Marcos Mantara LM600 #71 – Spark

Mantara
1995 Marcos Mantara LM600
Pilots: C. Marsh, D. Leslie, F. Migault
Team: Team Marcos
Race: DNC (GT2) at Le Mans in 1995
Spark - S0782 (resin) 

Published 03/05/20

Founded by Jem Marsh and Frank Costin, Marcos Engineering began producing sports cars in 1959. The GT Xylon (“Ugly Duckling”) was their first car, with nine coming out of their North Wales factory. A few other models came out during the 60s, and probably the most successful was the 1800 GT. However, by the 70s things turned for the worse. With difficulties exporting their cars and an ill-advised move to expensive new premises, Marcos declared bankruptcy in 1972. Jem Marsh resurrected the brand in 1981, and offered the old GT model as a kit. In 1983 they started developing new cars, like the Mantula and Martina. Things were going forward, and in 1992 they dropped the kit cars and released the Mantara. The Mantara was a technical leap forward, with McPherson suspension and Rover V8 engine. Subsequently, in 1993 the company decided to get back to GT racing.

Mantara
I wasn’t a big fan of the Mantara, but this looks GREAT!

With racing in mind, Marcos needed an homologation special. Therefore, they released the LM400 (3.9-liter V8), LM500 (5-liter V8) and LM600 (6-liter V8). Marcos produced four of the Mantara LM600, all powered by a 6130 cm³ small block Chevrolet V8. A fairly unsophisticated engine, with SOHV and 16 valves, but rated at 529 hp, connected to a 5-speed gearbox. The chassis was a steel space frame, covered by a carbon fiber composite body. At Le Mans in 1995 the factory had two LM600 in the race, but interestingly with 6300 cm³ engines. Unfortunately, LM600 #70 (chassis #9501) abandoned with electrical failure and car #71 (chassis #9502) had too many issues. With that, it only completed 184 laps and DNC. The LM600 would race again at La Sarthe in 1996 and 1997, but in 2000 Marcos was bankrupted. Again.

Though kind of busy, the livery is Britishly discreet.

The Mantara LM600 is a beautiful car from a troubled brand and with an unlucky race history. Though revived in 2002, the brand was in business until 2007, and once again, declared bankruptcy. With current globalization and scale economy it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll see another Marcos. However, in scale it’s still around. Well, not easily found, mind you, but still available.I got lucky and found this #71 for a reasonable price. Your regular-10-year-old Spark, so a pretty nice model. Basically, as good as my Morgan Aero 8 GT and TVR Tuscan. So all in all a pretty neat find.

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