Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Aircooled Face-Off: 1958 Devin D vs 1976 Kelmark GT

Time for another classic car face-off, where you get to pick which car you'd drive if given the chance, but today (naturally) we've added a twist.  Not only are these two cars located in the same city, but they are being offered by the same seller, so your decision doesn't have to get made until after you give each a test drive.  The contenders: a 1958 Devin D for $10,000 vs this 1976 Kelmark GT for $7,000, both offered for sale in Evergreen, CO via craigslist.  Tip from Zach.

First up, I'm going to discuss this Devin, because these are rare vintage race cars built by Bill Devin of Rocky, Oklahoma, who not only created scores of these fiberglass bodied beauties, but also created the world's first rubber belt driven overhead camshaft setup.  You can read much more about Devin's automotive creations here on, but if this is indeed a true Devin built car, then it seems a bargain compared to other Devins sold around the web.  Power comes from a 1900cc dual port Volkswagen engine mounted out back and you could probably figure out a way to title it as a custom built car for the street.

Up next is this Kelmark GT, a Volkswagen based kit car that was styled to look like a Ferrari Dino.  The Kelmark GT wasn't a complete styling rip-off, but it used a grab bag of parts from cars like the Ford Pinto and Chevy Impala to build something that looked like a supercar.

For your money, would you drive the Devin or the Kelmark?  See another classic kit for cheap?


  1. The Devin all the way. If it's truly the real deal, I don't see that you could really lose money on the deal. Plus, they are reputed to be an absolute blast to drive.

  2. The Devin is a totally legitimate car with racing pedigree. Pretty interesting they ran a variety of motors ranging from Porsche, MG, Chevy ect.

  3. Wish I had a spare $10K this time around...the Devin would be in my garage as fast as I could hook up the trailer! Me likey, much want. Ran against one of these years ago in a PCA/POC event at RIR, powered by a built 356 motor it was darn quick - acceleration exceeded my stripped 2L 911T (with S cams/pistons) and he kept up in all but the high speed corners (think turn 8 and 9). Handling/braking not so much, but hey, it weighs like 1100-1200 lbs?

    Fun toy for occasional street use (with some rework) or track/auto-x as is.

  4. The Devin is a VW Special with a Devin body not a Devin manufactured car. The Devin D has a uniquely styled Devin body shared only with the Corvair engined "C". Forgotten Fibreglass has a nice article (February 7, 2011) about the Devin D which includes an original Devin brochure.

    From the photo caption of the ready to ship "D" kit: "Cutaway shows how these units bolt onto the Devin-designed chassis".

    1. Dellow -- yeah, I couldn't really find much clear information on Devin kits easily on the web -- did Devin make the fiberglass body and then sell it for folks to install on their own?


    2. Vince - Devin Enterprises of El Monte, California was primarily a manufacturer of fiberglass bodies of a basic style for the lad or lass who wanted to build a sports car special.

      By 1960 Devin was one of the oldest manufactures of "glass" bodies in the US. By then they had developed the Devin D which has a ladder type frame of box section side rails and large tube cross members which accepted VW or Porsche components. They sold kits and completed Devin Ds. The most desirable "built in house" Devin was the SS with an Irish constructed tube chassis with deDion rear suspension. Fittingly it had a more aggressive appearance as was offered complete with new Corvette engine and four speed for $10,000. Only a small number of Devin SS cars were constructed.

      Devin bodies graced some truly impressive and potent (small & large displacement) specials. However as with any supplier of fiberglass bodies the finished results (or set aside projects) varied with the skill and finances of the individual(s) and whether they were replacing the body of a Crosley, MG, TR, Austin Healey, etc. or constructing their own chassis and unique power train.

      That's the long version of a short answer.

  5. The mouth on that one isn't a Devon D... otherwise I digress



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