Marcos Mantis XP

In 1968 came the first Mantis, the Mantis XP. A racing car designed for the Group 6 Prototype category, it was powered by a mid-mounted Repco V8 engine.

Like earlier Marcos cars it used a plywood monocoque chassis, albeit different from that of the GT. Only one car was made, and its only race was the 1968 1000 km event at Spa, where it retired with electrical problems in heavy rain. Originally Marcos intended to race it in the 1968 Le Mans, but that was postponed from June to September, and by then the car was in America, fitted with a Buick V8 engine (from which the Rover V8 engine was derived).

A full restoration of the XP was completed in 2008. Now based in America, it has visited the UK for the Marcos 50th anniversary celebrations and the Goodwood Festival of speed.

The next Mantis, the 4-seater M70, was launched in 1970 and had a fuel-injected 2.5-litre Triumph TR6 six-cylinder injected engine mated to a 4-speed gearbox. The promotional brochure says the styling "gives high all round visibility", and "a low centre of gravity together with an extremely wide track ensures superb roadholding. The luxurious interior seats four in comfort, and the boot, with a capacity of 10 cubic feet, makes the Mantis ideal for the man who is going places and wants to travel in style."

32 were sold before the company went into liquidation in 1972. Autotune acquired the moulds and produced a few more cars in the mid-1980s as the "Autotune Mirage".

Source: Wikipedia, 2014

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