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  Marcos GT Xylon      

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1959 - 1960
Numbers built:9
Designed by:Frank Costin
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:August 22, 2019
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn 1959, successful Clubman racer and producer of go-fast components Jem Marsh and former Vanwall and Lotus designer Frank Costin teamed up to form Marcos. Considering Marsh his background, it was not surprising that the first car created by the partnership was intended for the popular Clubman class. Thanks to Costin's input, the new Marcos GT was, however, far from conventional.

Taking a page from his background as an aeronautical engineer, Costin created a chassis that was constructed from a laminated plywood known as Marine Ply. The separate sections were joined together using a synthetic adhesive. The result was a full length monocoque that was lighter and more rigid than a conventional steel chassis. The suspension was bolted to reinforced sections of the monocoque. This was made up of double wishbones at the front and a live rear axle.

Customers were offered a choice of a Ford or BMC four-cylinder engine. The most common choice was a modified Ford 105E Anglia 'four', which was mated to a four-speed gearbox that was also sourced from Ford. Fitted with a pair of Weber carburettors, the 997cc Ford engine produced around 85bhp. Stopping power was provided by hydraulic drums on all four corners as standard, while front discs brakes were available as an option.

A true monocoque design, the chassis doubled as the main structure of the body as well. The original design featured separate cycle-fenders at the front in true Clubman fashion. Later cars sported full-width bodies. All removable sections like the 'gull-wing' doors and the engine cover were constructed from fibreglass. The new Marcos boasted an unusually tall and very distinct roof line. The front windshield consisted of four separate pieces.

The new car was appropriately dubbed the Marcos GT Xylon, which was Greek for wood. It was sold through Marsh's Speedex Castings and Accessories ltd. company and available as a complete car or a kit. Although road legal, the lightweight and somewhat unusual Xylon was best suited to the racing track. One even gave a young Jackie Stewart his first break in racing.

It is believed just nine examples of the original Xylon were built in 1959 and 1960. It was replaced by increasingly more conventional cars, although the unique laminated plywood chassis was retained. The Xylon remains as the very first Marcos built and was also used as a crucial stepping stone in the career of a driver who would become a three-time World Champion.

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  Article Image gallery (21) 1003 Specifications User Comments (1)