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Thread: Trials memories and the future

  1. #1 Trials memories and the future 
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    Hi all,

    I finally became a Marlin owner six weeks ago, but as this is the culmination of a 40 year interest in these cars, I thought it might be interesting to share some memories.

    My late father owned numerous 'interesting' cars including a couple of TR2s, Morgan 3 wheeler, multiple Imps, Minors, Heralds, Midgets etc, some before I was born and some when I was a kid, plus latterly a Riley 9 Kestrel and MG PA which are still in the family. From 1981 onwards he marshalled on the MCC Edinburgh Trial, pretty much every year until around 1996 when he started to compete, including a couple of seasons in the O-series engine Marlin MNF656W now owned by the Murrell family.

    As a 10 year old in 1981 I was taken along and thereafter marshalled on numerous Edinburghs, plus a couple of Exeter and Lands End trials, so I was well and truly bitten by the bug at a young age...

    There are certain trials cars of that era which I'll never forget, including a chain gang Frazer Nash (which now go for £100k plus...), the cream Singer 9 'Buttercup' and a muscular Ford V8 Special called 'The Beast'. I can still vividly remember some of the early trials Marlins turning up in the early 80s and thinking how well styled they were, clearly influenced by 1930s Alfas but not in an overly obvious way in the manner of some 'replica' kit cars. Retro, but with a distinct style of their own which I loved.

    Over the following years it was clear that the Marlin was becoming an increasingly popular and effective trials machine and it was great to see so many, not all of which were red in colour! My father, uncle and brother all shared my liking for the car and when we started to compete in the late 1990s it didn't take long for my dad to convert from a VW Beetle to the Marlin mentioned above. He only ran it for a couple of seasons and found long distance trials and the inevitable damage/repairs a bit wearing, so moved back to the world of pre-war cars and restored his P Type MG, but I did get to drive the Marlin quite extensively.

    Fast forward another 20 years and following 3 house moves, 3 children and setting up a business I finally find myself in a position to buy a Marlin, almost on a whim at first - but then I have a 15 year old and a 17 year old who both hope for careers in design or engineering, so I felt that having a kit car to play with might be good for them..... OK, that's just a lame excuse, I'm almost 50 and I wanted a red sports car!!!

    Overall, it's brilliant - of course it's not perfect and I'll definitely be trying to sort out the front suspension geometry to give more caster, plus replace the 185/70/13 tyres with something taller on 14" rims (I have MGF steel spares which work well with a 6mm spacer on the front) with a view to doing some PCTs initially and a long term idea to maybe do some classic trials. But having been lucky enough to own/drive/compete with multiple classic cars over the years, the Marlin certainly gives a fantastic combination of style, performance, simple maintenance, affordability and fun factor not always easily found, plus a value for money club at £18 per year and a helpful forum.

    The biggest problem now is going to be finding that Marina van axle which it seems I'm going to need for any serious attempt at classic trialling....!
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  2. #2 Re: Trials memories and the future 
    club member Club Member listerjp2's Avatar
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    Welcome

    What a brilliant story.

    This might be a good candidate for the magazine.

    Adrian
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  3. #3 Re: Trials memories and the future 
    club member Club Member b_caswell's Avatar
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    Might be easier to buy a car with the axle in it sadly not a red one.
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/194136340...WgSflnsTB9mgp4
    Ben Caswell probably not the last word on anything here!!
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  4. #4 Re: Trials memories and the future 
    club member Club Member David's Avatar
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    Welcome Gerry, echos of my memories there as well.
    - 9th owner of T693 SSC a factory built Ford based V8 Sportster
    - 4th owner of Q309 RNV, an early Cabrio built by Bob Copping, owned Doug & Liz Billings for 16 years
    - 9th Custodian of JRR 929D, Triumph Vitesse based special Paul Moorehouse built prior to the Triumph Roadster kits.
    - 8th owner of Roadster chassis number 2395. Now owned by Barry!
    - Builder of chassis number 2325 (PKK 989M) in the mid 80's. Now owned by Eric & Lynne.
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  5. #5 Re: Trials memories and the future 
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    Quote Originally Posted by b_caswell View Post
    Might be easier to buy a car with the axle in it sadly not a red one.
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/194136340...WgSflnsTB9mgp4
    Yes, I saw that one - ironically as a LWB it'd be a good road car and the axle could find a home in my SWB... but really can't justify buying yet another car!
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  6. #6 Re: Trials memories and the future 
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    This one is cheaper and technically you are not buying another car. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/124724042...cAAOSwO8RgnlWm
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  7. #7 Re: Trials memories and the future 
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    Ha ha, technically yes....! But I'd definitely be a single man again if I brought that van home, probably stand a better chance with the green Marlin!
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