Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Is this really the only Autocars Marcos survivor?

Autocars, the Israel based motor manufacturer built Standard Triumphs under a license, but planned to broaden their range with a model of their own in the late 1960s. In order to do this Autocars co-founder Yitzhak Shubinski teamed up with the late Jem Marsh to design and build a fiberglass bodied but Mini based car. Marsh flew to Israel in late 1969 were he found the works “A shambles with apparent little concern for work or production targets”, but never the less signed a contract. Back in Westbury, he started work on building three or four prototypes with estate bodies, while another two saloons followed in 1970. The estates were called W90 and were yellow, blue and red according to Marcos Heritage-man Rory McMath; the saloons were called W95. Unfortunately it all lead to nothing and both models never made it to the (Israelean) market.

But I wonder what happened to these prototypes. One of the estates was crash tested at MIRA, while another was used by Jem's wife Judith as a practical utility for years before being restored in 1992 by the Marcos Owner's Club. After the restoration it was sold to the Maruyama collection where it remains to this day. Another estate is said to have been languishing in an orchard not far from the old Marcos factory in Westbury, but there is no evidence. Fact is that one of the saloons ended up as a toy car in a Tel Aviv kindergarten! It was there photographed by Yohay Shinar in the 1990s, but disappeared soon after. And so the Maruyama-car is the only one I have ever seen. Is there anyone out here who knows more about the others?

The W90 estate just after the restoration in 1992 - is it the only Autocars Marcos surviving?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

As I saw the car in 2008 - it's stored outside which hasn't done it too much good
Picture Jeroen Booij

The interior is a match of things old and new, with an interesting dashboard
Picture Jeroen Booij

The engine is believed to be a 998 Cooper. According to Kazuo Maruyama it's fast, too
Picture Jeroen Booij

This is the W95 saloon as seen in a Tel Aviv kindergarten by Yohay Shinar years ago
Picture Yohah Shinar 

Sloping roof and different back end for the saloon. Bodies were of excellent quality
Picture Yohah Shinar

No comments:

Post a Comment