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Bill Devin cars - what do you think of them?


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#1 etceterini.com

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 01:51

I have been researching Bill Devin and his cars since we bought our
Bandini/Devin. There were a few at the Monterey Weekend including
two at the ultra exclusive (and snobby) Quail show. What is the general
opinion??

My Devin page:

http://ferrariexpert.....g bandini.htm

My Devin video from Laguna Seca:



Cliff Reuter

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#2 RA Historian

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 14:08

A quick reply as to what my opinion is --- the Devin body was sensational and had a great impact on 50s US racing. Bill Devin provided a cheap, practical, versatile body modeled on a Ferrari Monza IIRC that was used by dozens upon dozens of specials builders to cloak their handiwork. They looked good and did the job. Indeed, Bill Devin probably was given too Little credit for what he accomplished and for what his place should be in the pantheon of US race car designers, etc.

That is just his bodies. Not to mention the Devin SS, Devin D, Devin C, etc.

I imagine Cliff can offer quite a bit more!

Tom

#3 Cris

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 14:23

We obtained an unused Devin body back when interest in Devin here in the US was arguably at its peak (early 90s) with a mind toward building up a Devin-MG. Got to meet Bill at the Monterrey Historics one year when he (and Art Evans, perhaps?) were running Sir Stirling in one of his C or D model Devins and subsequently purchased some NOS odds and ends from him. The SS models are nice but I really think the independently built cars are more interesting...the Echidnas, the Moonbeam car(s), the Ak Miller one as well as all the other home-built efforts are almost as cool as any Scarab (heresy, some would cry!)

Devin was a really interesting guy who–unlike so many other builders of glassfibre bodies–made something that looked gorgeous (thanks in part to directly copying the Ermini which itself was a copy of the aforementioned Monza.) He owned and raced Ferraris (white and blue liveried) and did countless other things of interest. I am sure there's more on him out there but Vintage Motorsport long ago (the old VM, not the new one...) did a good article on him during its series on American specials

Our body remains stored in original condition in an attic, being three or four down in the project list. Every time I see one I can't help but think that the driver's having a better time than most.

Cliff, I love that car of yours.

Cris

A quick reply as to what my opinion is --- the Devin body was sensational and had a great impact on 50s US racing. Bill Devin provided a cheap, practical, versatile body modeled on a Ferrari Monza IIRC that was used by dozens upon dozens of specials builders to cloak their handiwork. They looked good and did the job. Indeed, Bill Devin probably was given too Little credit for what he accomplished and for what his place should be in the pantheon of US race car designers, etc.

That is just his bodies. Not to mention the Devin SS, Devin D, Devin C, etc.

I imagine Cliff can offer quite a bit more!

Tom



#4 Gregory Campbell

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 14:33

Among other things Bill Devin took the best classic Italian styling of the day and made it available for $295 to anyone who thought they wanted to build their own car. If enough time, care, and attention was paid the cars can be beautiful.



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#5 RA Historian

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 17:01

Among other things Bill Devin took the best classic Italian styling of the day and made it available for $295 to anyone who thought they wanted to build their own car. If enough time, care, and attention was paid the cars can be beautiful.

Well said!
Tom


#6 etceterini.com

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 17:59

Cliff, I love that car of yours.

Cris

Here is my page on my Bandini/Devin if you have not seen it before:

http://www.ferrariex.....uro devin.htm

-cliff


#7 CRX Lee

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 18:06

A new Devin thread has made me find my TNF password again and log in after years of lurking silently. :wave:

My Devin project car is shown near the bottom of the Devin Specials page on Cliff's site. I am happy to say that I have a plan and am looking forward to bringing my Devin to my home in a few months after 13 years sitting in a barn on my sister's farm. I guess it doesn't qualify as "a barn find" if I'm the one who put it there. My plan is to bring the car home for clean up and evaluation and maybe start the tinkering/restoration process at least over the winter. I have to swap another car and trailer down to the farm to make a hole in my garage to put the Devin into.

