MOT already?!

Time flies. MOT time & a very welcome pass! As usual the chaps at Altrincham Tyre and Exhaust were brilliant & took the time to point a few things out that I might want to look at sooner rather than later. Mainly wear & tear on the rear bushes, & suspension.

Also less than 1300 miles last year. Food for thought.

Gawsworth Youngtimers

Battery changed, car working. Chance conversation with a neighbour & it was off to the Youngtimers event at Gawsworth Hall on the last May Bank Holiday.

What a fantastic venue. No stalls or vendors, just cars parked around the amazing Gawsworth Hall itself. Plenty of nice motors (Ferrari etc) but also many less exotic classics. Everyone was up for a good chat in the sunshine.

Never having taken the Mantis to Gawsworth before, I was intrigued to be directed to the Chamomile Lawn, which turned out to be a great spot near the Panthers & Corvettes. Paul & Gilly, seasoned attendees, found me in their Mantula so we had a Marcos stand… Kind of! 🤣

Another ‘Grrrr’ at my electrical gremlins

Beautiful autumnal sunshine meant vehicle selection for a short trip to Manchester was a no brainer. I unhooked the CTEK battery charger & jumped in the Mantis, only to find that the car would not start. How can that be, with a CTEK trickle charger & an Optima Yellow Top that is meant to be able to withstand years over-wintering out on the Russian Steppes?! (Well, you know what I mean!). Anyway, not wanting to miss out on the drive I jump started the car with the Noco GB70 starter & headed out. Alas, when I stopped for fuel (it happens!) the car wouldn’t start again, which is a worry after an 8 mile drive. Wringing the last juice out of the Noco, I bailed on my trip & went home. A shame on such a lovely day & the end of a few (relatively) trouble free months. Now I need to find someone to help identify the parasitic drain on the battery, & also figure out why the CTEK charger isn’t doing the trick. I hope the Optima battery is not screwed as it was not cheap… Yikes. Anyway, tucking the car away for a while I guess. Oh well.

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Sunday lunch with the gang

A nice get together with some of the North West Marcos owners over Sunday lunch today, courtesy of the Fox & Hounds in Northwich. A good turn out with 17 of us but only one Marcos, & alas, it wasn’t my Mantis. The weather forecast was so bloody awful, everyone left their cars at home, but more fool us for trusting the Met Office’s £500 million super computer. Inevitably it was OK & I wish I had taken the Mantis. I must be getting soft in my old age. Anyway, great company & decent nosh so another triumph for Debbie Morrison, epic Marcos North West event organiser.

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Barry Martin In Memoriam

Down at Donnington Heritage circuit today, courtesy of a lovely bequest from Barry Martin who wanted some fellow Marcos owners to get together & have some fun when he was gone. Barry loved his Marcos, and had a few of them over the years, most recently an in-your-face green LM400. In fact, the car was guest of honour in the reception building – a nice gesture from the current owner. There must have been a good 30 plus cars there – a lot of familiar faces, & plenty of familiar cars. Some people I haven’t seen for ages, including Lynn Marsh, Dave & Mandy Chivers. Never enough time to properly catch up…

So, first time at the Donnington Heritage circuit. It’s cloudy with spells of light rain, so the circuit is damp but very little standing water. After the safety briefing we get a few laps of the circuit, one car at a time only. After a couple of sessions, I realised this was a great opportunity for my son, Bertie, to safely get behind the wheel & have his first drive of the car. He’s a pretty decent driver, but I think both of us were rather surprised! Anyway, he was up for it(!) & after a couple of very sensible questions about how the car drove, off we went with him in the driving seat. Suffice to say he was great, & the grin was well & truly worth it.

Having been unable to attend either annual rally this year, & failed dismally to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Mantis I thought it would be nice to get a group picture of the Mantis in attendance. You can see the results for yourself below (although the parking was a bit random). Inter-generational no less!

Mantis line up from Barry Martin’s Donnington day.
How many Mantis owners does it take to park in a straight line? Not this many apparently!

Barry… Thank you, & job done.

2022 Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace

What a marvellous weekend! Good company, cold beers, hot curry, sunshine & many, many rather splendid cars. Yes, it was finally time for the 2022 Concours of Elegance, held once again at the ever-impressive Hampton Court Palace.

On Friday afternoon & with no prospect of shutting the work laptop any time soon, it became obvious the car was not going to get the few hours cleaning it needed before heading off to London. Cue a quick search of local detailers (and I mean local! Nearest 500 yards!). Primewash did a decent job I think, given the time available.

Like a well oiled machine, I met up with The Morrisons at Knutsford Services around nine on Saturday morning, and by one o’clock we were parked up enjoying a cold beer in front of the White Hart Hotel, a stone’s throw from the Thames. The Essex mob rocked up shortly afterwards, which was an unexpected pleasure as they are a great bunch & I haven’t really seen them since the Le Mans trips a few years ago. Beers & a curry followed then bed & before you know it, it was show day! Whoohoo! It must have been a good night because Richard Partridge was not cleaning his car at 4 a.m on Sunday!!! (I genuinely checked). Blimey… Could it be The End of Days?

