by Mike –
Recently I wrote about one of Geoffrey Hacker’s cars the Tiburon Roadster (The Shark). This was so interesting (especially followed up by a phone call) that I asked Geoffrey to contribute something to My Car Quest.
He gave me my choice of subject and since I have written about Devin Racecars before I chose Devin sports cars. Here it is.
by Geoffrey Hacker
Back in 1960 – perhaps even in 1959 (still researching here gang) Bill Devin had already introduced his “Devin SS” priced at $10,000 – an expensive but sophisticated car built for racing and high performance sports car handling. So what was next?
He had designed many different sizes (up to 27) of his Devin bodies for folks wanting a beautiful sports car body in a variety of different wheelbase, track, and design configurations. Devin was covering all the bases. So his focus turned to creating a sport economy version of his larger more sophisticated sports car.
Ladies and Gentlemen – allow me to introduce you to the Devin “D”.
Sportscar Graphic: May-June 1960
So far, the earliest mention I can find of the introduction of the Devin “D” is in Sportscar Graphic, May-June 1960. Here’s what they had to say:
“The newest addition to the line, and “baby” of the shop, is the Devin “D”, a revolutionary “kit car” conception. Unlike kits of the past, the “D” model is complete with laminated safety glass windshield, folding soft top, side curtains, a hand-rubbed lacquer body, upholstery, leather-covered bucket seats, chrome bumpers, brake and fuel lines, all working, head and tail lights, parking and directional lights, and a built-in heavy-duty frame.
It arrives in a huge shipping carton ready for the installation of stock Volkswagen or Porsche components. These stock units bolt on, with no welding, drilling, or cutting necessary. In this kit form, the D model is priced at $1,495. If purchased as a complete car, with new VW engine and running gear, the car is tagged at $2,950.”
Devin Brochure: 1960
Recently I came across a 4 page Devin brochure from around 1960, and the back page was dedicated to showcasing the Devin “D”. Here are a few tasty tidbits of what the brochure had to say:
“The Devin “D” offers exciting performance and touring comfort combined with economy in initial cost and operation. Strikingly different and appealing in appearance, the “D” represents another Devin masterpiece in simplicity and sound auto design.
The finished car will weigh under 1,200 lbs, so you can imagine the performance, even with the Volkswagen engine, and especially with the Porsche engine! At the same time the car is very comfortable and handles very well.”
Here’s what’s in the brochure:
* Wheelbase: 82”
* Tread (front): 51.4”
* Tread (rear): 49.2”
* Length Overall: 153”
* Width: 60”
* Height: 46”
* Curb weight: 1,180 lbs
* Complete Kit, less the stock Volkswagen or Porsche components: $1,495
* Complete Car, with standard 1192 engine: $2,950
* Complete Car, with optional 1600 engine: $3,350
What a great little sports car. If you wanted to build it, you could start out at around an investment of $1,500 bucks. If you wanted to pick up a completed car, it was about double that price. Not bad for a well designed, stylish American-built sportscar.
So what was next for Bill Devin? The Chevrolet Corvair was introduced in 1959 and Devin saw an opportunity to adapt its engine, mechanical components, and running gear to create a new vehicle – the Devin “C”. But that story is for another day.
Let us know what you think about the Devin in the Comments.
About Geoffrey Hacker
Geoff Hacker (publisher of Forgotten Fiberglass) is an automotive historian and is researching the history of vintage fiberglass cars with his good friend Rick D’Louhy. Both are working on a book called “Forgotten Fiberglass”. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Below is a Devin “D” in color that I photographed at The Quail, A Motorsport Gathering in 2009 when there was a Devin class.