My Devin is a kit car "special" built on an early '50s Mopar ladder frame with a 327 Chevy V8 conected to a 3 speed manual transmission. It was originally built as a drag acing car at a time when there was a popular sports car drag race class. It has a technical inspection dash plaque from Bakersfield, CA dated 1964 but I have no other drag history. The car could not have been used much or very successful with suppositions that it was built too late for the class on too small a budget. It is titled from Texas in 1967 as a street car and I have only two era b/w photos of it. It is a true special though as it is certainly an amalgamation of assorted parts. Whereas Cliff's Bandini-Devin was a Euro-bred nimble sports car, mine is more a mongrel or the proverbial junk yard dog. It is one of the last and biggest kit bodies made, specifically wider and deeper for a V8 powertrain. Not as pretty in body lines as earlier and smaller Devins once stretched out for the big frame and engine but it is what it is. I had the pleasure to speak with Bill Devin on the phone not long before he passed and he confirmed that it was late in the Devin body runs and not many were made like this although no actual body count records were kept.

One of the things that I am interested in getting advice on from this group is how far to go and what changes to make during it's return to running status. I know it is opening a can of worms betwen the purists, the realists, and those who simply want a nice car to drive on sunny days. The leaf sprung live axle and four corner drum brakes would not be as nice a driving road car as coil spring, IRS, disc brakes, etc. I've known this car for 35 years (I was 10 years old) and owned it for nearly 15 so I have thought over so many variations, permutations, etc. that I don't really know what to do with it other than make it a runner and driver. Step #1 is get it home, cleaned and evaluated so that hopefully will happen before long.

Over two decades, I have built a decent pile of old Devin articles, ad, clipping and books and would be happy to share it or add to it if anyone has interest. I also have received a large file of letters and promotional items on other late '50s-early '60s kits cars and sports cars like Bocar, Buckler, Ashley, Microplas, Autodynamics, Quantum, and others that I would be happy to share. I would think this could be some rare and interesting info for someone who owns one of these cars. Not for sale but free for copies, scans, etc. Some cars like the Bocar and Ashley there is quite a bit of info on including personal letters to my father from the factory or sales teams.

Of course I am biased but I do think Bill Devin and his cars have a place in sporty car history in a time when the shade tree mechanic and wannabe engineer with a dream could make something fast, fun and quite pretty on a budget. The SS cars are real machines, real performance, and are now of real value. The kit bodies gave a second life to some interesting racing and street cars that were damaged or discarded and brought back to the road again.



#8 Gregory Campbell

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 18:26

Does anyone have a copy of the "Its a ......Porsche" ad?

#9 D-Type

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 23:49

A new Devin thread has made me find my TNF password again and log in after years of lurking silently. :wave:

My Devin project car is shown near the bottom of the Devin Specials page on Cliff's site. I am happy to say that I have a plan and am looking forward to bringing my Devin to my home in a few months after 13 years sitting in a barn on my sister's farm. I guess it doesn't qualify as "a barn find" if I'm the one who put it there. My plan is to bring the car home for clean up and evaluation and maybe start the tinkering/restoration process at least over the winter. I have to swap another car and trailer down to the farm to make a hole in my garage to put the Devin into.

My Devin is a kit car "special" built on an early '50s Mopar ladder frame with a 327 Chevy V8 conected to a 3 speed manual transmission. It was originally built as a drag acing car at a time when there was a popular sports car drag race class. It has a technical inspection dash plaque from Bakersfield, CA dated 1964 but I have no other drag history. The car could not have been used much or very successful with suppositions that it was built too late for the class on too small a budget. It is titled from Texas in 1967 as a street car and I have only two era b/w photos of it. It is a true special though as it is certainly an amalgamation of assorted parts. Whereas Cliff's Bandini-Devin was a Euro-bred nimble sports car, mine is more a mongrel or the proverbial junk yard dog. It is one of the last and biggest kit bodies made, specifically wider and deeper for a V8 powertrain. Not as pretty in body lines as earlier and smaller Devins once stretched out for the big frame and engine but it is what it is. I had the pleasure to speak with Bill Devin on the phone not long before he passed and he confirmed that it was late in the Devin body runs and not many were made like this although no actual body count records were kept.

One of the things that I am interested in getting advice on from this group is how far to go and what changes to make during it's return to running status. I know it is opening a can of worms betwen the purists, the realists, and those who simply want a nice car to drive on sunny days. The leaf sprung live axle and four corner drum brakes would not be as nice a driving road car as coil spring, IRS, disc brakes, etc. I've known this car for 35 years (I was 10 years old) and owned it for nearly 15 so I have thought over so many variations, permutations, etc. that I don't really know what to do with it other than make it a runner and driver. Step #1 is get it home, cleaned and evaluated so that hopefully will happen before long.

