Marsh Plant: balanced
Describing the two Marsh Plant Aston Martins as monsters could be considered rather harsh.
Although powerful, they were among the most well-balanced of the cars that contested the Aston Martin Owners’ Club’s Intermarque (and later Super GT) series.
After driving V8R EVO 4 – the ultimate evolution – in 2009, former British Touring Car star Anthony Reid said: “With the engine pulled back and lowered it has good weight distribution. It’s like a single-seater and is the best Aston I’ve driven.”
Geoffrey Marsh’s successful team started work on its first V8 Aston after buying the Hyde Vale club racer in 1988. Rebuilt and redesigned, it was raced successfully by the likes of Gerry Marshall before being retired and replaced by V8R02. That car even took an outright British GT victory in the championship’s inaugural season.
The original car reappeared in muchmodified form as V8R EVO 4 in the late ’90s, after input from Ferrari’s current Formula 1 performance engineer Jock Clear.
A masterpiece of engineering, the final car had impressive aero, including a rear diffuser, and other features such as a sequential gearbox. By the time Reid was winning Super GT races and challenging GT3 lap times in 2008-’09, the 6.1-litre machine was producing over 560bhp and weighed just under 1400kg, with an impressive 48-52 front-rear weight distribution.
With the rising costs of racing, and the burgeoning off-the-shelf options provided by GT3, the scope for such projects has diminished. That’s a shame because cars like the Marsh Plant Astons show just what a small, efficient club motorsport team can achieve with free regulations. KT
The suspension was stiffened, brakes improved, and power increased to around 400-420bhp. Ellis’s strike rate in the car was good, but in 1982 he decided to take things to another level as a rivalry developed with the Hyde Vale car driven by Ray Taft.
Things got serious, pushing the Aston Martin Owners’ Club Intermarque regulations to their limit. “Porsche had it all their own way and I wanted to build a car that could beat them,” says Ellis, who did receive occasional assistance from the factory. “I wanted to beat Porsche for the benefit of Aston and the club.”
The yellow Aston swept all before it almost whenever and wherever it appeared. By 1986 the Aston had become so quick that it was no longer welcome at Intermarque events, but Ellis simply took it elsewhere and developed.
By the late ’80s, much of the original chassis had been removed to get weight down to around 900kg, the car had been lowered, bodywork extensively modified, and power increased to 500bhp or more. Even the suspension pick up points were moved to allow wider rubber.
“The ground effect in high-speed corners was phenomenal,” recalls Ellis, who racked up over 200 wins before the V8 engine finally let go in 1995, consigning the car to the workshop. “It would pull my head off around somewhere like Coram!”
In the 2000s, Ellis developed a new Aston racer, dubbed the GT700R, but it his original made the biggest impact. KT