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1 of 6: 1982 Blakely Baron Emmons Prototype

Blakely Auto Works built low-volume sports cars in the 1970s and 1980s. Some were actual automobiles, while others were kits. They were usually built off the platforms and mechanics of existing cars. While the Bantam, Bearcat and Bernardi models were Blakely’s bread-n-butter, they also built a handful of prototypes including the Baron E-Class (for Emmons). This one, thought to have been built in 1982, is one of maybe six to ever have seen the light of day. Found in Arizona and now in Kingman, it’s available here on craigslist for $3,500. A complete restoration will be in order. Thanks, Ikey Heyman, for another interesting find!

Mechanical engineer Dick Blakely was fascinated by legendary sports cars like the Lotus Seven. They were compact, lightweight, and handled well. So, that led to the creation of Blakely Auto Works in 1972, where Blakely became a “boutique” manufacturer of sports and kit cars across the U.S. Midwest. The Bantam was the company’s first offering, considered a “complete component car” (aka kit car). These are the most commonly seen Blakely cars today if they are seen at all.

About a decade into the business, a design for a new car, the Baron, was developed. Molds for the bodies of several Barons materialized in 1981, one of which turned into a functional car that was driven daily to sort out any issues. Another of those bodies would serve as the basis for the development of the E-Class. Emmons Coachworks was tasked in 1982 for additional development of what started out as the Baron. Some of the evolutions would include aerodynamic bumpers, a steel windshield frame and cowl welded to the main frame, headlights built into the fenders, a redesigned hood to clear the carburetor and air cleaner, flush mounted outside lighting, and a rear-opening hood that allowed air venting at the windshield. For it to run, the E-Class would be powered by a Chevrolet 305 cubic inch V-8 with automatic transmission. Source: Blakely History.

No more than six prototypes of the E-Class were ever made, and the car itself never went into production. Blakely Auto Works closed in the late 1980s, which may likely have been why the car was never fully executed. Because these were prototypes, details of their existence today are not complete. The seller thinks that his E-Class is prototype #6 – likely assembled in 1982 – and in Dick Blakely’s possession at one time. Unlike other Blakely creations, this was a bigger, roomier car that had the comfort of its occupants in mind. Since these automobiles borrowed from existing technology, the original frame is likely from a GM product, perhaps a modified C4 Corvette. A Ford inline six-cylinder has found its way into the engine compartment, and the seller doesn’t know whether that motor or its existing transmission are viable now.

Since the body is fiberglass, it doesn’t suffer from the rust issues that the seller believes will be found under the surface. Fortunately, since the underpinnings have their roots in mainstream production cars, perhaps finding replacement parts and pieces won’t be an insurmountable task. The interior is pretty much a lost cause, so the buyer will need to start mostly from scratch there. Whatever you see in the photos provided is all there is; the seller has no other parts or pieces.

The seller says he has an Arizona-assigned VIN and title. This isn’t the first rare and unusual car that the seller has attempted to save, and he’s open to trading the Blakely for “something unique.” Given that there are no more than six of these cars on the planet, a restored example would be quite impression. However, it could turn out to be more a labor of love than an astute financial investment. The seller has provided a photograph of what one of the other prototypes looked like in better days.


  1. jimbunte jimbunte Member

    When are you going to put Ikey on the payroll? That guy finds more cool stuff and adds so much value to this site’s content.

    Seriously – hire Ikey.

    Like 16
    • Jack M.

      I think an even better way to honour Ikey would be to buy him this car!

      Like 14
      • Tony Primo

        Great ideal Jack.

        Like 4
  2. ACZ

    Is that rear facia from the front of a C3?

    Like 17
  3. Fahrvergnugen Farhvergnugen Member

    I am not knocking the vision of any more creative builders. Finished prototype is arresting, but it does look like a marriage of a locomotive cow catcher on the prow, with a C3 used as a rear end.

    Like 16
  4. Little_Cars

    In case you want an evil C3 Corvette staring at you with its red eyes in front of you on the highway at night.

    Like 5
  5. Matt

    If the car was designed/built before 1984 then there’s no way it could have C4 underpinnings. Given the aforementioned C3 front bumper being used as a rear bumper, my guess is that this hulk sits on a modified C3 chassis.

    Like 5
  6. JagManBill

    I wonder what this would look like with round instead of rectangular headlights? Or to go further, stacked rounds like a 917. Its a total project anyway, might as well have some fun

    Like 0
  7. Dusty Stalz

    Thing looks like a deuce that just kind of slid out with no pinch involved.

    Like 5
  8. Daniel wright

    This looks like the unholy union. Between a catfish and a dustbuster.

    Like 4
  9. Kenn

    Hey Dusty and Daniel, how about pictures of cars you’ve built? And Dusty, I hope no one has to explain to their young children what you are referencing.

    Like 1

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