Over two decades, I have built a decent pile of old Devin articles, ad, clipping and books and would be happy to share it or add to it if anyone has interest. I also have received a large file of letters and promotional items on other late '50s-early '60s kits cars and sports cars like Bocar, Buckler, Ashley, Microplas, Autodynamics, Quantum, and others that I would be happy to share. I would think this could be some rare and interesting info for someone who owns one of these cars. Not for sale but free for copies, scans, etc. Some cars like the Bocar and Ashley there is quite a bit of info on including personal letters to my father from the factory or sales teams.

Of course I am biased but I do think Bill Devin and his cars have a place in sporty car history in a time when the shade tree mechanic and wannabe engineer with a dream could make something fast, fun and quite pretty on a budget. The SS cars are real machines, real performance, and are now of real value. The kit bodies gave a second life to some interesting racing and street cars that were damaged or discarded and brought back to the road again.

As a minimum I feel you should keep the basics the same. I appreciate that given the varied engines, chassis and running gear that were used, originality or authenticity doesn't quite mean the same as it would for a Ferrari, Maserati or production sports car, like an MG or Triumph TR. But, if you change it too much you may have a nicer or more competitive car but it won't be a true Devin, it will simply be a 2009-vintage hot rod using a Devin body. But, having said that, anything you do to bring the car back into public view must be commended.

#10 David Birchall

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 00:57

Among other things Bill Devin took the best classic Italian styling of the day and made it available for $295 to anyone who thought they wanted to build their own car. If enough time, care, and attention was paid the cars can be beautiful.



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Welcome to TNF Greg! since many people will not realise that Devin bodies were fitted to rear engined chassis as well, perhaps you could give more details of your car?

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 03:02

Originally posted by CRX Lee
A new Devin thread has made me find my TNF password again and log in after years of lurking silently.....


You've been missed!

.....One of the things that I am interested in getting advice on from this group is how far to go and what changes to make during it's return to running status. I know it is opening a can of worms between the purists, the realists, and those who simply want a nice car to drive on sunny days.....


Keeping things original as long as it remains realistic would be the way I'd suggest you go...

....The leaf sprung live axle and four corner drum brakes would not be as nice a driving road car as coil spring, IRS, disc brakes, etc. I've known this car for 35 years (I was 10 years old) and owned it for nearly 15 so I have thought over so many variations, permutations, etc. that I don't really know what to do with it other than make it a runner and driver.....


Lee, let's look at the resources you have available...

You have the expertise, contacts and materials at your disposal to make that live axle work... and as for the drums, they don't have to pull up nearly as much weight as they did on the original car whence they came. With work, they can do even better. There may be subtle changes, but the appearance of originality will remain.

.....Step #1 is get it home, cleaned and evaluated so that hopefully will happen before long.....


I might send you a link so you can put this project on a thread of a forum where it would be appreciated... mind you, a 'project' thread in the technical forum here might well be of interest and get you some further help and ideas.

.....The kit bodies gave a second life to some interesting racing and street cars that were damaged or discarded and brought back to the road again.


Precisely the reason to keep it close to as it was built!

#12 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 21:36

. . .

Keeping things original as long as it remains realistic would be the way I'd suggest you go...

. . .

Precisely the reason to keep it close to as it was built!



I'm going to take a contrarian view on this one. First, no disrespect to your Devin, because this is an idea I've wondered about. It's good old American backyard hotrodding ingenuity, but it's also whatever whoever could put their hands on as well, and unlike a Maserati, for example of similar vintage, it's not a unique design. So, in the interest of having a fast, fun car to drive, what about a Cobra replica chassis, with more period correct smaller Halidbrand or American wheels, a small block Chevy running Rochester FI or 3 Stromberg 97s and hooked up to a modern 5 speed transmission?

Edited by Tom Glowacki, 31 August 2009 - 00:05.


#13 David Birchall

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 22:01

Because nobody ever stops there! It always gets a BIGGER engine, disc brakes, FAT tires....

Build it as it would have been and you have a period special. Build using modern technology and you have nothing....

