If you’re going to be in the Boston area on the weekend of June 22nd and 23, and you’re in desperate need of a classic car fix, you can’t do much better than British Car Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline. Every year the museum hosts more than two dozen lawn events which bring together cars and car fans from all over New England, and one of its most popular lawn events happens to be British Car Day. And it is one of the few events in the country where you have a chance of seeing some truly rare British machinery, like this 1970 Marcos GT.
Not exactly what pops into your mind when you think of a GT from Olde England, is it? The Marcos GT is a rare beast, no question about it. The company was founded as a kit car manufacturer in 1959 by Jim Marsch and Frank Costin. Their first car was called the Xylon, which looked approximately how the name sounded: like it came from outer space. And not the sleek, trendy sectors of outer space, but quite unappealing ones depicted in John Carpenter films. But their next car, the GT, was a resounding hit.
The GT was first shown at Earl’s Court in 1963, and was extremely well received. The GT used a Volvo 2 liter engine in its home market, but for export markets the car utilized a Volvo 3.0 liter 6-cylinder B30 engine. But even with the 2.0 liter unit the car had no problems lighting up the rear tires, as it hardly weighed anything with its fiberglass body over a wood structure.
Speaking of Earl’s Court, why don’t we have cool names for venues for our car shows anymore? The British have Earl’s Court, we have Cobo. Which rhymes with only one thing. Well, two things actually, but I wasn’t thinking of “bobo”.
In America, the Marcos GT was sold through the US Volvo dealership network in 1970 and 1972. A Marcos GT, in the same color as this example, happened to be featured on the cover of Car and Driver magazine in their December 1970 issue, with the headline “Mothers, hide your daughters! Marcos has arrived.” Marcos had indeed arrived, but sales were not anything that the Big Three, or even Morris Garages, had to worry about. A total of about 150 examples were sold through Volvo dealers in the two years that the car was offered in the US.
This example from 1970 is owned by Philip Perron, who took it to British Car Day at Larz Anderson in 2012. This car was pretty much in excellent condition throughout, and you’ve just got to love that orange paint. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this color looks great on almost every car from the 1970s, especially a small European one. Cadillac Coupe deVille – not so much.
This year’s British Car Day will take place on June 23rd at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts, just a few minutes southwest of Boston. Be there, or be square.
Browse the full gallery from last year below:
[Images: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Jay Ramey]