My Car Quest

April 14, 2024

Car Of The Day – 1953 Victress S1A Roadster For Sale On eBay

by Mike –

It is possible you may not have heard of the Victress S1A Roadster. It is the creation of early 1950s American ingenuity by men with the dream of making their own car.

These American Specials rarely come up for sale and this one looks to be in good condition with some remaining work needed, which will allow the new owner to make it their own.

Victress advertisement

The California based Victress Manufacturing Company was founded in 1952. The first model, the S1A, was designed by Hugh Jorgensen and William “Doc” Boyce-Smith. The Victress S1A was built on many different chassis designs and were usually powered by a small-block Chevrolet engine.

A Victress S1A was featured in the 1954 movie Johnny Dark which starred Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie (see the poster below).

Less than 50 Victress coupes were sold in the 1950s and the only Victress distributor was Hellings Company in North Hollywood.

Victress advertisement

In 1961 the molds were sold to Les Dawes (LaDawri) who rebadged the Victress as LaDawri and renamed the models. If you see a LaDawri it may remind you of the Victress.

1953 Victress S1A Roadster For Sale

Victress S1A  Roadster

The seller writes,

The Victress S1A debuted in 1952. Like all Victress S1A roadsters, this car is highly collectible and would make a great vintage rally car, superb vintage race car, a unique classic or a terrific driver. Cars of this type are now welcomed at the most prestigious car shows. Approximately 100 bodies were produced with far fewer survivors remaining.

Victress S1A  Roadster

At Bonneville during the 1953 Nationals, the “Guy Mabee Special” – a Victress bodied roadster – was piloted to a record speed of 203.105 mph making it “America’s Fastest Sports Car.” The sports car movie “Johnny Dark” starring Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie was released the next year (1954) with a Victress sports car wheeled by Indianapolis 500 veteran Don Freeland (stunt driver). Both events combined to catapult “Victress Manufacturing” to fame in the automotive industry.

Victress S1A  Roadster

Built on a Henry J chassis with independent front suspension and sporting new Halibrand-style aluminum wheels, the handling of this “Special” is better than most from this era. The Pontiac 326 V8 engine sounds great and appears road-ready. The automatic transmission makes this Victress easy to drive. The brakes are new and the car runs, drives, and stops but we recommend further sorting as restoration is continued by the new owner. The chassis and suspension have been restored and painted.

See the eBay listing for this Victress S1A Roadster here.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Johnny Dark Poster

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1955_Victress Catalog_1

The seller of this car is Geoffrey Hacker, whom I know personally. Through venues including his Forgotten Fiberglass web site, he’s done more to unearth the history of these hand-made postwar cars than anyone else. In actually tracking them down and buying them up, he’s probably saved more of them from destruction-through-neglect than anyone.

Car Of The Day - 1953 Victress S1A  Roadster For Sale On eBay
Article Name
Car Of The Day - 1953 Victress S1A Roadster For Sale On eBay
A rare American Special sports car is for sale.


  1. Sold!! For $36,800 USD.

    Congratulations to seller and buyer.

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