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SLIDER: 1936 Marendaz Special

Seen at the VSCC driving tests at Bicester Heritage during 2019, this highly sporting Marendaz Special reminds us of the recent presentation of the SAHB’s Micheal Sedgwick Award to Graham Skillen for his superb book on these unusual cars and the somewhat bizarre history of their creator.

This particular car is a 13/70hp Sports Tourer, Chassis no. 807.  It is one of only 80 to 120 Marendaz Special cars ever made.  It is powered by a 2.4-litre six, based on a Continental engine.

The Marendaz company was founded in 1926 by Captain Donald Marcus Kelway Marendaz, an engineer who had completed his apprenticeship at Siddeley-Deasy before WWI. He had joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 as a pilot and was invalided out in 1918, and after the war became a partner in Marseel (later Marseal) Motors of Coventry, makers of a Coventry-Simplex-powered light car. Marseal closed, and Marendaz set up DMK Marendaz Ltd in Brixton, South London in the same buildings as the London Cab Company and Bugatti’s London agent.  His cars were stylish, with a Bentley-like radiator, and named ‘Marendaz Specials’.  They used 1½-litre four-cylinder Anzani engines, some of them linered-down to 1,097cc to compete in the up-to-1100cc racing category.

Marendaz moved in 1932 from his original cramped premises to the Cornwallis Works, where the Burney Streamline and GWK cars had been made, and the company was reformed as Marendaz Special Cars. The modified Continental engines used in the example in this Slider were eventually dropped, being replaced by an engine of Marendaz’s own design.  His final model was the six-cylinder Coventry-Climax-powered 15/90.

Captain Marendaz pursued an active racing programme, and one of the best-known competition drivers of these cars was Aileen Moss, mother of Sir Stirling Moss.

The Marendaz marque is well supported by an active register, run by Graham Skillen.

Photo courtesy of Peter McFadyen.  See his website: http://petermcfadyen.co.uk

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