Having owned my Mini Marcos Mk. 3 for four and half years, I thought it about time to do a more detailed page for the website. Especially as I now find myself needing to sell the car. So it seems a good point to go over things I have been asked about at shows in the past before I am not around to answer them. The picture to the right shows how I inherited the car from the previous owner Mark Redgrove. Mark had done an impressive job of preparing the bodywork. However, that is about the only part that has remained. The body work being so perfect hasn't always been the blessing it might appear, but more of that later.
The Roll Cage
I am most commonly asked about the roll cage. To summarise bought it from ROLL CENTRE for just under £300 and is FIA spec CDS (sadly not T45). It was never intended that it should be as extensive as it now is.
The cage is attached to the shell at 8 points from front to rear; the towers of the front sub-frame, the floor in front of the doors, the floor behind the doors and the rear shock absorber mounts. Also attached to the cage; is the pedal box, upper engine mount, the rear seat belt mounts and the Speedex beam axle (this completes the main hoop). Underneath each foot is a 3mm plate to spread the loads. The plate was sand blasted and degreased before being bonded into the shell. For the Tower mounts, the original and now very rusty bulkhead reinforcement was cut out and replace with 3mm plate fabricated box section. This was machined to allow the brake and clutch master cylinders to be fitted. Alot of effort, but before this you could see the master cylinder move when the pedal was pressed and the pedal feel was unsurprisingly crap!, Now it doesn't move at all.
In case any of you are wondering about fitting a cage yourself be warned that all Roll Centre do bend the tubes. All cutting and mitring and welding has to be done by the fitter (in this case myself, at a rough estimate I would put the value of my efforts at over £2000 incase anyone is thinking of paying someone else).
Engine and Transmission
The Engine started lift as an MG Metro engine but has been completely rebuilt with new bearings throughout, special features include; an MED Fast Road/Competition Unleaded Cylinder Head, mm Inlet Valves, mm Exhaust Valves with dual valve springs, with Kent 286/2 cam. The bottom half of the engine is standard apart from a lightened flywheel and touch wood has been happy to rev to 7000+ rpm. The cooling system is mostly metro and uses a front mounted radiator. The Exhaust is completely Maniflow aside from a small section made by a local fabricator (Gran-Fabrication) to actually make it fit. I wouldn't buy the exhaust again (because of fitting problems) but the LCB seemed to add something to the performance when first fitted. The made floor was previously modified using a mould taken from a 2l coke bottle.
The transmission was also refurbished while the engine was out with race spec baulk rings, high strength shafts and a high spec differential kit, but no limited slip. The gear linkage has been extended to move the shift closer to the driver and has benefited from a KAD quick-shift.
The Brake system; Metro Turbo Vented Disks and 4 Pot Callipers, Rear drums, with front rear split and Adjustable Rear Brake Pressure limiting Valve. EBC Green Stuff Pads (Now there warn in they are great, but do have to like hanging off the seat belts, when they are cold their only average). The brake pressure limiting valve is a valuable addition, giving greater stability during braking (Mini Marci don't really need rear brakes).
The Suspension is fairly standard: The front has adjustable tie bars, 1.5deg. negative camber arms and uses standard mini donuts with adjustable Spax dampers. The rear uses a Speedex Beam kit, again with Spax adjustable dampers. The springs for anyone who wants to follow suit are 110lb/in 12in springs and seem to give as good a level of ride as you could have any right to expect. Unbelievably people do actually fall asleep from time to time in the passenger seat.
The interior is spartan but comfortable thanks to a pair of Cobra Imola 2s. The drivers seat can be adjusted for and aft so my 5ft father can still drive it despite me being 6ft. The door bars actually make entry easier rather than harder. The dashboard area has been "re-profiled" using a very simple but successful process. Fibreglass was laid up on an old kitchen work surface to form sheets 1 layer thick. These sheets were then cut using scissors and bonded in position over wooden formers, because of the curves the panels become quite ridge and don't actually need strengthening when in position. The finishing touch is a PI System 2 Electronic dash which came from a crashed formula Vauxhall. The only problem is that it lacks an odometer so a standard mini one is hidden away in the glove box on a left hand drive cable to keep the MOT man happy. The steering column is also modified with a quick release steering wheel to ease entry, and an additional knuckle so the wheel is better positioned.
Would I Change Anything?
Yes and no, everything and nothing. If I had my time again I would start with a bare shell. I wouldn't fit Metro 4 pots, they negatively affect the unsprung to sprung mass ratio. I'd make a tubular front sub-frame because really the front of any Mini Marcos is too heavy and the suspension is compromised by its saloon car origins. It would also be nice to have a lighter engine, but then you really have to question why choose a Mini Marcos at all when you get to that stage. All said and done its been fun and I will miss it a lot when it is sold, because of my new job. There is serious fun to be had and you can embarrass considerably more expensive cars including both the Elise and the VX220 that I am considering replacing it with.
Sadly it's Now Sold.
I can almost detect a tear as I write this bit but sadly my new job requires a slightly more practical car (only slightly), if I could have two cars I would but I rent my accommodation and sadly only have space for the one car. In addition rather annoyingly at 6' and a bit, I can't get in with a helmet so can never enjoy track days, as they say in all the best adds "never raced nor rallied". It's been described by many as one of the best cars in the UK and definitely many people's favourite if only for its colour.
Take A Virtual Tour
In the mean time why not take a virtual look around, I know this isn't as good as the big manufactures manage, but it took me ages to do, so I hope some of you enjoy it. Virtual Tour
And Finally, THANKS
Finally I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Roger and Richard and all the other members of the owners club that put in so much effort and make owning a Mini Marcos just that little bit more special.
(photos: A. Fairgrieve)
Last updated 8th September, 2012