One of the undoubted show stoppers at this year’s Festival of Speed is the extraordinary Mantis XP. Conceived by Bradford-on-Avon constructor Marcos, and styled by Dennis Adams, this timber-hulled, mid-engined sports-racer was built in 1968 and raced only once in period.
It was entered for that year’s Spa 1000km for Eddie Nelson and Grand Prix occasional, Robin Widows. When the latter decided to sit out the race, marque founder Jem Marsh took his place, although the former stuntman found contorting his 6ft 5in frame into the ultra-low cabin a bit of a chore.
The car retired from the epically wet race early on its three-litre Repco F1 engine was subsequently removed and replaced with a Buick V8.
The by now road legal machine was sold to an American enthusiast and 40 years later it remains in the same family ownership.