Beauty On A Budget: 1961 Devin Special

1961 Devin Special

It usually isn’t too difficult for a seller to list the make and model of the car they are selling, but once in a while I can make an exception for a seller not knowing the exact model of their car. This Devin is one of those few exceptions, as the title won’t denote what model it is and I doubt there is a VIN plate or some other type of identification tag. Thankfully, we have featured a number of Devins over the years so identifying the model was as simple as comparing the seller’s poor quality photos to a few of the other Devins we have featured in the past. After some careful examination, I believe this to be a Devin Special. Find it here on craigslist in Graham, Washington for $6,500.

Devin Kit Car

Alright, so maybe the seller should have done a little more research and they could have taken a few photos that show more of the car, but at least they know that it’s a kit car. Devin was known for building some of the best kit cars in the ’50s and ’60s, with an emphasis on building bodies that were as shapely as a Ferrari. Many were actually sold as nearly complete cars, with a few leaving the factory as complete turnkey cars. The seller doesn’t state whether this was a factory built car or one put together in someone’s garage. Strangely, they do state that the car came from overseas, which is unusual given that these were built in California.

Devin Special Interior

The seller doesn’t state what engine or donor car was used to build this kit, but based on the transmission tunnel and the hood hinges I am guessing it is powered by VW Beetle engine. This one appears to be very similar to the ’58 Special we featured a few years back, which has the same hood hinges and transmission tunnel. From my research it appears that each Special was somewhat unique, but design was altered to best fit the donor it was based on and what modification the owner wanted to make to it.

Devin Special Project

This is one car I really wish the seller would have provided more photos. I would like to see the nose and the engine bay, as they would reveal a lot about what model this really is and what car it is based off of. Until someone can go see it in person or the seller provides more photos, I can only assume this is a VW based Special, but you never know with kit cars. For all anyone knows this could be a V8 powered monster, an air cooled Porsche rocket, or just about anything in between. So do you think my assumption that this is a Special is accurate or do you think it is one of the more common C or D models?

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Comments

  1. tirefirar

    “CASH Is King.” – so is the information on what you are selling, especially on something as unique or as specific as this car.

    “NO bs.” – you reap what you sow

    Now, moving onto the actual car. If it is solid, this is a good price. These cars seem to be gaining steam…

  2. Rick

    A friend of mine’s dad had a red VW powered Devin that he built in the 60s, which he affectionately called “The Bomb”. So back in 1966 this guy was head of the local school board and one night after a party was taking another member of the school board (female) for a ride in the Bomb and ended up crashing and flipping the thing over on Willows Road in Redmond, WA. Made scandalous headlines in the local paper. He fixed it and still had it the mid 80s, Don’t think the guy is alive anymore, but he was from the Seattle area, and this could be the same car.

  3. Dolphin Member

    It still surprises me every time another one of these sees the light of day and is offered to the world, or at least the greater Seattle area. How many more are sleeping in some dirty garage surrounded by somebody’s forgotten treasures…or trash?

    I was wondering, or hoping, or dreaming that it might have a 1500RS engine. Well, stranger things have happened. Then I reread the listing—-it’s air cooled VW….assuming that the seller is actually providing information and not just spamming.

  4. Dave @ OldSchool Restorations of North Alabama USA

    .”Special” …??? … .there was no Devin model that was called “Special” ….all the body models have single letter designations or SS Online, you can find the Factory listing of models / with sizes..which you need to know, because most of them are similar design

    ” Special” refers to the fact that these were not production cars

    I have owned a dozen or more, and I still need to look at dimensions to be certain of some of the models.

    No, it isn’t a C or D…they did not have grill openings, nor is it an SS

    Dave Perry

  5. Rancho Bella

    I like the ad. I think it’s funny. No, I don’t know the guy, but, I know guys that don’t put up with much, so it reminds me of them.

    He doesn’t do a great (or any) job of explaining the vehicle for sale, some folk are just like that. Here is a guy that states “bring cash”, which is my kind of guy.

    Being a “liker” of Bill Devon design cars it would be fun to take a peek. Who knows what lurks under the rear lid…………..maybe the seller doesn’t.
    Are those Speedster seats?

