Barn Find Conquest: 1962 LaDawri “Ferrawri”

As of recent, I’ve developed quite a soft spot for the quirky Canadian/Californian company LaDawri Coachcraft that produced some amazing fiberglass cars, like the 1962 LaDawri Conquest found here on eBay. Some might be fooled by the original owners attempt to badge it as a Ferrari, but I hope the next owner returns it to its rightful “badge-free” beauty as God intended (or in this case, Albert Dawes – founder of LaDawri – intended).

An amazing example of another model Albert made – the swoop backed Castillian– was just featured on BarnFinds last month. The history of Canada’s first fiberglass sports car manufacturer is detailed there, and LaDawri earns its place as a rich part of the 1950’s and 60’s boom in fiberglass sportscars and kits. This particular model, originally named the Cavalier, was shown at a Canadian Exhibition in 1956 and made its international debut on the cover of Road and Track in July of 1957.

By that time the name had changed to the Conquest, and Dawes had moved the company from Canada to Long Beach, CA. This particular Conquest has strayed a bit from the original versions – with the Fire Red color being perhaps the only nod to the 1960s’ Conquests that rolled onto CA roads. You’ll notice the puffy look of black leather batting interior – which to me is a bit more “Shar-Pei” inspired than Italian. I’d remove the stick-on front rubber bumper and rear ding guards, and of course, I would strip the prancing horse’s away.

Since the Conquest was designed to accept a 100 to 104-inch donor chassis, LaDawri definitely marketed this model at the Corvette enthusiast – and this particular survivor has a ‘vette underneath (even though it’s a 1980’s model). For my taste, in fact, the Conquest was just a bit too close to the first generation Corvettes – which leads me back to the more European influenced Victress. Still, somehow I feel there’s a LaDawri in my future either way. Perhaps the LaDawri of your future is more at hand – and it’s time for your Conquest!





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  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    I agree, Garr, drop the bogus Ferrari badges, plus I’d add some Halibrand-style wheels, S-W gauges and a four-speed to give it that vintage Cal Club look.

    This one would be great for the twisties around my neck of the woods (google ‘Coromandel Loop’ for more info).

    Like 5
    • Suttree

      Yes Beatnik, this one would be great for the Loop.
      Also great for the Infamous and Deadly Tail of the Dragon in my area.
      Lots of YouTube videos of the 11 mile stretch of 300+ curves.
      A YouTube search for Yellow Wolf Dragons Tail will show the road at high speeds. Hope you enjoy the videos.

      Like 2
  2. Chuck Foster Chuck 55chevy

    I always like kit cars, but the styling of this one never appealed to me. I am tempted by a local 1997 Ferrari 355 Spider (1986 Pontiac Fiero GT kit car), it’s been for sale for a while at 10k. I don’t really care for the convertible top, it’s kind of goofy looking, like a Saturn Sky top is.

    Like 6
    • Ching-A-Trailer

      So is the top then better’n say a Pontiac Solstice?? A friend o’ mine designed the Solstice top before he bought my last Bentley . . . Wuzza few years ago . . . .

      Like 1
  3. Coventrycat

    Ditch the badge, redo that interior and put some wire wheels on it. I’d still drive it the way it is though, because I wouldn’t have the bread to change it.

  4. grant

    I do like it, but the sellers ad is more history of the company and a sentence or two about the car. An ’80s Vette, but C3, C4? And it’s titled as a ’51 Henry? Still, if it’s a driver it looks like a ton of fun.

    Like 1
    • BrianR

      The LaDawri company suggested using the Kaiser- Frasier Henry J chassis as a donor. Since the owner has so many other things wrong (like the spelling of LaDawri not Ladarwi, the fact it is a Daytona and not a Conquest) it is likely to have a Henry J chassis. The Vette motor was obviously installed far later in this car’s life. What powered the car for the first 20 years?

      Like 1
      • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

        correct, BrianR
        these were not designed for the Corvette chassis, they were designed for the Henry J

  5. Ching-A-Trailer

    Who’s this Albert Dawes fellow – did he kick ol’ Les Dawes’ rear end back ta Canada, outta Long Beach?? Now tryin’ ta take da credit??

    Like 1
  6. Dick Johnson

    Shades of Pat Boone, bubba. 1962 brought us the second iteration of the movie “State Fair” which had a red roadster race car as the real star of the show for us 12 year olds. If we had a car like that, girls like Ann Margaret would ride with us. Back to AMT models for the time being.

    Stu Irwin’s line about his son (Pat) being a ‘piston farmer’ really stuck with me. Been one ever since. Ann Margaret? If you fly for a living long enough, you might just get to have Miss Margaret ride with you. I can’t say enough about how gracious she is to everyone.

    Where’s my checkbook. Nevermind. I just bought a bunch of old Hemi parts. And some flathead stuff, and…

    Like 3
  7. BrianR

    That is a LaDawri, but it is NOT a Conquest. The Conquest has a split grille. The full open grille was on the Daytona and shorter wheelbase Sebring

    Like 1
    • BrianR

      This car is a Daytona

  8. BrianR

    This is a Sebring

    • Jon

      That view looks kind of like a catfish to me

      Like 1
      • Chinga-Trailer.

        Speaking of cars looking like catfish – have you ever seen a Daimler SP 250??

  9. BrianR

    And this is a Conquest

    Like 1
  10. BrianR

    I also let the owner know he has a Daytona, and he spelled LaDawri wrong. He spelled it Ladarwi. Pretty bad that with the internet available, he has no idea what he even has. Obviously a flipper.

    Like 3

    I love the interior and somehow those wheels work. I normally hate em on everything but i can live with em but it needs a stick.

    Like 1
  12. rod

    Not often you can say that a kit car looks better than a lot of full production cars, but this is an exception.

    It probably doesn’t have a stick for you purists cause only 7000 ’80 Vettes had them vs. 35000 automatics.

  13. scottymac

    Can anyone identify the instrument clusters?

  14. Marco

    These look like “car-toons”. Straight out of the movie Cars.

    Like 1
  15. Wayne

    The gauges look ’64 Chevelle (ish) to me.

  16. Bill B.

    Stu Irwin ! I haven’t heard his name in forty years ! Thank you…

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