1962 Marcos Luton Gullwing

We all know about Mercedes’ Gullwing, but how many of us have heard of the Marcos Gullwing? Or even Marcos for that matter? Well, dont feel bad, there were only 13 of these ever built and most were used for racing. This one has been in storage since 1986 and the previous owner has since passed away so it is time to find someone who can tackle the restoration it deserves.

We were contacted by the person who is assisting with the sale of this historic racer. Here is what they had to say:

This is one of 5 surviving 1962 Marcos GTs (aka Luton Gullwing). The car is one of 12/13 (depends who you believe) built while the firm was located in Luton. It has the Costin designed chassis from Xylon with a refined body from the Adams brothers. Power was provided by a 116E push-rod Ford, though other cars were powered by 105E and 109E engines. Most of these cars were built for racing and this is one of two known to have been road legal.  It spent its early life as personal transport for the wife of Jem Marsh (Marcos co-founder). It was sold at the end of 1963 and sent to Canada where Barry Webb campaigned it for the better part of 1964.

The car was involved in an incident at the Harewood chicane later that year which resulted in front end damage. This ended its racing career and while the car was repaired (abet not very well) it saw no further action and was acquired as a derelict in 1986. By this time the chassis was suffering from terminal dry rot. A replacement chassis was started and is complete except for the front suspension.

The car uses Standard Ten rear axles and has Triumph Herald front suspension. The front suspension having been damaged in the crash presented a problem that in a pre-internet world was hard to resolve. This stalled the rebuild and with the death of the owner, work ceased. Over the years the owner had found both 105E and 109E engines, most of the gauges (believed to be Triumph), and had a new bonnet delivered from Sweden. Extensive research was done to determine the car’s early history, documentation, and plans were amassed to complete the rebuild. The car was originally a deep teal blue color with a red interior. Early in its racing life it was repainted light green

Unfortunately, this is how the Marcos looks today. The airplane inspired construction is clearly visible here. A thin layer of metal was stretched over a wooden structure to create a very lightweight car. It is going to take a boat load of money and a carpenter to get this one put back together, but we feel the investment would be well justified considering the uniqueness, rarity, and history of this Gullwing. The car is located in Oakville Canada and you can contact Martyn for more information if you are interested in saving this old racer. Here is some inspiration to help you get motivated…

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Comments

  1. Tom Greenacres

    Isn’t very pretty, is it? Even if fancied up, it’ll still be an ugly duckling, afraid of termites.

  2. Dan Farrell

    You have to love them for being different. I remember a Marcos GT a long time ago.

  3. scottski

    For that time frame, they were lovely little cars. A shrunken E-type.
    Morgan loved their wood frames, too… but, having to consider splinters in a road collision is… concerning.

    I hope it gets put back together, though.
    It’s probably a riot to drive… and English Ford drive-trains are bulletproof.

    Like 1
  4. Robert J

    Oooooh Yeeeaah! This is just the sort of car I like to find in my inbox.

    Like 1
  5. Rancho Bella

    I want a late sixties Marcos GT……….reeeel pretty in person.

    • Rancho Bella

      Did I miss the price…..rule of buying……..no price no call

      • Barn Finds

        I believe they are looking for offers over $9k. Here is another project Gullwing which sold for £11,872 at auction in October.

  6. rallyman

    I cannot express how MUCH I want this!!! Alas sanity reigns o’re me…
    Dammit.

  7. Lori

    Love that long front end and kicked-back cab. Sweet!

  8. gord

    oakville not oakland
    ontario

  9. Dolphin Member

    There were a few different models of Marcos cars, and this is one of the rarest and maybe most unique with the gullwing doors in addition to the plywood chassis. I knew a guy years ago in Vancouver who bought one in Europe and imported it into Canada. It was one of the most exotic looking cars in a city full of exotic cars. Lots of people really liked it even tho almost none of then knew what it was. A large part of that appeal came from the aerodynamic look, which was contributed by Frank Costin—the ‘cos’ part of the name—who excelled at aerodynamic car design.

