Automotive writers are often obliged to report guilelessly on concept cars, relaying the manufacturer’s future visions at face value and seeking to maintain the industry’s credibility. For once in 1961, though, Ford was not asking the world to believe it would be marketing a two-seater, two-wheeler gyroscope car any time soon. In fact, the US heavyweight was explicit: the Gyron was for show purposes only, where cunning anchoring on its display stand would ensure it stood upright in all its cartoonish glory.
Nonetheless, Ford couldn’t put its pomposity entirely to one side. It insisted this self-balancing, aerodynamic, covered motorcycle just might be the sort of car we’d be driving in the 21st century.
The Gyron was the most ridiculous of a string of concepts to sally forth from Ford’s Advanced Styling Studio, the product of Alex Tremulis. His other wacky creations included the six-wheeled Seattle-ite XXI and the sleek lines of the Ford Mexico coupé, as well as work on the Chrysler Thunderbolt and the Tucker Torpedo.
While the Gyron did not work, empty of both engine and gyroscopes, the public was asked to believe it would also incorporate computer-controlled navigation and cruise control functions. It was also supposed to have pop-out legs either side to support it at traffic lights.
Boys of the time must have absolutely loved the Gyron; perhaps their dads simply suppressed a wry chuckle.
“At Ford in the 1950s and 1960s, dream cars went from just about credible to totally extreme. The Ford Gyron, which incorporated a huge gyroscope, was pure space-age imagination run wild.”
Stephen Newbury, The Car Design Yearbook 2, 2003
Video: Model of the car Ford Gyron
Specification: Model of the car Ford Gyron
YEAR REVEALED: 1961
PLACE OF ORIGIN: Detroit, Michigan
HISTORICAL STATUS: prototype
ENGINE: none fitted
MAXIMUM POWER: unknown
LAYOUT not stated
BODYWORK: single-canopy, two-seater coupé
TOP SPEED: unknown
NUMBER BUILT: one