BF AUCTION: 1959 Devin V12 Special

UPDATE – Upon request, the seller sent us a video of the car driving on the street! The V12 sounds fantastic and it appears to run nicely.

It might look like it was built by a company like Ferrari or Aston Martin, it even has a V12 under the hood! But this exotic looking sports car wasn’t built by an Italian supercar company, rather it was the genius of Bill Devin, who attained legendary status in West Coast racing circles for designing his own imported chassis and attaching a fiberglass body that looked fast standing still. This Barn Finds Auction Devin Special rides on an SS replica chassis and is legitimately quick, thanks to having a V12 stuffed under the hood. Read on!

The Devin was originally designed with a Corvette-sourced V8 and transmission under the hood, and it was outrageously quick with that setup; I can’t imagine what it’s like with the Jaguar V12 under the hood. The four-speed is gone as well, with the seller having upgraded to a five-speed gearbox with a Lakewood bell housing. The Devin had all the credentials of a sports car with much purer bloodlines – knock-off wheels, disc brakes, de Dion rear end, three-spoke/wood-rimmed steering wheel, and more.

The V12 seems flat-out bananas considering the low curb weight, but as the seller points out, a body like this pretty much deserves an engine this beautiful. The Devin is said to be a weekend driver, but the description makes it sound like it’s built for vintage track days. The wheels are genuine Halibrands mounted on street slicks, and the roll bar is obviously there to keep you in one piece if things get hairy – but hopefully, the four-wheel, independent suspension will ensure a certain level of calm is maintained.

Speaking of the suspension, it’s modeled after the ultra-desirable Devin SS. The entire chassis was built in California to be exactly like the Super Shillelagh chassis that was built in Ireland for the 15 original SS cars. It’s really a thing of beauty, so be sure to check out this article on Undiscovered Classics detailing the Super Shillelagh chassis. This car even features rear inboard Girling disc brakes like the originals! The only notable difference between this car’s chassis and one of the originals is that the front suspension has been upgraded to unequal-length A-arms for better handling and stability, a big plus when you have a V12 hanging out front.

The seller is offering this Devin as a Barn Finds Auction and it is located in Modesto, California. The body looks like it just waltzed out of Shelby’s factory with the blue racing stripes, and the side-exit exhaust pipes scream Cobra. The seller notes he has owned the Devin for a few years and has used that time to clean up any loose ends. It’s one of the more expensive kit cars you can buy, but it’s also likely one of the best to drive in anger! You can leave the seller any questions via the form below and be sure to cast your high bid.

  • Location: Modesto, California
  • Mileage: 64,000
  • VIN: SRSPSSV12X61959CA
  • Title Status: Clean

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  1. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Modesto, eh?
    Sounds like a familiar town….

    Really nice car, I wonder if there is still a cruising strip with a Drive In to stop in for a snack.

    Like 2
    • kiteflier

      I skip town when they shake the almond trees..

      Like 5
    • Terry Melvin

      I don’t know. If California needed an enema, they’d either stick the bulb in Modesto or Lodi.

      Like 3
      • Tesla209

        You know it’s where American Graffiti was filmed, more hot rods here than almost anywhere. I like that aspect. You’re right about Lodi though!

        Like 2
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        That was my point – I only know Modesto because of one of my favorite movies.
        I have no idea what these other comments are about – politics / economy would be my guess.

        Like 3
  2. Shawn

    I want to see and hear it driving! Any videos available?

    Like 2
    • Tesla209

      Yes! I sent Josh a video driving the Devin. Not sure if I can post it without Barn Finds putting it in.

  3. Robert

    Well i know Modesto my daughter lives there . Looking at the car closely it to me correct me if im wrong but isnt the rear end and brake set up from a jaguar? And im suprised that this thing is still sitting at a low bid, must be because when coming to find parts or to repair it ,well will be a chore in its own just to determine what it is and were to find what is needed to fix it . So in that way of looking at it can take for ever just o find what is needed . Must of been the sellers problem to since he has had it and now is selling it himself . Would be a nice toy but is it really worth it? and what is the reserve really at?is there a BUY IT NOW button some where ? And now days well as we know there isnt races like there was back in the day to run these type of cars anymore . Now days its about drifters and to convert this well just to much to do so. VERY NICE BUT to many Cons on my behalf to add this to my collection .

    • Terry Melvin

      This car has a reserve price that probably won’t be met. But..if I had money to buy it ( and I wish I did), I would garage it mostly, only taking it out a couple times a month in good weather. I wouldn’t worry about needing parts. This car would be excellent for the right buyer.

      Like 2
  4. Joe Haska

    1K ! I will take it. I remember these when they were the hot set-up, and this one is beyond that. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  5. Enfield 750

    The car would be better with the V8. The V12 Jag motor looks pretty but is pretty lame in performance and also sound horrible,” I happen to work on them”.

    Like 5
    • Terry Melvin

      One of the common mods to XJ12 Jags is to pull that motor and install a SB Chevy engine. You ended up with a lighter, faster, better handling and more reliable car.

      Like 5
    • Tesla209

      Okay, gotta say V12’s sound great to me. All Lucus Prince of Darkness removed from this motor! So it actually works. It’s an HE, 11:1 compression I believe. Idle’s for a few minutes before it needs a little throttle tap. Very sweet motor. Weighs less than the iron block Corvette motor, and is 326 c.i. with overhead cams. Runs very well. I’ll run it against any V8 Devin, except maybe David Zavetsky’s.

      Like 2
  6. Randy

    In the engine compartment, what is that yellow lifting strap (wrapped around the bonnet lock pins) for? There also seems to be a light piece of line in there too.

    Like 1
    • Tesla209

      The strap limits the tilt front end travel open. See Special no. 69 I think shows this car with front end open.

  7. Healeymonster

    I like the big 12. It fits the era, looks the part. Would look great in my new garage if i could ever get it built. But its been 10 months and cant get a city permit to build.
    These Devins are few and far between. Would make a excellent addition to any cool car collection.

    Like 2
  8. Bigbird

    The motor is really nice. I think it will be tough for street driving. The V12’s like to run flat out, and could be scary unless on a track. Great looking car….

    Like 1
    • Tesla209

      Thank you all for the great comments. And Big Bird: There is a throttle travel stop! The Mega Jolt ignition limits rpm to mild for now. Can spin the rear tires, 11” soft compound street slicks. Zoom triple plate clutch. More…

      Like 2
  9. retrogreg

    a fine lookin’ build – a lot of time methinks, greg

  10. bobhess bobhess Member

    That is a Jag rear end but I wonder how long the CV joints will last at that angle. Center section needs to be lower. Neat car.

    Like 1
  11. Ganjoka

    I’d probably wear out my Uni-Syn trying to synchronize those carbs

    Like 2
  12. Jack Hammer

    Loose that cobra livery, paint it BRG, and all will be well.

    Like 1
  13. Donald Barry

    Before I bid, I need to ask the seller a few questions. How do I obtain answers to those questions?
    Don Barry,

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