Motorsport back in the day seemed like it must have been one hell of a time. In an era when it was rare to, y’know, actually take your cars out to test them before you brought them to the track, so every so often, a team would show up at the track only to find, lo and behold—their seemingly revolutionary car was a hot mess. Such was the situation with the 1968 Marcos Mantis XP. The Mantis already looked out of place for its era. The late 60s saw an influx of curve. Manufacturers like Ford and Porsche were keen to create smooth, flowing lines you just wanted to run your hands across. But the Mantis? It was sharp and angular, looking more like something you’d expect from a designer trying to be futuristic in the 1980s. The car was styled by Dennis and Peter Adams with the help of Stan Gray, a one-off specifically designed for twenty-four hour races. Specifically, y’know, Le Mans. The body was fiberglass over a Marcos-traditional stressed plywood tub, all supported by steel-tube subframes. Initially, the plan was to use a BRM V12 engine, but lacking the funds to make it happen, the Marcos was endowed with a 3-liter Brabham-Repco 740 V8. And since they were already at it, they rang up John Cooper and asked for 1967’s all-independent suspension setup. Next thing you know, they were on their way to a whole entire functioning car. That year, Le Mans was the victim of some… [Read full story]
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