During Jeremy Clarkson’s time on Top Gear, he never missed a chance to let people know just how much he hated the Morris Marina. On multiple occasions, he referred to it as being one of the worst vehicles ever made – and as a result the Marina became known among petrol-heads around the world. One of those petrol-heads was 18-year old Patxi Beasley, who bought an old Marina and turned it into something more worthwhile…
Aside from a few stickers giving things away, Beasley’s ‘Mutant Marina (affectionately known as Myrtle) may look like an old man’s daily drive, but underneath its Brooklands Green paint scheme and period-correct dealer stickers a beast resides.
That’s because sitting underneath the 900kg Marina’s bodywork is a Ford Mondeo Zetec engine, a Ford Sierra gearbox, and a completely redesigned suspension system – all characteristics that make it very different than the variants built by British Leyland, which former Top Gear host Richard Hammond referred to as ‘drab and dreary’. Luckily, drift champion James Deane recently went for a slide in the 120bhp car at Rockingham and was very polite about it.
“It’s lacking a bit of power compared to my 750bhp Nissan S14 so you need to keep it nailed. I started drifting in a Sierra and it takes me back to that. It’s old school but cool, though I’ve got no plans to ask Patxi to borrow it, well not just yet!”
The idea behind it was to create a lively alternative to the Corsas and Fiestas that most young driver go for, as the owner explained:
“Everyone seems to go for the same cars and I just wanted something different. This came up and with a few tweaks, it made a lot of sense! Slotting in the Ford engine has made it more reliable and now I can use it every day.”