  6. haig haleblian

    @ Rancho Bella, My thoughts exactly on the speedster seats. Sure looks like them and way too beat up to be repops. I bought a Devin once for the original Speedster windshield frame and windshield. I’ve always been a fan of the Devin’s looks, but most I’ve seen were poorly constructed homebuilts. The best was/is Chris Wickersham’s factory SS at Monterrey. He put everyone in the weeds including 250 TR’s. Wish I bought Rich Taylor’s when he put it up for sale a few years ago.

    • Rancho Bella

      Haig,
      there is a lovely Devin SS at Coronado most years. A real visual/audio delight.

  7. Grant

    South Africa built quite a few under license, with donor cars being generally Triumph TRs or MG since the chassis’ were a perfect fit. A very similar design was the PROTEA also made in South Africa which could be fitted to anything with a real chassis such as FORD (UK), Morris, Austin or TRIUMPH. Even saw one with a Peugeot engine on a Morris 8 chassis.
    The claim that it was imported, could be true if it originated from South Africa!!!

  8. Maestro37 Member

    Jesse and Josh, I have discovered this Site just recently and I hope it is a success. It’s very well done.

  9. Alan (Michigan)

    There is so little information posted by the seller.

    Can’t tell what kind of power might be used. Although there is a central tunnel, there does not appear to be enough room at the front of it for a transmission, so very unlikely it is front-engine.

    Devins were rear air-cooled power as well, VW, Porsche, Corvair. Which is it? Hard to say, but at least the wheel hubs appear to be more GM than German

  10. Ron

    Not being a Devin expert, I can only guess this to be the typical kit car of the period. I still have the body to my Devin kit car. Being too lazy to go out and check the tag, I think it’s a 1957 Series B. I used to speak with Bill Devin on occasion, the last time, being perhaps a year before his death. Great guy, and a wealth of information. I can only suspect, the term “Special” may have been derived from the seller’s description needs, or possibly, due to the various states’, identifier for a home built kit car. I built mine up in New Jersey, and it was given the name “assembled” on the title. Of course the year it was titled, became the year of manufacture. So it is a 1957 Devin body, titled as a 1973. The Devin shown on Barn finds, could very well be the kit meant for placing on a VW belly pan, as the floor pan, resembles those.

    As was the case in many Devins built up from the body shell kits offered, at that time, mine read like the script from Jonny Cash’s song about the car built from so many years of cars. It was a 57 body, on a 57 TR frame, Daimler 2.5 Liter, Hemi V8, Daimler transmission, modified 64 Mustang read end, late 50s Alfa Romeo windshield, and fitted with TR4 rack and pinion steering. I drove that car, until the frame rotted out from under it. Now only the body, rear end, and windshield survive.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      @ Ron,
      As other listings has shown, the Devin bodies can be of substantial interest to period racers/restorers. Check out the latest from a BF listing, reworked by BF participant Dan Vargus here: http://barnfinds.com/derelict-devin-mystery-racer-1958-devin-ss/#comment-107663

      Suggestion: If you are not going to do anything with it, dig it out, take some photos, and get yourself some cash for it. :-D

      As for this listing, the car is still in Craigslist, but information has been added indicating that it has a VW base, with a Corvair engine for power.

      • Ron

        @Alan,
        Thanks for the response. I did see the comments by Dan Vargus on his Devin. Truly a beautiful car, and a wonderful example of craftsmanship. While my bucket list, includes returning my Devin to the road, the sad reality is, that is probably not going to happen, unless, of course, I have the lifespan of Moses, and even that is pushing it. Yes, I need to sell it, so I guess, whenever Spring arrives, I’ll bring it out and photograph it. But the real question is, which is the best venue to market the body? Craigslist, is too regional, E-Bay, is too hit and miss, and the local newspaper “for sale”, virtually, non-existent.
        Ron

  11. Dave at OldSchool

    @Ron… TR3/4 frames are not expensive. We have one at the shop, and they are on ebay frequently.
    The short wheelbase and the 2.5 Hemi is a good combination, though a bit short of legroom

    Dave

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