Mark Verden & his Mk1.5 Quasar in 1988

Mark Verden with the 'Mk1.5' Quasar he built in 1987. This machine is a sort of 'missing link' between the original Quasar and Royce Creasey's Voyager and also between Mk1 Reliant-engined Quasars and Mk2 Quasars fitted with non-Reliant engines. It uses a Reliant engine in a Quasar bodyshell but was the first machine to use a Guzzi gearbox and transmission mated to a Reliant motor, as used in the Voyager and also in Mark Crowson's 'Quicka Quasar'. It also has the Bob Tait hub centre steering used in non-Reliant engined Quasars like the Z13 and VF750 Quasar.
This photo was taken during the Top Gear TV shoot at Wroughton in April 1988.
The seat is a neat design, in which the rider seat back folds down to become the passenger seat base. This design was used by Honda on their Ruckus, and later on their NM4 Vultus near-FF, many years later.
This machine was also featured in the very first edition of Top Gear magazine and was last heard of in the possession of Ed Kaczmarczyk in the Bristol area.
Mark Verden died of a heart attack, aged just 60, in the Spring of 2011. RIP.
Photo: Paul Blezard archive.

Mark Verden & his Mk1.5 Quasar in 1988

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Roof removal: effects on handling

August 2017: see here for some discussion about the effects of roof removal on this machine and the Z13 Quasar; 'Targa-ing' as Royce calls it:
I've just learned from Bob Winsper, on the Facebook FF group, that Mark rashly cut the actual frame tubes as well, later on, and that's when it all went pear-shaped, so to speak...

That engine

This engine had an interesting history. On being stripped by Mark for renovation it turned out to be the engine that I'd run in the IoM in 1978 in a stipped-out Quasar hurridly assembled for the event. It had spent a lot of time in valve float in the Island, managing a 34 minute lap, on open roads, and at one stage the ignition timing went a bit vague, which was fixed by tie-wrapping the distributor into the 'full vacumn advance' position. Shortly after returning from the island it broke a valve spring and was driven around on three for a while before the spring was replaced, without removing the head (using the 'rope trick'). We discovered that the timing problem was caused by one of the corners in the slotted distributor drive shaft breaking off and the shaft was quickely replaced. Malcome then fitted it to 'his' Quasar and thrashed it around a decade or so, complaining about a lack of oil pressure, At some stage he replaced it and sold it to Verden.

On strip down we found that the piece of distributor drive had fallen down into the engine and eventually got to the oil pump, giving it severe indigeation and explaining the lack of oil pressure. Meanwhile the broken valve spring had allowed to valve to clout the pistion long enough to crack it right across the crown. This had also persisted for a decade or so. This engine had a trick camshaft that produced exceptional power at high revs - which was fuilly exploited by Malcome, Mark and myself. We would have fitted that cam to all the Production Voyagers except that Reliant had lost the reocrds of that particular set of cams and didn't know which one it was...