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						Mayan Magnum
Ing’s Thing: 1957 Mayan Magnum Prototype

Dean Ing's ’57 Mayan Magnum prototype

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

Ours is a hobby fascinated with the idea of doing things ourselves, as much as we possibly can, and building a car of our own design has to be the pinnacle. Dean Charles Ing was an author, Air Force veteran and aerospace engineer who believed his background might lend itself to a clean-sheet sports-car design. The result is the one-off prototype seen here on Craigslist, boasting a recent restoration and period magazine coverage.

“If an aerospace engineer decided to build a GT car, what would it be like?” That’s the question Dean Ing posed as the impetus for his creation — a car he’d dub the Mayan Magnum. The influence of his design background seems clear in the construction of the vehicle, all comprised of sensible and accessible components, with an emphasis on simplicity, light weight and aerodynamics. But the car was also pretty radical for its time, seeing as Ing started designing the car in the late 1950s as a design exercise. It seems more similar to kit cars of the early 1970s in construction and appearance, but Ing had the constructed and road legal by 1962.

Mayan Magnum 2

In terms of construction, Ing started with Porsche mechanicals, as they were suited for high-performance, as well as being simple and very durable. The Porsche running gear would also prove easy to tune to Ing’s final specifications, which included a lightweight fiberglass body. Somewhere along the line, the Porsche engine was swapped in favor of a Chevrolet Turbo-Air 6 (best known for its use in the Corvair). The engine seems to be of fairly standard specification, as opposed to the turbocharged or four-carb Corsa engines, and likely provided a small bump in performance and far more affordable maintenance.

The body is quite radical for the late 1950s, especially when you compare it the cars Detroit was building at the time. However, with a bit of digging, influences in Ing’s design become clear. Ing’s bodywork echoes two rare European exotics, first the Maserati 450S Costin Coupe by Zagato, and second, the Porsche-Glöckler 356 Coupe. Ing himself commented on the influence of the Glöckler Porsche, a sports car built special for the 1954 Mille Miglia. The air-cooled Porsche platform relation is clear, along with the unique high-visibility rear glass. The aerodynamic Maserati Costin Coupe adds the missing flair and impact on Ing’s slippery design.

Beyond some publicity in magazines, allegedly including Road & Track, the impact of Ing’s Mayan Magnum appears to have been limited to a design exercise. Ing did use the car however, and flogged it quite regularly, asserting that it was road legal by 1962, and driven hard by several race drivers. The Porsche and Corvair mechanicals proved reliable enough for long trips, and provided sensible maintenance intervals.

The Mayan Magnum prototype appears to be the only car of its type built by Ing, who would go on to be a successful author in the science fiction and techno-thriller genres. The car was preserved well though, and is offered for sale today with a fresh restoration two years ago. One of one, the seller is asking $25,000 for the car here on Medford Craigslist.

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