Tuesday, March 1, 2016

D For Dominance: 1961 Devin D

Back in the 1960s a guy named Bill Devin (originally from Oklahoma) sold fiberglass bodies out of El Monte, California that were designed to mount on top of Volkswagen chassis.  Devin also supplied the ladder frame with box tubing, so you didn't have the weight of a VW pan.  Find this 1961 Devin D here on eBay bidding for $8,409 reserve-not-met with 4 days to go.

Back in the early 1960s if you wanted to race against exotics with something that looked like a Ferrari but cost about as much as a Volkswagen, the Devin made sense...today that same paradigm holds true. You can read all about the Devin in some vintage newpaper scans here on DevinSpecial.com

Behind the driver sits a Volkswagen flat-4 aircooled engine - this one runs a patriotic 1776cc engine with larger intake and exhaust valves, lightened flywheel, Weber 40 carbs, free flow exhaust, and a number of other performance mods. 

With a curb weight that would be the envy of a Lotus Elan, the little Devin should scoot around quite nicely and everybody who sees it will assume it is something really special...which it is...just not extraordinarily expensive...and that, my friends, is what makes it special.

See another piece of classic fiberglass? tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. This is a really cool car, but it's not a Devin D. It's most likely a Devin body kit, mounted on a VW pan of mixed era origin. Devin sold bodies for $295, you supply the chassis. That's what this is. Still cooler than 99% of all kit cars though.

  2. If it were me, I'd lose the Italian racing stripes though. Really, on a special built in American from German parts?

  3. Devin bodies were mated to more than just VWs back in the day. There are MG, Porsche, and Lotus Devins among others as I recall. What makes them cool is that they're all a little different.

    This particular car is sporting a set of somewhat rare Rossi headlights sourced from a VW and what I'm almost 100% sure is an MGB roadster windshield. If not from a B, it may be from a Midget. These Devins are small and it's hard to tell scale in the photos. It definitely is the MG design.

    1. That's all true. My understanding is the Devin 'D' and 'C' had the Devin produced chassis. Owner supplied the engine/trans/wheels/tires/gauges.

      Body kits for production of your own homebuilt 'special' could be had for a variety of chassis setups, this one's a VW pan. Looks like a MG Midget windshield to me. But VW pan means it's not technically a 'D'. What that means for the value of it, there's so few of them and they change hands so infrequently I'd have no idea.

      The Devin SS had a front mounted american v8, somewhat like a Cobra, I'm not sure what chassis those used however. The rear engined Devins are more attractive I think.

  4. The Italian stripes are an odd choice but I can live with them. It looks half German and half Italian anyway. I think the first thing I'd focus on reworking would be the dashboard. It's clean but severely lacking in style, especially if you want it to look more period correct. Create a new dash design, maybe with some darker wood and aluminum accents and swap out the wheel for a wood-rimmed Nardi or Moto Lita type. Needs a different set of gauges and the thing is good to go/show.

    1. I think maybe what's the most off about the dash, is that the gauges should be closer together, and above 12 'o clock in relation to the steering column. Maybe add a smaller oil pressure gauge, voltmeter, CHT, etc to fill in the rest of the space. As it is, it looks like some cheesy 1980s oak furniture project from a high school shop class.

  5. While this is an attractive Devin bodied car it is NOT a Devin D. This car appears to have the Devin $295 body on a VW chassis. The Devin $295 body features different front & rear styling than either the Devin SS or Devin D/C bodies. The Devin D was available as a complete turn-key car or without drivetrain and featured chassis & body built by Devin. The Devin chassis is a lighter tube-frame affair similar to that of the Cobra which would come later. The earliest Devin D's constructed by Bill Devin featured Porsche engines and are highly prized collectors items. Later D's came with VW motors after Porsche cut-off the supply of engines to Bill Devin (the Devins were beating Porsches as the race track!). The Devin D evolved into the Devin C with Chevrolet Corvair 6-cylinder power. Devin C's went on to climb Pikes Peak, hit the Bonneville Salt Flats, win drag races against period V8 powered Corvettes, and more. Find much more info at devinspecial dot com


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