OCTOBER MONTHLY MEETING, Drouin Golf Club – Thursday 9th Oct

The recently completed build of Steve Schmidt’s Mini Marcos GT was celebrated by having the car on the display in the dining room at the Golf Club this month. It was one of the first two Marcos kit car shells delivered to Australia; another 3 or 4 have subsequently been imported by individuals, but these two were ordered by Competition Cars Australia (Sydney) and arrived in 1967. This particular bodyshell had been damaged enroute and needed to be repaired before being sold to Jack Read of ‘Readspeed’ in Brisbane. The Mini Marcos GT is a based on the BMC Mini, using both front and rear Mini subframes and associated mechanical components. Readspeed completed the build of the car, registered it as ‘MARCOS’ in Queensland and used it regularly until the driver’s side A-pillar, door and windscreen was damaged by a Valiant Ute reversing into it. With the cost of importing a new windscreen from England prohibitively expensive, the car was left neglected under their house and systematically stripped of parts that could be used to get their customers other cars on the road. An attempt was made by Jack’s son Matt to begin restoring the car in about 2010, but it was abandoned shortly afterwards due to health issues he was suffering. The car was then advertised on the ‘ausmini internet forum’ and after negotiations it changed hands and made its way south as a rolling shell in December 2012. Over the next 20 months the fibreglass shell was completely stripped back, repaired and strengthened, a roll-over bar was squeezed into the interior and Cooper S mechanicals were built up and fitted to the refurbished subframes. The shell was then painted at Warragul Panels before returning home to be trimmed out and wired up, prior to the assembled subframes being fitted. It was then placed on Club Rego and dyno-tuned before being taken on the road for the first time in about 30 years.

The Mini Marcos has quite an impressive competition history, they were raced at Le Mans and Spa and still hold several British Land-speed records in their class. In 1967 a Mini Marcos was the only British car to finish the Le Mans 24 Hour event, coming home in 13th place and reaching speeds of over 140 mph. They are certainly more aerodynamic than a Mini and at only 40″ high and under 600kg in weight they have a considerable performance advantage. Getting in and out of the car, is however not quite as easy as in a Mini, especially for those over 6′ tall.

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