    The plywood chassis is a very serious problem if it gets damaged because you are looking at doing a lot of work to rebuild it to the point of restoring its structural integrity. From the photos and description I would be very cautious on this one unless you know what you are doing with these particular cars.

    BTW, its possible that this car is in Oakville, Ontario, Canada and not Oakland, Canada. There is an Oakland but it is a very small community in Manitoba surrounded by 10,000 acre farms. Since Ontario has a large British car fan base, it’s possible this is in Oakville, which is a large and wealthy city. Any potential buyers should check that out, because these two places are more than 2000 kms (1200 miles) apart.

  10. Barn Finds

    You guys are right, it’s Oakville. Thanks for catching that. Most people don’t get this one, but I personally thought it was one of the most exciting finds we have had in a while.

  11. Martyn

    Let’s start with Price. Asking for offers over $9000. If interested e-mail me here.

    The car is in Oakville Ontario, just west of Toronto. (Not Oakland Ontario – which is south of Brantford and east of Scotland – an no where near Manitoba)

    Rallyman is quite correct, this is a “mad” car. Question is; are you “mad” enough to buy it?

    I am selling the car for the widow of a good (yes “mad”) friend. I would buy it myself except that I can’t afford the ‘Shrinks’ and the divorce lawyers.

  12. Chris

    The first Marcos I encountered caught my eye both as to it’s shape and just how low it sat. It looked like you had to lie down to drive it. Thin aluminum sheeting bonded to plywood is an aircraft skin material called Alclad. de Haviland mad extensive use of it in their twin engine Hornet and Sea Hornet for wing skins stressed to 10gs.

  13. FRED

    COULD YOU BUILD A METAL CHASSIS FOR THIS POOR OLD CAR ??

  14. Jason

    There is so an Oakland ont, it’s near brantford ont, you know , home of Wayne Gretski .

  15. Rancho Bella

    Fred,
    I would stay with the plywood, perhaps marine grade. The car is so rare (IMO) it would be imperative it remind a authentic as possible. I am hooked on this car……to bad I don’t have the talent it would take. They make mention of pulling a thin sheet of metal over the wood……….I can’t even make a hospital corner on my bed……….

  16. Martyn

    Fred, putting a metal chassis on the car is rather like taking a Ferrari and converting to a Fiero. There was a little metal cladding in the engine bay to protect against heat, but that’s it.

  17. Martyn

    This car has been sold to the UK. Buyer had previous knowledge of the car and was quick to get in once the UK auction for #13 had taken place. I am told there are 5 survivors, this is soon to return to better shape so if you are interested keep watching. I hope one day to get behind the wheel – new owner permitting.

  18. Webby

    Lucas electics & wood & fuel. Not a good mix, IMHO.

  19. klaus

    six of these plywood-breed are still alive, one in sweden, two in uk, one in canada, one in austria, one in germany. the oldest survivor is in germany, built already in late 1961 . three of the six are running and racing still today. powered by ford precrossflow small capacity-engines, they are still very competitive, weight about 500kg. the chassis is a very radical leyout, came originally from frank costin, but was even improved by dennis adams, as he refused the input of any metal support frame, so you have only 3mm thick plywood between front and rear axle, the only metal components in between are engine/gearbox and prop-shaft, brake-tubes and some electric cables…if the car is maintained with care, it will not suffer from any damp, as the plywood is cooking-resistent lamination, it even likes a bit of wet.

  20. Bob Egginton

    Hi Martyn. Sorry to come to this late but only just stumbled on it. I knew this car when Barry Webb had it in fact I looked after it when it first came to Canada and before Barry’s brother in law (Dave Punchard?) crashed it. Could you tell me who now owns it if it is in the UK as I would like to be reunited with it if possible.
    Regards
    Bob Egginton.

  21. LARRY Meadows

    The car is now joined by John Sutton, who now has commissioned me to finish the restoration. I retrieved the car from Virginia, where it was going to be done but the person died prior to its arrival.
    The front suspension is being prepared for installation and the engine mount and supports are being fabricated for the new engine.
    Regards,
    LARRY

  22. Bob Egginton

    Hello Larry
    Thanks for replying to my email. I find all this very interesting given my previous connection to the car. I have in fact got a photograph of it and Barry outside my home at the time in Oakville in 1964. It was at the time blue as previously stated. I remember much of the early history as I worked on the car during much of its early racing life. I was asked for help as Barry knew I had previously helped to look after the Hind/Prior Le Mans Marcos here in the UK. Thanks again for getting in touch and I look forward to making contact again. Where is the car now? Regards Bob.