The fun starts with a catch up with the other owners at the staging area just inside Hampton Court Palace. A few new cars & faces to get to know. Also lovely to have a chat with the inimitable Jonathan Harmer, & the ‘other Oli’ with his (rather fetching) wife. Today the LMs outnumber the Mantis’ssssss, but that just makes them common in my book (which I may have mentioned in passing!). Not too much hanging around before we’re marshalled back out of the Palace grounds & a few hundred yards down the road to a different entrance. From there it’s into the Palace grounds again, past the Bentley owners club line-up and round the edge of the main car display to park up just in front of the Long Lake. A new location for us & ideal with the serious cars only a few steps away. Result!

The Marcos cars line up nicely, fourteen all told which is a good effort!

In hindsight, chronological order would have been better, but as it is my Mantis is next to the TSO which makes for an interesting visual comparison.

The weather holds, & after a few goodbyes it’s off back to Manchester, this time a solo effort as The Morrisons will be heading further south to Redline. Just under four hours later I am home. It has been a great weekend, albeit one without any family, but now time for some contented zeds.

A day at the races

Today was Gold Cup day at Oulton Park. This is now our North West Marcos event, having superseded Tatton Park following the idiocy of Mortons. Six cars made it in the end. It is more of a meet up than an opportunity for the public to see the cars together (which is a sha… I thought they looked awesome lined up, with so different models).

The forecast was intermittent rain & indeed I left home in the drizzle (top down, obviously 😁). Met up with the Morrisons at Lymm Truckstop then took the scenic route to the circuit. Despite a plot number on the vehicle display ticket, it was a complete free for all, & with the LM500 not very happy we just parked up near the conference building. Needless to say the good old Met Office ballsed it up again & the sun was soon beating down. Alas, I was too busy chatting to the other Marcos owners & watching a bit of racing, so with no sun cream with me, am now suitably beetroot faced. D’oh! Lovely to catch up with people though. I really must find someone to do the rear diff seal…

Cheshire meet

I still need to get the diff seal replaced so not jumping into the car at every opportunity as I normally would in the summer. That said, I went to a local classic car meet this evening. It was held at the Plough & Flail in Mobberley. I wasn’t aware of it previously so not sure how long it has been going. Basically a bunch of local owners parked up in the pub car park, having a chat & wandering around looking at each other’s cars.

An eclectic mix of old, new & very new.

There was a complete mix of cars (perhaps 20 or so?). Mainly Porsches including a couple of models I had never seen. Cheshire money! 🤣 I had a decent chat with a few owners & had some nice comments about the Mantis, which are always appreciated. I left after a couple of hours, with a pleasant drive home through Mobberley.

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MOT joy, leaky stuff & a trip to Wigan (but no pies)

And it’s an MOT pass again. Hurrah! Thank you to the ever-helpful chaps at Altrincham Tyre & Exhaust. Now to let the road tax direct debit kick in & look the other way… As AT&E had done some previous MOTs, the certificate included some previously annual mileages – a bit sobering to see just how few miles I have driven over the last few years. I miss those Le Mans trips, & the ‘quick run’ down to the Ace Cafe in London.

Whilst doing the MOT, AT&S spotted what looked like a leak from the front of the diff, which needed following up. With this in mind, I went to see Debbie & Darren Morrison in Wigan to borrow their ramp. This confirmed the leak, so I now need to find a garage who can fix this. In the meantime I thought I’d share the rather luxurious surroundings in which D&D keep their lovely purple LM500. ‘Home from home’ does not even begin to cover it… air-con for summer, heated in the winter, HiFi (& Wifi!). And to think the poor old Mantis is locked in with a lawnmower, some ladders & some (hopefully) dead mice!

A bit like being parked in someone’s living room!
Up, up & away. The Morrison’s rather nifty three tonne ramp.
Always a degree of trepidation when looking at the underneath of the car. Where does all the chassis protection go?!
In deep, meaningful conversation with Debbie. Note the awesome Cor Euser-signed wheel purple lit auto-sculpture table. Coolsville!

Self-opening door fixed, but… Ouch!

Well who knew that replacement door latches from the 1986-1989 Escort/Orion are like rocking-horse shit?! Getting a Google Whack when looking for replacement bits for your car is not a good thing! I finally bit the bullet & ordered an offside latch from Marcos Heritage Spares, but not cheap. You would think with it being from the Ford parts bin (& God knows how many Escorts & Orions they sold in the late eighties) there would be plenty but it seems thirty years ago is now considered ‘ancient’ in the world of car parts. Oh well! The local garage, Needhams, replaced the latch but was unable to swap out the striker bar as it is well & truly stuck in the bodyshell. The great news is that the problem seems to be fixed & I can go round corners without being tensed up to grab hold of my door on left hand bends or exiting roundabouts! Fingers crossed that is the last of this summer’s ‘hiccups’ & the car will pass its MOT to usher in some summer motoring.

The 1986-1989 Ford Escort/Orion door latch. Hard to source after 30 years…