Wednesday, 1 July 2020

1967 Mini Marcos works cars - a conclusion

A lot has happened since I wrote this article last week. And it looks that I may well have judged too soon in writing that the white Marcos in Japan has to be the 1967 Le Mans car. Could the one in Zimbabwe be that after all? I would not have believed it last week, but I'm looking at the matter now with a different view. But then I did not know then what I do know now.

First of all I have now seen pictures of the Zimbabwe car prior to its mid-1990s restoration. And it certainly looks as if it once had a modified roof / windscreen. That still makes it very odd for a second (works) car to have this, too. So, apart from several smaller details that will need to be fitted in, the main question was - and still is - could the '67 Le Mans sister car have had a similar modified windscreen / roof, too? I decided the only way to properly check this was to order all the photographs that I have of the two cars, put them in chronological order and see if a conclusion can be drawn from there. 

So here we go - a selection of these pictures is seen below. Still perhaps an overwhelming number of them, so if you are not the kind of anorak that I have become on this subject by this time, please ignore them. Oh - I have called the 1967 Le Mans Mini Marcos and the FLIRT ladies team Mini Marcos simply the green car and yellow car respectively - just to simplify things a little.

Castle Combe Easter Monday 27 March 1967
Green car seen in the paddock
Note aluminium front end and sills. Just two rear lights. Odd shaped SU holes in bonnet

Castle Combe Testing with FLIRT ladies - This must be late March or early April 1967 I believe.
Green car
Still looks the same as above

Le Mans Essais (Le Mans Test weekend) 7-9 April 1967
Green car - Racing number 51
Note that aluminium bits are now painted green. Now triple rear lights. Front arches widened

Nurburgring 1000 Kilometers - 28 May 1967
Green car and yellow car now both entered - Racing numbers 56 and 55
Note that yellow car has similar aerodynamic nose, but not the sills 
Rear spats removed on green car half way during race

Le Mans 24 hours race - 10 & 11 June 1967
Green car - Racing number 50
Windscreen is famously converted overnight by Marcos' mechanics Mike Treutlein and Mike Garton to apply to the ACO rules
Spats seen only pre-race

Mugello - 23 July 1967
Green car and yellow car both entered - Racing numbers 20 & 24
Windscreen of yellow car is now suddenly also modified

Sicily Summer 1967
Green car - Racing number 14
Possibly on the Targa Florio?

Nurburgring 500 Kilometers race - 3 September 1967
Green car and yellow car both entered - Racing numbers 21 & 20
Both windscreens clearly modified, yellow car's screen can be seen polished by Jem Marsh in pit street

Phoenix Park, Ireland - September 1967. 
Green car and yellow car both entered. Yellow car Racing number 47
No pictures of the green car known

Kyalami 9 hours race - 4 November 1967
Green car - Racing number 27
Still very few changes on the car

November 1967 - advertisement
Yellow car 
Now offered for sale by Marcos Cars Components - windscreen remains in its modified state
Photo used for ad taken on Nurburgring 500 kms in September
Ad mentions that car is entered for five races but I only know of four

December 1967. Pietermaritzburg 3-hours race
Green car - Racing number 20
Now repainted?

UPDATE 2 September 2020: Yes, it was repainted, now in blue with a yellow stripe and checker. Colour picture found by reader Alexander Trimmel here.

1968, exact date and venue unknown but in Africa. Driver is Peter Kat
Green car (now blue with yellow stripe and black checker) - Racing number 47

Kyalami 9-hours race - 9 november 1968
Green car - Racing number 25
Note added spot lights

Macau Grand Prix 1969 - 16 november 1969
Yellow car - Racing number 73
Following the ad the car is sold to Macau. Note that aerodynamic nose is now gone. Supposedly still yellow in colour but now with a broad dark racing stripe

So... what to conclude from all this? Despite the late Mike Garton saying this: "The bodywork for the two cars was all GRP including the new front section and rear wheel spats. NO aluminium was ever used until the ACO insisted the screen height had to be increased on the Le Mans entry. Achieved on HHU 34D only", it seems that he was wrong after all. The modified nose of at least the green car certainly seemed to have been made in aluminium. Apart from that the modified windscreen / roof was not on the green car alone either. The yellow car was modified similarly somewhere between 10 June and 23 July 1967.

That's one. But there is more. I understand the car in Japan has yellow paint underneath its white coat, making it almost certain the former FLIRT car coming from Macau to Japan in the 1970s. So the rumour that it is still in the FLIRT-family in the UK (the Cooks or Bond-Smiths) simply has to be false. The green car in Zimbabwe had its roof modified at one stage, or so it seems from pictures of the mid-1990s, making it no more than logical that this must have been the 1967 Le Mans car after all. There are still some mysteries, too. It seems that the two bonnets may have been swapped over as the one with the oddly-shaped holes is now on the yellow car, not on the green one. Furthermore the green car wears a very early Mk1 chassis number which seems very illogical, too, as it clearly is a Mk2 car. 

I'd want to conclude with that for now and will update my earlier articles on this matter. But who knows what else comes to the light... 

One final note: the pictures that I have used come from a wide variety of sources, not just my own files. I thought it was worth doing that and, for a change, haven't named all the sources as I usually do below each picture. It would make the article less readable I believe. But do let me know if you want to take credit for one of them as I'd be happy to give you that! I'd like to thank or credit here: Denzil Bhana, British Pathe, Gerard Boulin, Carros Classicos de Macau, Chris Marsh Classics, Leon Daniels, Joost van Dien, Karsten Gartner, Volker Holz, John Phillips, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Martyn Spurrell, Klaus Tweddell, Bunzo Yasuda and of course the Mini Marcos Owners Club.

Oh! And if you enjoy what I do here on Maximum Mini and would like to help me continue, then I would very much appreciate a donation towards keeping this blog going. Click here.


  1. Great work, I love this sort of thing too. ����

  2. In terms of styling it is a pity Marcos never considered redesigning the rear to look more aesthetically pleasing, similar to say the Ogle SX1000 or the Pininfarina / ADO35 Mini Coupe, even if uncertain how it would positively or negatively affect the Mini Marcos's aerodynamics had the rear been tided up and rounded off.

  3. Am I the only one who wants to know what YOUR car is, JB?

    1. I am a very happy Saab driver! But I do own a Marcos too...