    • Larry Meadows

      See picture of right rear quarter panel after attaching plywood skins.

      Regards,
      Larry

    • Larry Meadows

      Bob,
      If you will send an email address I will send some pictures to you as well.

      Regards,
      Larry

  23. Martyn Ridley

    Pleased to see the car is again being worked on. My assumption Larry is that you are working with the chassis Dave McCubbin built. From what I pieced together, it is Chassis 5, the one John took the plate from (to escape it being impounded by the receiver) before it came out to Canada. The importer did not register the car, had no recollection of there being a chassis plate and if there was, it did not survive the accident. This car was used as a road car in the UK. Good luck on the restoration, much was missing, many of the parts you got were collected by Dave over they years and some will not be correct. I think it requires a Cortina Classic engine, but that was our best guess. There was no engine or gearbox when Dave got the car.

    Please keep me posted, photos would be nice!

    Cheers,
    Martyn

  24. Larry Meadows

    Here is a picture of the right rear quarter.

    • Larry Meadows

      I will try again.

  25. Larry Meadows

    Martyn,
    Send me an email address and I will send some pictures.
    Regards,
    Larry

    • friend wood

      Hello Larry,would you mind sending some pictures of the chassis build please?

      Kind regards,Friend.

  26. Bob Egginton

    Hello Larry, I have attached a picture of the Marcos outside the house where I lived in Oakville in the early 60’s. The picture was taken only a few days after the car was collected from the docks in Toronto where it had been shipped from England. The fellow sitting on the lawn behind my Sprite is Barry Webb the cars original owner and importer. The photograph was taken on Kodachrome 64 and has been kept in the dark for many years before I uploaded it here, so the color is pretty near spot on. Barry drove the car about for a couple of days with his brother in law’s MG license plates fitted so that he could get used to the car. This led to an amusing incident which I will relate if you would like to give me your personal email address.

    The black and white picture on the Barn Find site is of Barry driving the car at its first race at Harewood. The event was run by the Deusche Automobile Club who took a very funny attitude towards the then unknown Marcos and refused to accept that it would be faster than the rest of the field which consisted mainly of Porsches. As a result they insisted that the car start from the back of the grid. Barry, who was a very good driver was somewhat incensed by this but had no option but to accept it. The result was that Barry was leading at the end of lap one and proceeded to lap the entire field, much to the embarrassment of the organisers. Our whole team went to the prize giving banquet after the event and made much too much noise when it became our turn to pick up a cup.

    An amusing incident occurred when the car was imported. Because somebody had written on the import papers that the chassis was made of wood the Department of Agriculture was called to examine it, presumably in case it had any nasty Beatles or something in it. When we got to the docks the car was standing all on its own in the middle of a large warehouse with a rather puzzled looking official who, after some acid comments about people wasting his time, signed the forms to set it free.

    I would really like to see some pictures of the Marcos now and I would like to know how you are getting on with it and who knows perhaps one day meet up with it again. If in the mean time you require any help with getting parts let me know, well over fifty years in the motor racing business has given me plenty of contacts.

    Best Regards,
    Bob

    • klaus tweddell

      what a great story , thank you vrey much for this, and included a picture of earliest period, nice document. Quite interesting to hear hat AvD ran motorsport events in Canada, never heard of that…why. wasn´t there a canadian organisation.?

    • John Sutton

      After much research the car has turned out to be an Assymetric Llanberis chassis which makes it the prototype Gullwing, the other being the Prior Le Mans car. Work by Larry Meadows has been progressing very well and the wood chassis is all but finished. Work starts on making new moulds for the fiberglass structure in November 2015.

      • Josh Staff

        That’s awesome John! If you get a chance, please share some photos of the progress! We would love to see how it’s coming along.

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