The Almac Story, The beginning

by Patrick Harlow

The Sirocco was a kit Alex purchased from Jem Marsh before Jem started building the Marcos.


Alex McDonald started Almac Plastics in 1971. But his interest in cars goes back many years 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 it's poor quality and the fact that it was not complete. To complete it Alex had to learn how to fibreglass.

Later he sold the Sirocco for a TVR which was later upgraded for an MG midget. As the MG had no hard top he made one out of fibreglass.

In the early 1960s Alex emigrated to New Zealand with his kiwi wife Diana where Alex started working at the Dunlop Tyre factory in Upper Hutt as a Draughtsman Engineer. Not content with working for somebody else Alex purchased a factory in 1971 with the intention of setting up a fibreglass manufacturing company using the skills he had learnt in England. Now that he had the space he returned to his earlier passion of building cars.

His first attempt was a Mini based sports car, but it never got past the mockup stage. 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 prizes in a radio competition.

Inspired by the popularity of the VW, for his second attempt he decided to use a VW chassis.

It was then that Alex started to realise just how difficult it is 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 persevered and eventually he had a wedge shaped body, which was the popular style at the time, shared by cars such as TVR and the Lotus Esprit. Still he had doubts about how successful the car would be but at least it would be his own design.

His friends however were not so convinced and they eventually managed to talk him into having a go at something not so groundbreaking, stating that there was less risk in building an already popular replica. Alex then began work on a kit set car that would be known as the Almac 427SC a replica of the legendary AC Cobra.

Demand for the cobra was so great that the original VW based car was moved out of the way to make way for all the Cobra work that was now coming in. Sadly, the Yellow Car was never finished. The only body that came out of the moulds was sold in 1992. As far as Alex is aware it still has not been completed.

Yellow Car1

The Yellow Car

Yellow Car2

Contact Details

34 Rockford Street
New Zealand

Email: [email protected]