Last September, Cyclopses Invaded Bonneville

In March 1957, a remarkable car first appeared in the pages of Road & Track—the Cyclops Two. The creation of Italian Piero Martini, the Cyclops Two featured bodywork repurposed from a Cinzano sign and just enough room for two passengers sitting in a fetal position.

Except Piero Martini didn’t exist. Martini, and the Cyclops itself, were the madcap creations of cartoonist and illustrator Stan Mott, and designer Robert Cumberford. The March ’57 story was a piece of satire written by Cumberford with illustrations by Mott, but it resonated, so R&T actually built a Cyclops Two and road tested it later that year. Since then, the Cyclops has appeared in this publication many times, and fans have built their own interpretations.

A handful of those fans went to one of the fastest places on earth—the Bonneville Salt Flats. Christened the Cyclops Race Team, they went to last September’s World of Speed event, erected a Cyclops-shaped tent designed by Mott himself (complete with a chandelier), and hit the salt flat for some flat-out driving. Two of the Cyclopses were actually timed. Jack Englehardt’s hit 17.4 mph, while Glenn Thomas managed a staggering 20.6 mph.

Thomas captured the whole thing on video, and it’s worth a watch to see how the drama of the weekend played out. It has us itching to build another Cyclops, a modern interpretation. Has anyone built an electric Cyclops before?

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