Bizarre Gyro-X two-wheeled car prototype restored
It might look like a prop from Star Wars, but the Gyro-X was the late 1960s vision of future motoring. Using a gyroscope to balance on two wheels, it took up half the space of a car
Enthusiasts of combustion are united a love of that man-machine connection, the thrill of driving, and the sweet smell of high octane fuel. However, there’s a strong division between those who favour four wheels over two. An attraction from the Lane Motor Museum, USA named the Gyro-X might be the perfect halfway house.
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It somewhat looks like a car, complete with enclosed cockpit and a steering wheel, but it balances on just two wheels. What is this witchcraft?
The Gyro-X was developed in the 1960s and was said to be the future of motoring by its creators. By using a large gyroscope in its nose, the vehicle self-balances and deploys a pair of supporting wheels for when parked. It all sounds a bit bonkers, but seeing the Gyro-X in motion is like a scene straight out of the Jetsons.
The car was born from the minds of Alex Tremulis and Thomas Summers, ex-Ford styling director and a gyroscope engineer who helped create missile navigation systems respectively.
The idea behind their gyroscopic car was that it could be more stable than conventional vehicles, more aerodynamically efficient, and at half the width it didn’t take up as much space when parked. With some money from investors the pair created a prototype model, but they had trouble perfecting the technology and the company would file for bankruptcy in the 1970s.
Decades later Jeff Lane discovered the Gyro-X, albeit missing its gyroscope and with a temporary third wheel added to keep it upright. After six years of restoration and sourcing parts, the wacky racer was back up and running and now attends various shows and events. Sadly, the Gyro’s original flaws remain and so it isn’t driven above 30mph or on public roads due to instability.
The Gyro-X is a fascinating oddity that represents a future that never was.