As the reddest of the red headed step children, the Marina found little love. You wouldn't know that by it's sales figures, approximately 1.2 million were sold. But even with such a large number having been sold, you'd be hard pressed to find one out there. They were not loved like other cars, the Escorts, the MGBs, the TR6s...so why was that? I think it's two fold; the handling in stock form is atrocious, and the styling is worse. So what if those two things could be improved, could it be a loved auto?
I *want* to think the answer is yes. In fact I've taken on the task of trying to do just that. Remember, my Dad has been driving them exclusively since 1974. I mean EXCLUSIVELY. He has never owned another type of vehicle. It still boggles my mind to say that. And I think he may have cracked the code on how to make them loveable, or at least livewithable. Let me demonstrate...
Here you will see an image of what his car looked like as it rolled off the showroom floor
If you run out of space in the truck just lash your luggage to the chrome parcel shelves on the ends of the car.
To my eyes, not great lines. The proportions are all wrong and it looks bloated and thus very unappealing to me. This has been my biggest problem with the car all along; if I can't like the look of it I can't invest my time in it. However, I've taken notice of his restore GT and think there is potential in these cars. Hard to find? yes, very. But there. So here you can see what his car looks like today.
I think it's a much better looking car. I quickly realized it wasn't just paint color and bumpers. He figured out that the car needed something the Leyland guys didn't bother to give it, some visual design treatments to hide some lines and minimize some of the bad. The rocker panels are painted black, as is the concave portion of the C pillar. This has the visual effect of slimming the body lines.
Now add to that a little bit of engine work (higher compression) and twin carbs (ala MGB) and the car has a bit of pep now. Add some slightly wider and bigger wheels and it's starting to not be an eyesore. I'm starting to think this car is worth my time all of the sudden.
So I want to carry this theme and show some cars that I think take some of these styling elements and further enhance the look of the car.
Lowered with bigger meats. Visually closing up the wheel arches, better 'stance'. Driving lights are cool too.
Rear vent and rocker panels in black, handles in black, chin spoiler, window frame in black, and panasports. Clean car.
So look, I know the Marina is never going to be a car that appeals to everyone, but I also think it's a car that doesn't have to be reviled by everyone. Leyland just needed to execute better. The powerplant is a solid performer, if just for the exhaust note alone. The handling is easily sorted and the body lines can be massaged to give it better aesthetics.