The stripdown

It’s been far too long since my last update. Various home DIY projects have kept me away from the car for months. However I’m now able to spend some time to get back on-track.

I’ve been putting some work into developing my techniques for the eventual carbon fibre parts, but that’s a post for another day. No, what I’m doing now is preparing the car for a complete strip-down to the bare chassis.

Body-off progress

Progress is slow and deliberate. It involves finding and removing all of the self-tapping screws that attach the body as well as any other fittings that are attached to the chassis through the internal body tub GRP. One of the more alarming aspects of this process is to see just how rusty the lower chassis rails are. That’s a surprise as the car has never been on the road. It was just stored in a damp garage for 14 years or so.

Many of the screws were rusted in place and would not move whatever I tried. So I got myself an excellent DeWalt impact driver which has already paid for itself on numerous jobs. All but one screw came out in a matter of seconds. The impact driver is also compact enough that I could remove all six screws on the parcel shelf under the rear screen without a problem. I’m so pleased that I could avoid removing the screen or cutting the GRP around the screw.

The big clean-up

I love working on the Marcos most of the time, but the current task is pure drudgery. Very messy too… I’ll explain – When I originally built the Mantula, I used the supplied sound deadening felt. I was finding it difficult to make it stick on reliably. So, following the advice of an experienced car upholsterer I stuck it on with some sort of black tar-like glue.  It did a great job of keeping the felt in place, but all these years later how do I get rid of it? It seems to soften with a suitable solvent, but I don’t want to damage the GRP, the best I have found so far is paint brush cleaner. But it just takes forever to clean up the black gloopy mess. The smell is nasty too.

However it will eventually all be gone so I will be able to work inside the car. Unfortunately this is still going to be a destructive process as I remove all of the ‘permanent’ modifications that I made during the original build.


I have to admit that the build quality of my Mantula was deeply disappointing. I’m sure the body panel alignment on my car is worse than  any other.  Back in that first summer of ownership when the reality of Marcos ownership dawned on me I was close to despair. Nothing fitted properly and many parts were just unusable. The plywood frame that supported the dash board was lose where the grp matting had missed the plywood completely!

Worse than any of that was the state of the GRP layup. In several places there was no glass matting, just gelcoat and resin! As you can expect these areas didn’t survive very long. So I had to repair them in the best way I could.  Unfortunately my repairs were not as good as I expected, so I will have to rework them. The worst areas were the drivers side scuttle gutter and the  centre of the front spoiler.

Scuttle gutter missing
Scuttle gutter missing

In the picture above you can see where a large section of the gutter is missing. Doing a proper invisible repair won’t be easy.

Oh well, back to cleaning off the glue, more soon…



Marcos Mantula: the never ending build…

Welcome to my Mantula blog.

After far too many years in storage the Mantula moves slowly into the sunshine.

Mantula emergesIt’s time to re-start the build of this beautiful car. This weekend I pulled off its dust sheets and pumped up the tyres. Then moved it out into the fresh air. Its great to see it again after so many years. But it does look terribly neglected. I really should have taken better care of it.

So the good news is that the tyres still look good and it was easy enough to move around.  So it should be relatively simple to transport the car to my garage/workshop.

The bad news is that the car has been home to mice, so the sound proofing is in a sorry state. There is corrosion on the frame where  the Hammerite paint has given up. The engine must surely be in a bad way too as the protective cap on the Holley carburettor has been eaten, perhaps by those mice?

Otherwise it’s much as I left it in 1999.  There is much work to be done, and I can’t wait to get started.