Thursday 7 February 2019

Swedish Mini Marcoses, built in Kälarne not Stockholm

When Neil Griffin wrote to me that a Swedish classic car magazine had published something about locally-built Mini Marcoses, my interest was awoken. I asked my friend Rainier de Klark, who lives in Sweden, if he knew more and was much-surprised when I found the February 2019 issue of Motor Classic on my door mat today, including a full translation of the article! Thank you so much Neil and Rainier. It's an interesting little snippet, asking for more information about Swedish-built Mini Marcoses. It reads the following:

"Will the extension of a workshop bring more work to the Kälarne municipality in Jämtland, which it needs so hard? Local press asked that question some 50 years ago. "Yes", said local rally driver Stig Göran Salommonsson enthusiastically. 'I have faith in this idea for the full 100%. We should take every opportunity to create a small industry to help a number of people to jobs'."

"Stig Göran, a successful racing driver and Swedish championship winner, was working on, was nothing less than an assembly factory for sports cars in Kälarne. And by Spring 1969 the results of his efforts were shown. With BMC parts, the English Mini was used as a base, four examples of the Mini Marcos were built here. The Ferrari-inspired sports car offered room for two, equipped with bodies of fibreglass and weighing just 420 kgs. A top speed of around 200 km/h was measured at test runs in the Kälarne area, using BMC's 1300cc 'S' engine."

"'Plans were even there to produce the larger Marcos 1600 model with its 100bhp engine', Stig Göran Salomonsson revealed in a newspaper. But it was never to be. On August 3, 1969, Salomonsson died in a boat accident."

"Today, early Marcos cars that were manufactured in England are sought after collectibles. The cars even have their own club. But what happened to the cars that were made in Kälarne? It is reported that more than four copies left the factory. Are there any left? This is what classic car enthusiasts in Sweden ask themselves, among them Sten Dahllöw, who sent in the question. Anyone who knows something can contact the Classic Motors editorial office."

That is surely interesting. Fact is there are several Mini Marcoses in Sweden. I noticed that the car seen in the newspaper clipping, wearing number 68 on its door, also wore a decal of Elmhorn-Troberg Racing Service of Stockholm and I remember seeing a Swedish Mini Marcos with that very same decal some years ago. So impossible to be one from Salomonsson's production line? This car was a Mk4, which raises more questions about its production. I have sent my pictures over to Motor Classic magazine, but would love to learn more.

From Classic Motor magazine of February 2019. 'Mini Marcos - sports cars from Jämtland'
Classic Motor magazine

A newspaper clipping of 50 years ago, mentioning Mini Marcos production in Sweden. But not in Stockholm. Note decal on its wing
Classic Motor magazine

Two more clippings from the article. 'Unfortunately these are too small to read and translate' wrote Rainier de Klark, who sent the magazine over from Sweden
Classic Motor magazine

Stig Göran Salomonsson started Mini Marcos production in Kälarne. He drove for the JönKöpings Motor Club and won the Swedish ice racing championship using a Mini
Classic Motor magazine

Swedish Mini Marcos seen in 2015 in Lithuania. Was this a Kälarne built car? 
Picture Jeroen Booij

I don't think it was, since this is a Mk4 version, which wasn't around before 1971. And so it can't have come to Sweden for Stig Göran Salomonsson, who died in 1969...
Picture Jeroen Booij

It does wear the Elmhorn-Troberg Racing Service AB decal, which was also importing the Mini Marcos to Sweden, possibly after Salomonsson died and his Kälarne workshop closed?
Picture Jeroen Booij

Elmhorn-Troberg, run by Bo Elmhorn was run in Stockholm. Lovely period brochure seen here. Kälarne-built car wears its decal, too, though. Did the two Swedish Mini Marcos concessionaires collaborate?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

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