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American Special: 1959 Troy Roadster

Back in the 1950s if you wanted a sleek roadster that was as fast as it looked you bought a Corvette or a European sports car, or you made one yourself. This hand-built roadster is an example of the latter: a one-off special with an American drivetrain and a unique body likely inspired by the Allard J2 or one of the open-wheel race cars of the day. Find it here on eBay in Lake Mills, Wisconsin with bidding already over $50,000 and the reserve not met. 

This roadster was the creation of Wally Troy, who was the first Jaguar dealer in Illinois, and also a speed shop owner. The car was completed in 1959 and appeared in an issue of Hot Rod Magazine the following year. After that the trail runs cold until 1975, when the current owner purchased the car. He oversaw a complete restoration in the 1990s, and the car was subsequently displayed at Amelia Island and other events.

By the time the car was discovered in 1975 the original Chevrolet V8 was missing, so a 350 Chevy was installed, along with a Corvette manifold and dual quads. The front axle is Ford with a transverse leaf spring and radius rods, and the rear axle is a 1950s Ford 9-inch with leaf springs and radius rods. Brakes are Chevrolet disc in front and Ford drum at the rear.

The body shows small differences from the one pictured in the 1960 Hot Rod Magazine article, especially in the shape of the radiator cowl and the rear of the body, suggesting that this body was newly fabricated based loosely on the 1960 photos. The nerf bar at the rear also shows minor differences from the one in the period photos. A fabricated tube frame supports it all, with a belly-pan underneath.

The interior contains a plain dash with a wonderful engine-turned panel housing a half-dozen vintage instruments. The steering wheel is a classic 4-spoke design, and there are small curved Plexiglas screens for the driver and passenger. The stick shift and knob suggest that a Chevy 4-speed takes care of transmitting all that power to the Ford differential.

The red piped black leather seats look great with vintage seat belts. It looks snug in there, but we are sure you forget all that once you get behind the wheel and hear that V8 roar to life. Low powered convertibles can provide plenty of thrills, so we can only imagine how exciting this beast is to drive.

We are not sure how closely the car was restored to original form, but either way it looks like a lot of fun. The car is described as being “extremely fast”, and we have no doubt about that!


  1. Bobby

    It looks to me like the shape of the cowl was changed maybe due to heat issues, That extra little lip would sure help push alot more air thru the radiator, and over the motor.

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  2. David

    beautiful little car, but I would really like to see a period correct 283 Chevy. I can go to Discount Auto Parts and buy a 350……..everybody uses those things……jmho…

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  3. TVC15

    I love this car !!!! but if were a buyer I would have to see the 1975 photos of the car ” as found ” nice nice car…..

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  4. J. Pickett

    Amazing what people could do in those days with your basic hot rod. The main differences on this one are the simple fabricated frame and equally simple body as opposed to the usual old Ford roadster.

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  5. Foxxy

    This has to be the cleanest one off I’ve seen. Well thought out and constructed. The new owner must have had to buy a new carb, cause it is a little different then the back one. Love it.

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  6. Mike McCloud

    Dual quads typically run on one carb, at low speed; the rear one. The linkage is a progressive type, (sometimes with a vacuum assist) opening the front carb on demand ( ie; a heavy foot!). I can’t see much difference in the carbs myself, both are Rochesters, as usual on GM cars. The rear is the important one anyway in low-speed-initial tuning; there’s not much ‘fine tuning’ done on the front; (that’s a great WOT experience I got as a kid getting a blast in a ’58 Corvette!). My folks had a ’58 Fury with a dual quad setup. That application suffered lean conditions, at times, in the front 2 cylinders from the ‘running’ rear carb so far back. Inertia will take some effect under acceleration & cause this also. ( until vast & copious amounts of fuel/air overcome it !) I recall that the Hawaiian Punch team’s garage in Fullerton, CA worked on it, to some success, but it was Bill Thomas Race Cars in Anaheim, CA, that got it dialed on. Bill was a great guy who gave us kids a chance to voice our car concerns & thoughts.

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  7. Floyd Cantrell

    I have read that the frame was tubular space style frame. Doesn’t seem to be any pictures available. Anyone ever seen any posted? Very clean roadster for sure.

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