be rebuilt to that specification, a runner would be useful to start with.
A pair of period Mini door handles, inner and outer.
Oh and finally those team overalls, anyone like to sponsor those?
But then again yellow in France in the summer, remember all those bugs!
Please contact Roger Young