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The Almac Story, Part One

The Early Days, By Patrick Harlow 

Alex McDonald started Almac Plastics in 1971. But his interest in cars goes back many yearsThe first car that Alex built was this Sirocco to when he was a lad in England and purchased a 90 pound kit car from Gem Marsh before he started Marcos. This was in the early days of kit cars and the Sirocco reflected that in its poor quality and the factChassis designs highlights how much simpler things were when Alex built his first carthat it was not complete. To complete it Alex had to learn how to fibreglass. His mother regularly complained of the smell that drifted into her kitchen from the garage that was attached to the house and Alex occasionally had fibreglass tasting sandwiches for his lunch. Still this first car was eventually finished. 

Later he sold the Sirocco for a TVR which was later upgraded for a MG midget.  Alex McDonald first attempted fibreglass work seriously with this MG hardtopAs the MG had no hard top he made one out of fibreglass. This time it was his new Kiwi wife Diana who was complaining about the smell of fibreglass in the kitchen and again his sandwiches tasted funny. Diana and Alex immigrated to New Zealand where Alex started working at the Dunlop Tyre factory in Upper Hutt as a Draughtsman Engineer. Not content with working for somebody else Alex decided to set up a fibreglass business and went back to the skills he had learnt on his mum’s kitchen table. 
Now that he had the space he returned Mini based sportscar never got passed the mockup stageto his earlier passion of building cars. At that time most cars were based on VW Beetles. Beach buggies were the rage and a car that was getting a lot of news at the time was the Purvis Eureka as five were up for grabs in a competition. It was then that Alex started to realise just how difficult it was to design and build a car from scratch. It was made a little easier using a VW chassis but a lot of work had to be done getting the body which was a hardtop coupe right. Alex Yellow Car buckpersevered and eventually he had a wedge shaped body, which was the popular style at the time and shared by cars such as TVR and the Lotus Esprite. Still he had doubts about how successful the car would be but at least it would be his own design. 
 

                                                                                                        

 

Almac History