Costin Amigo

Costin Amigo 1970s British classic sports car

Frank Costin - creator of the Amigo - was an automotive pioneer. Saying that, he learned a lot of what he knew from the aircraft industry. He had been a top aeronautical engineer. Costin had then transferred his considerable skill-set to motor racing. In the '50s, Lotus and Vanwall benefited directly from his input. Indirectly, the ripples of his expertise spread far wider. When Costin met up with Jem Marsh, they went on to found sports car maker MarCos. The marque had a unique take on English eccentricity. That was fully in keeping with Costin's character. An out and out maverick, he did things his way. That certainly extended to his cars' construction. Costin liked wood. The chassis in Marcos' first sports cars would be made from laminated marine plywood.

Over time, Marcos moved to more orthodox chassis. Costin, though, was still a believer. He sought backing to build a car of his own. Enter the Costin Amigo! Its monocoque frame was still forged from plywood ... albeit with pine strips bonded on. The light weight of the chassis was mirrored by a glassfibre body. The finish was seriously smooth. The Amigo's shape was sublime. Visually - and aerodynamically - it more than cut the mustard.

The Amigo's engine, drive-train and suspension were sourced from the Vauxhall VX4/90. The car was built close to Vauxhall's Luton HQ. Fittingly - given Costin's former employment - it was at an airfield. Overall performance for the Amigo was impressive. Top speed was 137mph. Handling was high-calibre. Only the car's spartan interior let the design side down a tad. Doubtless, that contributed to the Amigo's woefully low sales. A scant eight units were shifted. Had Frank Costin been more of a marketing man, things may have been much better. But, engineering was all he knew. The story behind the Costin Amigo, though, was richer than many a car that sold a thousand times more!

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