Well, that's my opinion--yours may be wrong! :)

#14 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 00:01

Because nobody ever stops there! It always gets a BIGGER engine, disc brakes, FAT tires....

Build it as it would have been and you have a period special. Build using modern technology and you have nothing....

Well, that's my opinion--yours may be wrong! :)



Restraint would be necessary either way. Nothing stopping anyone from dropping a 454 with aftermarket heads, etc., into the original 1950's Mopar ladder frame. Having once unwittingly put a 30 degree upward kink into a rust weakened truck chassis with a scisssors jack, I have a certain degree of mistrust of old ladder frames. The Cobra replica frame is not too far off the mark and at least is trustworthy. With some restraint in the engine compartment and with tire sizes, you would have more chassis and brakes than engine.

Edited by Tom Glowacki, 31 August 2009 - 00:04.


#15 RShaw

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 02:12

I have been researching Bill Devin and his cars since we bought our
Bandini/Devin. There were a few at the Monterey Weekend including
two at the ultra exclusive (and snobby) Quail show. What is the general
opinion??


First off, let me say that I make no claim to be an expert on Devin or his cars.

A couple of years ago I was doing some research on Warren Goodwin, the "owner" of Fiberfab and did a lot of lurking on the kit car boards. The general impression I came away with was that the Devin kits were far and away better than almost any of the other fiberglass kits. Better quality. better documentation, and more capable of being completed by the typical purchaser. Most of the others, including the Fiberfabs, were little more than the result of misleading advertising.

#16 CRX Lee

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 03:53

Thanks for the input to all. I have thought about the restoration of my Devin on and off for about 35 years. Since the car is by definition a kit car special and this chassis in specific is particularly non-noteworthy to anyone who does not own it, I don't fell exactly held to restore it to an exacting specification of what it once was. It isn't a factory car of known spec., it isn't Ol' Yaller (although it was yellow), and it for sure isn't a Devin SS. On the otherhand, I have no intention of making big changes to go away very far from the early '60s kit car that it was. I will for certain retain the original 327 Chevy engine built to a reasonably accurate era spec. although I might like to move up from the steel 2 bbl intake manifold and Carter carb to something higher performance of the era (4bbl, 3 deuces, etc.). I work for a well known suspension company and spend a good bit of my day helping people improve the handling of their cars so sticking with the hacky multi-leaf spring and live axle rear suspension will be hard for me. Since the tech sticker on the dash confirms that the car was running, living and breathing in 1964 (also the year of my birth), my plan would be not to allow the use of any parts or designs that would post date 1964. By '64 things like IRS and disc brakes were commonplace so I won't be terribly hampered either by retrotech. For 35 years I have envisioned it sitting on some nice black spoked American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels with a reasonable rubber size and not the 14 inch front and 15 inch rear painted steel wheels and bias ply skinny tires that it came with. I would switch it to a 4 speed transmission instead of the 3 speed for basic drivability. I would want to put a tasteful fuel cell or safe fuel tank into it. I will paint it yellow again similar to what it was originally but might make the shade a bit more pleasing than it is now (there was a beautiful Ferrari yellow of the day). I would also keep the steel wheels, the 3 speed, and any other parts that I take off in case I or a future owner wanted to take it back strictly to its roots.

At this point, I don't know what I'll do or how far I will go with it. First thing will be to evaluate it and see what it offers. I know that modification is a slippery slope and don't want to wander too far but also would like the possibility of allowing it to be what it could have been and not solely hold exactly what it was. I do want to make it streetable and not make it vintage racer most likely. Most sanctioning bodies would turn their nose up at it I would expect because it's very minor and essentially non-documented motorsports history is as a short time drag car with unknown and low expectation results. I want to be true to the car within reason but also true enough that it can be a running, enjoyable car as well. Again, I respect and appreciate the many opinions that cross the gamut of possibilities. Where exactly I will end up as the journy is just beginning and the exact path has yet to be revealed.

Edited by CRX Lee, 01 September 2009 - 03:55.


