My Car Quest

April 25, 2019

A Stylish Sports Car – The Devin “D”

by Mike –

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.

Bill Devin At The Wheel Of His Stylish Devin "D"

Bill Devin At The Wheel Of His Stylish Devin “D” Sports Car. What A Ride This Must Have Been!

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.

Devin "D"

The Devin “D” Is Stylish From Any Angle. Here The Convertible Top Is In Place And Looks Great! Where Can I Buy One Of These???

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.

Devin "D"

From The May-June 1960 Issue of Sportscar Graphic.

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.”

The Devin "D"

The Devin “D” With The Top Up

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.”

Devin "D" Brochure

Devin "D" Brochure

Specifications:

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

Devin "D" Brochure

Devin "D" Brochure

Retail Prices:

* 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

Summary

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.

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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 geoffrey@forgottenfiberglass.com.

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Sell your classic car on My Car Quest – click here.

Devin "D" Brochure

Below is a Devin “D” in color that I photographed at The Quail, A Motorsport Gathering in 2009 when there was a Devin class.

Devin "D"

Devin "D"

This article was originally published on My Car Quest in March 2013.

Summary
A Stylish Sports Car - The Devin “D”
Article Name
A Stylish Sports Car - The Devin “D”
Description
The Devin SS an expensive and sophisticated car built for racing and high performance driving.
Author

Comments

  1. Lionel Wolpert says

    Amazing how Bill Devin was able to make bodies for such a wide variety of cars.
    I remember seeing in Road and Track his adverts and how beautiful and advanced the body designs were compared to the then available MG TD and TFs and Triumph TR2 and TR3s.
    I currently own a TR3 with a Devin “F” body, it draws attention wherever it goes from everyone….. male and female….. 5 year old kids all the way up to 80 year olds.

  2. Ed Niles says

    I remember Bill quite well, as he had, among other great cars, a Ferrari 250MM berlinetta. His body business started when he took a mold off of an etceterini, the name of which escapes me now, but which looked like a 7/8 size Ferrari Monza. From that first mold, he just kept stretching and shrinking for his various sizes. I always wanted one, on maybe a Triumph, but never got around to it.

  3. Al Rivas says

    Ed I believe the car for the original mold was an Ermini. Back in 1986 I went to visit Bill in Yucaipa, CA. What an interesting gentleman. I owned a Devin C for many years. As I never got around to fully restoring it I sold it. I hope the buyer is doing a better job at restoring it than I did.

  4. It’s amazing how many cool cars were around back then. At the same time competing for that same market was a small builder in Folsom CA. called Kellison.

  5. Lionel Wolpert says

    Here is the history of where the Devin bodies originated.

    http://www.velocetoday.com/devins-father-the-ermini-357/

    http://www.velocetoday.com/etceterini-guy-cliff-reuter/

    This 1955 Ermini 357 1100cc DOHC Scaglietti was imported to the US by Pompeo in 1956 and raced by James Orr at Torrey Pines in January and again at Arcata in August. In 1957 Orr raced the Ermini at Stockton and then Lew Florence was the driver at Bremerton Airport (Seafair) Washington. This car was copied by Bill Devin to be the mold for his fiberglass bodies and is now lost.

  6. Norman Bitterwell says

    I don’t believe that car is actually lost. I believe it resides in Fresno California now in a dusty shop downtown

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