Genuine Racing Relic: Devin Drag Car

The fifties and sixties were a fantastic time to be a racer.  Advances were being made in almost every avenue of racing.  In the thick of it was Bill Devin.  Devin was an entrepreneur who began building fiberglass bodies and parts for race cars like this awesome Devin drag car being sold on eBay out of Wilsonville, Oregon.  With a documented drag racing past from the sixties and seventies, this fire breathing beast is a rare opportunity to put a piece of quarter mile history in your garage.  Does the car’s provenance justify the $18,950 buy it now price tag that comes with it?

It is just amazing how all the people and technology came together in California after the war to push American auto racing to the front of the world stage.  The area was filled with talented craftsmen who learned their skills in various ways during the war.  Advances in engineering and new materials helped push cars faster, and those willing to experiment often found their cars taking the checkered flag.  One such racer was Bill Devin.  Determined to compete on the sports car circut, Devin came up with a fiberglass body that was as beautiful as the European specials he raced against, but for a fraction of the price.

Once in production, Devin offered to other racers in a dizzying array of different body variations.  Devin bodied specials ended up winning races not just at sportscar races, but on the drag strip as well.  This hand built race car is a good example of one of those drag strip terrors.  The seller has documentation verifying that the car raced at such famed drag strips as Carlsbad, Palmdale, and Orange County International Raceway in the sixties and seventies.  Also present is a bill of sale from 1965 and registration since 1975.  It was raced as number 293, but it also had a couple of cool nicknames: Red Dragon and Ziggy Too.

This Devin was built on a 1956 Chevrolet frame that was shortened, drilled, and narrowed.  Under the hood currently is a 355 cubic inch Chevrolet small block V-8, and that power is routed through a 400 series automatic transmission and 4.11 rear gears.  It sits on a set of Fenton wheels with period correct tires.

In the cockpit of this fiberglass flyer are two thinly padded seats, a GM automatic shifter, and a full set of gauges.  It appears that the dash was part of the body mold, and that a windshield was never added to the car.  The rudimentary door opens on the driver’s side, but any passenger would have to take the Dukes of Hazzard approach to exit or entry.  There also don’t appear to be any seat belts in the car.

Under the hood is the aforementioned 355 cubic inch engine, complete with a very nice set of Corvette valve covers, an Edelbrock intake, and a very new or freshly anodized Holley carburetor.  The seller states that some preparations have been made to make the car street legal, with upgrades to the cooling and electrical systems.  Lights, exhaust work, and a proper set of street tires would still be needed.

Not too long ago, nobody wanted an old race car.  Anyone paying attention to the meteoric rise of vintage motorsports can tell you those days are over.  There are a number of vintage drag racing groups in the United States now, and this car would be a great addition to their lineup.  The asking price might be a good investment with the side effect of having some fun with it.

Would you be interested in this vintage drag car?

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Comments

  1. sisuman Member

    A solid Devin with road racing history could easily bring three times this price. It seems like a good deal to me.

    2
  2. Steve R

    It’s a great looking old race car, however, it would never make it through tech in its current configuration. No track will allow it to run because it’s so far out of compliance with current rules that the tracks insurance won’t cover it if anything happens.

    It’s destined to be a car that shows up at nostalgia races and cruises where it will turn heads and draw a crowd.

    Steve R

    2
  3. Jame HGF

    Link for the Devin Special dot Com page:

    https://www.devinspecial.com

    Scroll about half way down the page for a Devin drag racer story – also info on drag racer shell found in New Jersey.

    The Devin site is a treasure trove of Devin & Devin related material.

    1
  4. Troy s

    Enjoyed the old pictures of Carlsbad raceway, man that place has drastically changed since the track closed down. Interesting car as according to the sellers add the car once ran a 409.

    1
  5. JOHN

    Cool old race car!

  6. bog

    Jeff – if you look closely at the photos of the car when it was yellow, it did indeed have a windshield/windscreen at that point. I’m the right “vintage” for this car, as I went to a lot of drag races in the 60’s and sports car races from the 70’s onward. Love the style. Actually liked when this was gold with flames better than the current red. I did closely examine the pictures and what REALLY bothers me is the small block of wood holding up the upper part of the steering assembly. (as seen in the under hood shot) Looks like it was just wedged in there….hmmm.

    2
  7. Jwinters

    if you were to look up the word “Deathtrap” in the dictionary there would be a picture of this car

    3
    • Dave

      No, no, no. Google “Turbonique Black Widow” for the definition of “deathtrap”.

      1
    • Ron

      Crazy statement, if it’s such a death trap, tell me what the current death toll is, since it’s had 50+ years to rack them up…

  8. ron trainor

    If it were mine, I would put it back on the street basically for “cruise in” or car shows

    2
  9. Gaspumpchas

    Dam sam that’s sweet. Good luck to the new owner. Much fun to be had with this ol girl!!!
    Cheers
    GPC

  10. JOHN

    Other than not being an enclosed car, I think this is just as cool as an old gasser, the slicks hanging out of the wheel well’s is awesome! If this thing wasn’t 2500 miles away I would probably pull the trigger.

    1

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