#17 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 06:24

I posted some photos of Stan Burnett's Devin-Chev at the following link (post 4). I always liked the car...it made a great sound and was fast in its day. I'd love to find it, but no one seems to know where it is now:

http://forums.autosp...w...13&hl=Devin

A couple more:

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Don Jensen's "Black Mariah", Pontiac powered, first raced in 1962; raced through the 60s; present whereabouts unknown; the photo from Seattle, 1963 shows Jensen beside Bob Clark's ex-Carstens, etc. HWM-Chev Stovebolt Special

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Tom Veness, T-bird, then Chev powered; first raced in 1959; raced through the 60s; currently being restored on Whidbey Island, Washington by Glen Russell, whose late brother Chris was the last person to race it; this photos shows Tom on his way to victory at Spokane in 1963

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Another win for Tom, this one at the Seattle SCCA Nationals, June, 1963

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...and for comparison, Tom's Special leads Chuck Cravens Ferrari 860 Monza, Westwood, 1960.

Photos by Ted Langton-Adams, copyright Eric Faulks.

Vince H.










#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 09:14

Lee, I can understand where you're coming from with the suspension stuff...

There is the option, of course, of retaining the live axle and using coils and trailing arms etc with that. All three options present challenges when it comes to seeking ideal traction, containing costs and retaining balance, while the option I present as well as an independent rear end also present 'packaging' and 'adaptability' issues in the original chassis.

I like the idea of sticking to componentry (and presumably technology) from the era of the car's heyday. That makes a lot of sense.

If you go with discs, I think that will pretty much keep you to solid discs. Torq Thrust II wheels will look the part, of course.

#19 CRX Lee

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 13:00

Thanks for the pics Vince. I really, really like the Black Mariah and Stovebolt shot. The two specials just strikes a chord for me I guess.

I have not seen the Veness car before and am interested in more info. It is a bigger body car like mine and the hood scoop is of particular note as it is narrow , tall and set back. Most Devins tend to have a low, flat and wide scoop but mine has a long tall, narrow scoop that has never had the front edge cut open. I have only found one other Devin, a bare shell sold on Ebay many years ago, that has the same scoop as mine which to me confirms that it was a real Devin item and not an owner tack-on. The raw glass bottom side also suggess that it was original to the hood. Now the Veness car looks like it may have the same scoop possibly just with the front half cut away. You said the car is being restored, do you have contact info for the Glen Russell?

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#20 Gregory Campbell

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 19:29

We just finished restoring our Devin 2 months ago. One has a lot of choices regarding updating when restoring a car. A Devin restoration presents even more choices because there is often no "right" answer because almost every Devin is different.

Every Devin is going to be lighter than the car from which the running gear came from. Consequently the safety and performance will be better, and probably more than adequate, than that of the donor car.

Ours has a Porsche chassis and an early (pre Devin D) body. It was relatively easy to keep with the 356 components, although we did consider IRS, coil overs, and a Hewland tranny. We rejected these updates because they do not really represent much of a performance gain and they do not fit with the theme. So all the main components are period correct. However it is virtually impossible to make everything period correct. I am thinking of items like tandem master cylinders, safety equpment, and braided oil lines, but the list is much longer than this. We found the biggest challenges to be attaching the body and sealing the interior from the outside.

As you can see from the engine picture we had one major "update". We designed a flat fan arrangement to eliminate the raised hump the car originally had. Our justification was that the hump was really ugly and that the flat fan "could have" be done by a backyard mechanic of the day. I know everyone will have a different opinion about what is acceptable.


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#21 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 21:38

Thanks for the input to all. I have thought about the restoration of my Devin on and off for about 35 years. Since the car is by definition a kit car special and this chassis in specific is particularly non-noteworthy to anyone who does not own it, I don't fell exactly held to restore it to an exacting specification of what it once was. It isn't a factory car of known spec., it isn't Ol' Yaller (although it was yellow), and it for sure isn't a Devin SS. On the otherhand, I have no intention of making big changes to go away very far from the early '60s kit car that it was. I will for certain retain the original 327 Chevy engine built to a reasonably accurate era spec. although I might like to move up from the steel 2 bbl intake manifold and Carter carb to something higher performance of the era (4bbl, 3 deuces, etc.). I work for a well known suspension company and spend a good bit of my day helping people improve the handling of their cars so sticking with the hacky multi-leaf spring and live axle rear suspension will be hard for me. Since the tech sticker on the dash confirms that the car was running, living and breathing in 1964 (also the year of my birth), my plan would be not to allow the use of any parts or designs that would post date 1964. By '64 things like IRS and disc brakes were commonplace so I won't be terribly hampered either by retrotech. For 35 years I have envisioned it sitting on some nice black spoked American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels with a reasonable rubber size and not the 14 inch front and 15 inch rear painted steel wheels and bias ply skinny tires that it came with. I would switch it to a 4 speed transmission instead of the 3 speed for basic drivability. I would want to put a tasteful fuel cell or safe fuel tank into it. I will paint it yellow again similar to what it was originally but might make the shade a bit more pleasing than it is now (there was a beautiful Ferrari yellow of the day). I would also keep the steel wheels, the 3 speed, and any other parts that I take off in case I or a future owner wanted to take it back strictly to its roots.

