Parked For 50 Years: 1957 LaDawri Conquest

This rare 1957 Ladawri Conquest is a kit car of the best kind, a vintage model built to be used as a build-it-yourself track car. Sporting classic sports car looks and lightweight construction, relatively few remain in undisturbed condition today like this example. By and large, the surviving cars have been restored or are in pieces, making one that’s still intact and just in need of finishing a desirable project for the vintage kit builder enthusiast. The seller of this Ladawri notes he has owned it for seven years and is throwing in the towel, noting it’s unlikely he’ll finish it. Find the Conquest here on eBay where bidding is at $5,149 with no reserve.

Vintage kit cars live in a bizarro world of sorts, not necessarily beholden to the standard price guides for models of the same era and purpose. There are plenty of Lotuses and Formula Fords that were built for the amateur racer set, and those cars are worth fairly decent money, especially with proven provenance. But the kit car realm exists outside of this world, despite the fact that cars like the Ladawri possess just as much style and potentially speed depending on which drivetrain you drop into it. This one rides on a modified 1951 Ford chassis that has been sectioned and lowered but retains its original suspension.

The thing about the Ladawri is that it was seemingly a high-quality kit. The fit and finish always looked better than you might expect out of a car you can assemble yourself, and the interior is a great example of this. That dash is downright stylish, certainly fitting for the era in which it was made when futuristic curves were all the rage. Overall, the Ladawri remains in seemingly good shape despite being partially disassembled and barn stored for years, as the seller’s plans to swap in a small block Chevy and four-speed never materialized. The seller notes he also has a “….Borgensen steering box from an early 70’s Volvo and the complete steering set up from Jamco designed for shoebox Fords” that can be worked into the deal.

The Conquest comes with extensive documentation from the previous owner, who originally fitted it with an Oldsmobile V8 and three-speed transmission. This photo is a great piece of history to have, showing just how striking the car is when finished. The helmet in the original owner’s hands suggests this example was used as the original manufacturer intended, which is as a road racer or dedicated autocross car. The Conquest will come with brochures, instructions, and more, including records that capture every expense, “…down to the penny of the costs.” These are desirable vintage DIY specials, and finding one with this much history is a treat. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Peter R. for the find.


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  1. Cadmanls Member

    This car has great lines, put that body on a modern or custom frame and be the star if any show.

    Like 9
  2. Charles Sawka

    Road racer or auto crosser ? Sure man.

  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    It’s located in Byfield,Mass.

  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    looks like they made part of the tunnel out of an old GI gas can.

    Like 2
  5. Gerard Frederick

    I think it´s a beauty; wonder why the owner ¨threw in the towel¨.

    Like 2
  6. Danny V. Johnson

    Like Charles Sawka said, I see this is a classic mid-century “Special” or sports racer, for vintage racing. You could use almost any drivetrain. A “small block” Chevy would be easy. I like the Chrysler wire wheels. However, that plywood floor has to go. I’d like to see what the frame looks like.

  7. ChingaTrailer

    These were built back when men were men and transmissions were manual!

    Like 1
  8. Pat Gill

    has a touch of a BMW 507 about it……..

    Like 6
  9. Kenn

    A guess: “Threw in the towel” due to either health or spouse. Which aren’t mutually exclusive, now that I think about it!

  10. Stephen F Sharp

    has more of the touch of a Corvette of the same era

    Like 2
  11. sterling

    i see a lot of corvette in this car

    Like 2
  12. Chinga-Trailer

    I have owned a couple of old LaDawri’s from that time period and plywood, covered with fiberglass, was an integral part of the construction for floors, firewall and other bulkheads. Works in boats too. Mine were real torque monsters, one with a 392 Hemi, the other a Chev 409. All that horsepower and drum brakes all around – but not as bad as it sounds, they were probably sourced from some 4500 lb Detroit land yacht and my cars couldn’t have weighed much over 2200 or 2300 lbs!

    Like 2
  13. t-bone BOB

    Item location:
    Byfield, Massachusetts

  14. Ward William

    I am loving this baby bigtime and set on a more modern chassis with a decent current gen drivetrain and it would be a killer retromod sleeper from hell.

    • Chinga-Trailer

      Even on a 1950s chassis, engine and brakes these can be a “sleeper” from hell. No need to make it overly electronically complicated to achieve the same results.

  15. junkman Member

    Man, I’m really tempted to grab this one. Right up the road, ” Funky Sheik “, do it black with a red interior. Love those sunbeam bucket seats, cool dash and so on. Got a 400 SB in the barn waiting for somethin just like this. Lord give me strength.

    Like 2
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Sold at $7100.

      Did you pull the trigger, junkman?

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