Monday, February 22, 2016

Honda CBR Power? 1961 Mini Marcos

The Mini Marcos (driven by Jean-Louis Marnat and Claude Ballot-Lena) was the only British car that was still running when the checkered flag dropped on the '66 24 Hours of Le Mans...which is odd because typically kit-cars don't run in prestigious French races.  However, the Austin Mini based classic transcends the normal label applied to kit-cars and is a great way to get into something rare/cool without dipping into your 401k.  Find this 1961 Mini Marcos offered for $10,000 in Escondido, CA via craigslist.  Tip from Otto Nobedder.

The Mini Marcos puts a fiberglass monocoque over a Mini subframe/running gear and retains the Mini front engine/front drive setup.  This one, however, has gone over to the dark side, and was recently powered by a 1 liter Honda CBR bike engine pushing around the rear wheels...but the custom rear bike engine setup has been removed and it is being prepped to return to BMC A-series power. A few pics of the car when it was in better shape can be seen here, and here.

 The seller includes the motorcycle engine setup and a souped up A-series engine that needs to be assembled...however the seller causally mentions that the motorcycle setup retains the stock fuel tank, so you theoretically could build a twin-engine monster...good luck trying to figure out how to operate a twin stick/clutch setup while going deaf.

 See a cooler bike powered car?


  1. These look so good from some angles...other angles? meh
    Anyone ever seen one in person?

  2. They are a hoot to drive. It is also easy to climb into one and instantly see how well the original mini interior was designed.

    Small is a great way to describe these. This comes from a guy that feels comfortable in a lotus Europa and se7en (Birkin).

    I agree that it looks good from some angles and unbalanced from others. My take is that it is so small they could not extend the curves to make it look right.

  3. I'm the new owner - we're rebuilding it to A-series with a pedestrian mostly-stock Metro lump. The rear floor has been replaced and a bunch of stuff usual to Marcos has been repaired or updated.
    The CBR engine was/is a robust 1st gen and was reputed to have been a chain chucking head melting deafening monster. THe front suspension WAS mostly metro with all sorts of terrible geometry and the rear swingarms were lengthened, discs added and heavy as hell. Many of the bike-engine issues were simply that it was a terrible idea: Super-short chains in cars tend to overheat, and this one was both too short and mis-aligned. CBR engines are rated for downwards positive gee (a bike leans and ONLY runs vertical if you think of it) and so engine oiling in turns is typically horrid with a subsequent lack of longevity...
    Follow progress at my Fbook:

  4. - forgot to specify that the suspension ailments were addressed with fully adjustable std mini stuffs.


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