At this point, I don't know what I'll do or how far I will go with it. First thing will be to evaluate it and see what it offers. I know that modification is a slippery slope and don't want to wander too far but also would like the possibility of allowing it to be what it could have been and not solely hold exactly what it was. I do want to make it streetable and not make it vintage racer most likely. Most sanctioning bodies would turn their nose up at it I would expect because it's very minor and essentially non-documented motorsports history is as a short time drag car with unknown and low expectation results. I want to be true to the car within reason but also true enough that it can be a running, enjoyable car as well. Again, I respect and appreciate the many opinions that cross the gamut of possibilities. Where exactly I will end up as the journy is just beginning and the exact path has yet to be revealed.



Hot Rod magaznie had a feature within the last year or so about a company that was making upgraded re-pro '55-'57 Chevy chassis. That would give you a 2009 Echidna

#22 CRX Lee

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 03:26

Posted Image

That is a beautiful car Gregory. I'll admit it doesn't look the most Devin-ish to me but it may be because it is an early model or other owners may have tweaked it somewhat. It is really pretty though. Does that horizontal fan set-up flip belts off? That looks almost the exact system as was used on a Corvair and we'd throw belts off all day long when I raced one. We'd try all kind of grease to make then slide and not grip. The killer was the two 90 degree bends when the belt changed from vertical to horizontal. A quick power blip would throw and S shaped wave in the belt and it would flip off. Even with all the fixes we could think of, I still carried in the glovebox a spare belt and ratchet and socket needed to make a change trackside. I got too good at it unfortunately. I liked Corvairs well enough for street and racing that if a Devin C showed up for the right deal, I'd have a hard time turning it down.

#23 TooTall

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 04:01

Here is my Devin Monza body. My late father-in-law bought it over 30 years ago ostensibly to replace the accident damaged body of his Swallow Doretti. We ended up with both the Devin and the Doretti. The plan is to mount the Devin on a modified Triumph TR3 chassis.

Posted Image

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Cheers,
Kurt O.


#24 Tuboscocca

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 11:43

Maybe it is not new to most:

Devin the Man and his Cars by Art Evans ,just published for 19.95$
see

http://www.enthusiastbooks.com/

Michael

#25 TooTall

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 04:55

Well, I have just learned that I have been mistaken for the last 20 years. The body I have is not a Devin but a very similar design called a Byers. You just can't count on anything anymore.

Cheers,
kurt O.

#26 CRX Lee

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 23:47

Maybe it is not new to most:
Devin the Man and his Cars by Art Evans ,just published for 19.95$

I just placed my order, thank you!

#27 CRX Lee

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 23:58

Well, I have just learned that I have been mistaken for the last 20 years. The body I have is not a Devin but a very similar design called a Byers. You just can't count on anything anymore.


There is a red Byers (MG power I think?) that races at the Monterey Historics periodically. The Devins and Byers histories are mixed somehow that I don't fully know as the body is essentially the same. I don't know if Byers got some Devin molds in the end or Byers was someone who built some cars using Devin bodies (my first guess). I am interested in knowing if someone has some real info. I wouldn't think that the was a "private label" program going back in those days but I have run into a few bodies selling under different names a few times.

How did you hear that this body was a Byers and not a Devin? Sure looks extremely Devin to me. The long tail light selection on your car is very interesting also as the kit bodies came without them and were added by each assembler. Mine is a very ugly rectangle that needs to be changed unfortunately.

#28 etceterini.com

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 00:23

I think the biggest differences are: the front end opening on Devins are smaller, Devins have the dual
rounded dash boards (in fiberglass), and in many cases the seats and driver area are molded in.

