Dean Ing, a science fiction writer, wanted to create his own sports automobile in 1957. His Mayan Magnum was featured in the May 1968 issue of Road & Track, 11 years later.
His fully rounded ideal was a rear-engined, flat-six-powered, gullwing door-equipped racing machine that looked like a Porsche 910 and was delivered through an automated translation process into 15 languages before returning to English. It could be the world's best distinctive vintage racecar, and it could be yours in less than a week.
Space-age technology was the driving force behind Ing's design, and he wanted to bring it to the racetrack in his unique way. To guarantee that the ultra-light body parts stayed together without damage during the joining process, he devised fiberglass rivets for his first model. In the end, it had a dry weight of a little over 1000 lbs. There was also a lot of Porsche's influence on the suspension, brakes, and engine.
He decided that nothing but the suspension and rivets and sandwich materials were suitable after a season of racing in 1961. Driven by a Corvair flat-six, this is the second version of the Magnum.
The majority of the early design proposals were scrapped in favor of a conventional Volkswagen-sourced metal subframe and fiberglass body, but the fundamental design concept was carried over to the final form of the automobile. When Ing submitted his Road & Track report in 1968, he was constantly iterating new automobile components, such as a lightweight custom suspension. Those elements do not appear to be finished.
Ing's ultra-light racecar is unusual and interesting, but his four-page section on the Magnum contains three and a half pages of design details and just a few paragraphs on driving characteristics. The gullwing doors, too, don't retain their shape until they are kept in place. But this is a one-of-a-kind vehicle, a late-fifties science fiction fantasy created by a guy who is equally prepared for space-age technology and imagining.
The Mayan Magnum was advertised for sale on Bring a Trailer yesterday night, and it is said to have remained in Ing's family's possession until his death in July of last year. The auction will run through the next week.