Bob Carroll knew what he wanted. And it wasn’t necessarily the information technology profession he’d cultivated for years. He loved cars. And motorcycles. And airplanes. He loved working on them and making them something somebody else would love.
Bob rides hard. It’s evidenced by a few dents and dings. Not on the bikes, necessarily, but on his body. He’s paid his dues but continues to ride and push boundaries.
Bob has a few projects he’s working on currently at his shop called Midlife Classics just outside of McKinney, Texas, a growing community north of Dallas.
What’s really cool, though, is Bob’s personal collection of unique cars. He may, solely, be working to '“Make Lancia Great Again.” In addition to the Italians, he’s got quite a collection of eclectic Brit machines on display.
Bob’s personal collection at Midlife Classics has some American, British, German, and Italian makes representing well. We all know Chevy’s Corvette and Mercury’s Cougar XR7 (at least some of us). But what about the Marcos, the TVR, the Opel, or the Lancia?
Marcos was founded in Dolgellau, North Wales, in 1959 by Jem Marsh with aerodynamicist Frank Costin. When you put the names Marsh and Costin together, the first three letters of each make the name MARCOS. Costin had earlier worked on the De Havilland Mosquito fighter-bombers and from there he got the idea to use plywood for the chassis (YES, plywood). The company moved to a converted mill in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire in 1963; in 1971 they relocated to a purpose-built factory at nearby Westbury. On October 9th, 2007, it was announced that Marcos would cease production and go into voluntary liquidation. The design property rights, drawings, jigs and car history files were bought by Marcos Heritage Spares Ltd, owned by Rory MacMath, who had worked closely with Jem Marsh on all the Marcos cars. [Wikipedia]
TVR - Trevor Wilkinson (14 May 1923 – 6 June 2008) was born in Blackpool and left school at 14 to start an engineering apprenticeship at a local garage.
In 1946, [Wilkinson] purchased an old wheelwright's workshop in Beverley Grove, Blackpool, England to start an engineering business that he named Trevcar Motors. Initially, the company performed general engineering work (not always automobile related), and would also refresh and service cars and trucks. In 1947, local auto enthusiast Jack Pickard joined the company. Trevcar Motors was subsequently renamed to TVR Engineering (dropping several letters from Wilkinson's first name), and it continued to find general mechanical engineering work through the following years. [Wikipedia]
TVR has seen lots of ups and downs throughout the years. The most recent information follows:
To coincide with the 2014 Classic Car Show, TVR announced a TVR Genuine Parts initiative to guarantee continuity of supply of parts for classic TVRs and the formation of a new company TVR Parts Ltd which is exclusively licensed to sell Genuine Parts worldwide, taking over the last stock remaining when the factory closed and the previous TVR parts business operations of Racing Green, Clever Trevor and Multipart Solutions. This was augmented the following year with the purchase of the parts business of David Gerald/Classic World Racing who had held the license for pre 1980's TVRs.
On 3 June 2015 it was revealed that development of the new car had been underway for more than a year with partners Gordon Murray and Cosworth that would be launched in 2017 followed by additional models as part of a 10-year plan. The new car boasts an impressive specification, front engined, rear wheel drive, normally aspirated Cosworth V8 mated to a manual transmission that caused it to be described as “God’s own sports car”. Codenamed T37, deposits were taken in anticipation for delivery in 2017.
Further details of the engine were revealed on 7 October 2015 as being based on the Ford Coyote 5.0L V8 with modifications by Cosworth including lighter flywheel, dry sump and unique engine management to generate from 450 to beyond 500 bhp depending on the variant.
On 22 March 2016 the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones announced that TVR would build its factory in Ebbw Vale adjacent to the Circuit of Wales, creating 150 jobs with TVR also receiving an undisclosed investment from the Welsh Government.
On 5 June 2017 it was announced the first public viewing and launch of the car would take place at the Goodwood Revival on 8 September 2017 to coincide with the marque's 70th anniversary year. On 8 September 2017, at the Goodwood Revival, the TVR Griffith was revealed, featuring designwork by Gordon Murray, a 5.0L Ford Cosworth V8 engine, and a carbon fibre ground effect chassis.
The company will bring a range of new cars to market from 2019 with partners Gordon Murray and Cosworth. It will start by introducing the second generation of the Griffith in the market.
It was announced in January 2018 that the Welsh Government had previously acquired a minority 3% stake in TVR in early 2016, following independent and specialist due diligence for the sum of £500,000, with this share purchase, it also provided a £2 million repayable commercial loan to the company, alongside a private sector lender. According to the Welsh Government the minority stake will "ensure the Welsh tax payer will benefit from the company's successes". [Wikipedia]
Bob has at least two or three Lancia Scorpions on site. He likes to compare them to the later DeLorean DMC-12, regarding the body style. The Opel, which for years was a German manufactured brand owned by General Motors, now French owned, is a beauty. Not necessarily the most powerful nor best handling car, but you know the designers had passion for what they were doing. Bob has that same passion. So do we. A&A