-cliff

Edited by etceterini.com, 28 October 2009 - 00:23.


#29 RShaw

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 01:12

If we are talking about the same "Byers", i.e., Jim Byers of California, I don't think he had much, if anything, to do with Bill Devin's creations. Byers was at one time a partner with Dick Jones of Compton, CA, and involved in the development of the Dick Jones Meteor kit car body. Below is a photo of a Dick Jones Meteor that is currently held in the Clive Cussler car collection here in Denver.
Jones moved from California to Denver in 1955 and produced about 20 of the Meteor bodies in Denver. In the meantime, Byers was apparently also busily producing a slightly modified Meteor in California, as the Byers SR100. Kellison, another kit car body manufacturer, also later produced some the Byers bodies.

As an interesting side note, Bob Carnes, of Bocar fame, reportedly tried to convince Jones to produce the original bodies for the Bocar.

More information on the Meteor can be found at this site.
http://fiberglassspo...teor/Meteor.htm

The Dick Jones Meteor in the Clive Cussler collection. It is built on a pre-war Ford chassis and sports a DeSoto (Chrysler) hemi-V8. The stripes on the car are actually blue. Florescent lighting and outdoor film caused the shift.
Posted Image

Posted Image

Edited by RShaw, 28 October 2009 - 01:34.


#30 TooTall

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 05:15

How did you hear that this body was a Byers and not a Devin? Sure looks extremely Devin to me. The long tail light selection on your car is very interesting also as the kit bodies came without them and were added by each assembler. Mine is a very ugly rectangle that needs to be changed unfortunately.


Once I had the body out in the daylight after many years and took a good look I noticed the things Cliff mentioned above. The grill opening looked larger and there was no hump over the dash area. I sent the photos above to the web master at forgottenfiberglass.com and he posted them on their forum. Initial opinions were that it was a Devin but then then a couple of people noted the differences and opinion shifted to Byers. One other item that does not show in the photos is that the headlamp buckets appear to have been added after the body was made. Byers bodies apparently did not have molded in buckets whereas Devins did. Also, there was no evidence that the area above the dash had been reworked to remove the humps. The tail light is a '57 Corvette item. Kind of a neat addition which I will probably keep.

As to which came first, Devin or Byers, I have been told that Byers took a Devin body, made the changes noted, and used that as the buck for his mold. In the early '60s Byers molds were sold to Victress and both bodies, the SR100 and the CR90, were subsequently produced by Victress. From what I have read, the Victress versions were produced using a chopper gun whereas the Byers bodies were hand laid fiberglass mat. My body is fiberglass mat. Interestingly enough, the building that housed Byers shop in El Segundo still stands and is only about 4 miles from my house.

Cheers,
Kurt O.


#31 TooTall

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 05:23

Quick addition. Here is a photo of a Byers bodied MGA I shot at a vintage race in 2007.
Posted Image

Cheers,
Kurt O.

#32 CRX Lee

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 05:19


I got photos of the same Byers MGA at the Monterey historics in '06. This car looks much less Devin-like to me, in fact quite different as noted.

Posted Image


I did get my copy of the new Devin book this week. Although I have only thumbed it this far, it appears to be mainly reprints of articles about Devin himself and the cars taken from publications of the day. I look forward to reading it. A fw more Devins have popped up on Ebay recently. I am told one of the original Devin SS cars has been recently sold and a very nice Devin C (Corvair power) is on the market from the same seller.

#33 etceterini.com

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 13:50

Can you PM me the info on the Devin C please Lee.

Cliff Reuter

#34 Mistron

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 22:46

A friend of mine is having a clear out

http://www.carandcla...k/car/C124171/#

#35 devin

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 21:56

i have a devin body possibly for sale but have no idea what its worth? It was my dad's car in high school in the early 60's. I put an opel gt engine in it when i was in high school (the late 80"s) and its been sitting in a barn in wisconsin ever since. Is there still an interest in these bodies?

#36 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 10:37

Undoubtedly there would be in a genuine Devin body, especially an unused one in good condition...

See what sort of response you get.

#37 kregjones

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 20:45

I'm starting a Devin Registry. More info. here: www.devinspecial.com Thanks!