Hardly the best known of British sports coupe makes of the Sixties, Marcos was the brainchild of Jem Marsh and Frank Costin- the company’s title a neat play on words on the joint founder’s surnames.

Both Marsh and Costin had a long pedigree in the UK car industry, Marsh a technician at Firestone Tyres, while Costin was an aircraft designer and engineer who had worked on the De Havilland Mosquito fighter-bomber during World War II and in the post-war years acted as a consultant at the Lotus motor company.

In 1959, Marsh founded Speedex Casting & Accessories Ltd with the intention of supplying parts and fibreglass body shells to other companies in the car industry.

Marcos first began production in a makeshift plant in Dolgellau, North Wales, in 1959, later moving to more extensive and exotic premises, a converted mill in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire in 1963.


The design of the first Marcos vehicle was penned by Costin: a two-seater with a different sort of “T–body” construction.

The body was crafted not in metal but of marine plywood and fibreglass, atop a composite chassis, using techniques gained during his time spent at De Havilland.

The first Marcos was powered by a 1.0-litre British Ford engine, capable of generating a top speed of around 120 mph.

This was thanks to the car’s lightweight and aeuro-dynamic design, characterised by its gullwing doors and "cycle" fenders.

After a period spent solely on going around the racing circuit, Marsh and Costin decided that the time was right to introduce a production version this time with full fenders.

The launch of the production version of the first Marcos was celebrated by the launch of Marcos Cars Ltd. in 1962.

Initially, all of the cars came in kit form rather than fully-assembled, following in the same footsteps as Marsh’s mentor, Colin Chapman of Lotus.


Realising that their strong suit might not have been in the design department, Marsh and Costin brought in the talented Adams brothers, Dennis and Peter.

The first fruits of their efforts came in 1963 with the launch of the classic 1800 -to considerable acclaim.

The 1800 was the only full-sized coupe produced by Marcos during the Sixties, although the Marsh and Cortin squeezed the maximum from the design, offering a choice of engines ranging from 1500cc to 3000cc.

With the Mini- Marcos launched in 1965. Marsh and Costin succeeded in capturing the mood of the mid-Sixties perfectly.

By 1970, after a long battle, Marcos coupes were made available in the U.S, although the car’s success was stunted as they failed to meet the rapidly tightening federal vehicle regulations.

With Marsh and Costin's energies beginning to flag, a change of ownership came in 1975, allowing production of the Mini-Marcos to continue as late as 1981.