'Fast and well handling, the cars did well in rallies... (and) are still extremely elegant.' Sedgwick & Gillies, 'A-Z of Cars of the 1930s'.
An English manufacturer, despite the foreign-sounding name, Marendaz 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, serving as a pilot before being invalided out in 1918, and after the war became a partner in Coventry-based Marseel (later Marseal) Motors, manufacturers of a conventional Coventry-Simplex-powered light car. Following Marseal's closure, Marendaz set up DMK Marendaz Ltd in Brixton, South London, occupying the same premises as the London Cab Company and Bugatti's London agent. Attractive styled and with a distinctly Bentley-esque radiator, his early sports cars were called 'Marendaz Specials' and used 1½-litre four-cylinder Anzani engines, some of which were linered down to 1,097cc to compete in the up-to-1100cc racing category.
Marendaz's first-floor Brixton premises were cramped and impractical, so in 1932 he relocated to Maidenhead in Berkshire, reconstituting his company as Marendaz Special Cars Ltd. His new 'home' was the Cornwallis Works, also known as the 'Jam Factory', where the remarkable Burney Streamline and GWK cars had been made. Modified Continental engines were used at first before Marendaz moved on to power units of his own design. His final model was the six-cylinder Coventry-Climax-powered 15/90. Most cars carried open two- or four-seat bodies, though there was at least one closed coupé built. Captain Marendaz supported a racing programme, entering some events himself, while one of the better-known Marendaz drivers was Aileen Moss, mother of Sir Stirling Moss. By the time Marendaz Special Cars was wound up in July 1936, an estimated 60 cars had been made at Maidenhead in addition to some 20-25 at Brixton, though one source states that as many as 120 might have been completed. Any unsold stock was sold off to Colliers of Birmingham, and Captain Marendaz moved on to building light aircraft.
A (copy) photograph on file shows this particular Marendaz, identified by its unique glass quarter-lights, at the Collier works, presumably in 1938. The registration 'FOF 395' was issued in Birmingham in June 1939. The earliest surviving registration record is an old-style buff logbook, issued in 1962, which lists Edgar Cogger of Harrogate, North Yorkshire as the owner at that time. Later on in the 1960s, 'FOF 395' was kept at the Claro Auto Works, a sports car garage in Harrogate run by a Mr Sterling. When Mr Sterling died, his stock of cars was dispersed by his family.
'FOF 395' was inherited by Mr Michael (Mike) Sterling and registered by him in the 1970s (date stamp unclear). The Marendaz, together with two 1930s MGs, languished in local lockup garages until 1982 when Mike Sterling advertised it for sale in Exchange & Mart. The car was then sold by Mike Sterling to the immediately preceding owner, and following a complete restoration was back on the road in 1991, though seeing relatively little use thereafter. The current vendor purchased 'FOF 395' in August 2004.
The car's lack of use meant that various issues required attention, including freeing-off the seized brakes, overhauling the suspension, and having new half-shafts manufactured. Fortunately the six-cylinder Continental-based engine had already been fitted with marque specialist John Shaw's improved cylinder head, which ensures adequate cooling. The Continental 8F engines were sleeved down by Marendaz to 1,869cc, presumably for taxation purposes, but this unit (non-original but of correct type) retains its factory capacity of 2,394cc.
While in the present ownership, the Marendaz has been looked after by Riley specialist Keith Ponting, who has helped keep it in sound condition. Well known in VSCC circles, the car has competed gently at Curborough, Colerne, Madresfield, and Prescott. Representing a wonderful opportunity to acquire one of these rarest of 'Post-Vintage Thoroughbreds', the car is a offered with offered with a V5C registration document, the aforementioned logbook, and a history file containing restoration invoices, press cuttings, correspondence, etc. The Marendaz marque is supported by an active register, run by Graham Skillen.