Tuesday 15th April 1930
Born on this day, Jeremy George Weston “Jem” Marsh, engineer, motor manufacturer and race driver. He is perhaps best known as a co-founder of the sports-car manufacturer Marcos in 1959, the name being derived from a contraction of his and fellow founder Frank Costin’s surnames. Within a year, the pair produced the first Marcos GT cars and they took the world of motor racing by storm and were unlike anything anyone had seen before. They had gullwing doors, a high roof – because Jem was taller than most – and a four-piece split windscreen. They were affectionately nicknamed ‘the Ugly Ducking’, but they were fast, and with Jackie Stewart racing in them, along with Jem himself, the firm quickly developed a reputation. The following year, Frank Costin left the design team and a new team led by Jem modified the designs. Over time, the firm produced a string of fast cars that were mostly sold for racing, but some were for anyone who wanted an unusual sports car. They were unique – the seat was fixed but the pedals were moveable, unlike any other car on the market at the time.A move to Westbury in 1971 came with higher costs, and the firm was sold and then ceased trading during the early 1970s as the recession of the time began to bite. In 1976, Jem bought back the name and then in the 1980s, he got the firm back up and running, producing a series of iconic sports cars like the Mantula and an instantly recognisable convertible called a Spyder. The firm produced around 70 cars a year throughout the 1990s, under the control of Mr Marsh’s son Chris, but by 2000 production ceased again, although it was resurrected by Canadian backers until the final one was made in 2007.