Monday 12 December 2016

Analyzing the Le Mans Mini Marcos (1)

Over the next few days or weeks, I'll update you on the discovery of the Le Mans Mini Marcos. Looking back I can tell you that identifying it as the real deal wasn't the easiest of tasks. I received three sketchy pictures of the shell and had to work from there. Now that I have it, things are much easier. Take the layers of paint, for example. These can best be described with the list of previous owners that my friend and colleague Enguerrand Lecesne made.

1966-67: Hubert Giraud and Jean-Claude Hrubon, (Paris) 24h Le Mans 1966, 1000 km Paris 1966-67.
1968 Alain Asse (Boulogne-Billancourt near Paris) Hillclimbs, races
1969 Aiguebonne (south of France) registered, painted Green, rally in south of France
1970 José Albertini (Nice), painted orange, Monte Carlo Junior rally. During that period: modified bonnet, new Delta Mic wheels, lights for rallying...
1970 Jean-Louis Grappin (Neuilly near Paris) Hillclimb (Treffort), engine broken, car left off.
1973 Dominique Mercier (Essonne), painted Maroon, 998 engine.
1975 Michel Tasset (Eure et Loir)

I now found out that the car was repainted in a lighter blue with an orange stripe to match Hrubon's later 1967 Le Mans entry (a Renault Gordini powered sports car of his own design). There is photographical evidence of that, too, with the two cars standing next to each other at Hrubon's garage, so it does fit in. I also think that it was not painted orange in 1970 but a light red instead, as this is the colour that comes next after the green. Also: after it was lost in October 1975 it appears to have been painted twice more, both times a shade of red, too.

So in the right order that's:

French Blue with yellow stripe
Light Blue with orange stripe
Dark Green
Maroon with yellow stripe

Now, have a look at these photographs, to make it all fit

This is the front center of the roof. The French blue and yellow stripe are clearly visible. After that it's light blue, green, red, maroon (with a new slightly darker yellow stripe good visible, too) and two more layers of red
Picture Jeroen Booij 

Same spot just above the windscreen, but now from the other side. Here, you can also see the orange that was used for the stripe
Picture Jeroen Booij 

This is the right hand front wing. No yellows are visible here as these were only painted in a broad stripe over the length of the car. French blue is just visible under the light blue paint
Picture Jeroen Booij 

The original French blue can be found everywhere as the first paint colour
Picture Jeroen Booij 

This is the right hand rear wheel arch. What I like is that the white roundel is still hidden here, too
Picture Jeroen Booij

This is even more closed up onto the wheel arch. Unfortunately these have been modified, with the arch smoothed onto the body. The filling material can be clearly seen here
Picture Jeroen Booij

UPDATE 13 december 2016: 

Enguerrand Lecesne writes to me:

Speaking about colours:

1966 French blue was an idea of Jean-Louis Marnat to do Le Mans
1967 light blue (bleu ciel) with orange stripes, in 67, Claude Plisson explains that it was an idea of Hrubon: give a repaint in Gulf lookalike colors (Mirage cars)...
1970 Albertini, the color was certainly Red (Albertini dixit) but it is vermillon, a red with orange (this is what i've called orange to give you a clue).

Thank you!


  1. I forsee many dusty days in your future ...........

  2. always nice that a history trace can be proven in the colours still on the shell. To many have been stripped to bare and all history lost. In proving the colours the next question comes to mind, as Billy Dulles claims that this is 6102 on it's way to Hrubon then a dark colour should appear under the light colour that the car had before the French blue paint thats clearly on your shell
    Could Billy have got it wrong?

  3. Great bit of Auto-archaeology Jeroen, looks a bit like those multi-layered gob- stoppers you could buy back in the day. It would also be interesting to establish the bare shell weight for the le Mans car, "sans peindre"


  4. Very nice to see the liniage in the paint layers, to many times this is all missing from the story of "reappeared" cars.
    The layers you have do crop up an other question, as Billy Dulles claims this to be a picture of him on his way to Hrubon with 6102;
    While the dark colour isn't in your layers, the white? of the pre-paint pictures at Hrubon is

    So did Billy get it wrong??

    Good luck with the hunt for all the by now very rare parts to bring the car back up to spec. I can imagine it being a mammoth task, but at least there's enough pictorial material to find out what's right.

    1. Good question. I have been wondering about this myself.
      I haven't seen if there is any black under the original white, which can be seen in the original build photographs by Guy Le Page, so I'll have to check this first.

      What's more: on a crystal clear (B&W) photograph that I have of the Dulles pick up delivering the black (dark?) Marcos body, it leaves no doubt that the car had wide rear wheel arches fitted with pop rivets or screws. I don't think this was the case with the Le Mans car, but I'm not sure.

      Time will tell though.