Black Plate Rarity: 1957 LaDawri Sebring

Kit cars are an acquired taste — which I happen to have! This 1957 LaDawri appears to be one of the few kit cars I’ve seen that has been absolutely assembled correctly — or in this case re-assembled correctly. Thanks to reader Levi A. for sending in this very orange find! It’s listed for sale here on craigslist for an asking price of $19,900 and is located in Little Rock, Arkansas.

LaDawri Coachcraft was founded in British Columbia, Canada in 1956, but later moved to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, by 1965 the company was defunct. In between, they produced both front and rear-engined kits; Josh posted about a front-engined La Dawri Daytona project last May. Naturally, Geoff Hacker’s website Undiscovered Classics does a great job collecting all the LaDawri data that’s out there–I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you are interested in this orange beauty!

There’s one catch, however, that I found while researching this post. It appears that this same car was for sale in September of 2019 for only $8,000. Now that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth more than that, but you probably should consider that according to that article the car had previously been for sale in 2019 for $12,000 with no takers. The current seller has certainly cleaned and detailed the car and added custom carpeting. It’s up to you whether or not the car is worth the increased price, though.

The underside of the car is as nice as the top. And yes, you are correct if you have identified that this isn’t a Volkswagen engine as the kit was originally constructed with. A Corvair enthusiast purchased the kit in early 2013 and really reworked it, incorporating many custom touches in the process.

This is the unusual kit car example in that the interior looks every bit as nice as the exterior. The Chrysler “Sebring” script is a nice touch; interestingly one of the other Sebrings I found pictures of online has the same script in a similar location.

This is the rebuilt 140 horsepower Corvair engine the restorer fitted. That should be plenty of oomph to push this lightweight sports car around. What do you think of this unusually well-finished kit car? Are you juiced for it?

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  1. Weasel

    The blue one that I took my drivers test in was a sweet ride.

    This one is in DMV orange. Very rare color.

    Like 2
  2. dave Member

    Looks like that flat six has been converted to/upgraded with an electronic ignition.

    Like 3
  3. don

    Plymouth Satellite Sebring emblem , just to be nit picky ….

    Like 6
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Nice catch, Don 🙂

      Like 2
  4. grant

    This is really cool, but not 20k cool. Maybe 10k cool. Maybe.

    Like 8
  5. jerry z

    That is a sweet ride but that cockpit looks small for me! My body doesn’t contort like my younger days.

    Like 2
  6. Danh

    Was just waiting to see the ‘ol VW Engine sitting in the back but surprise surprise!

    Like 2
  7. Maestro1

    I agree with Grant.

    Like 1
  8. PairsNPaint

    I only see 2 carbs in the engine shots. 110 hp, not 140.

    Like 1
    • On and On On and On Member

      I saw that also but description says fuel injection so they may be throttle bodies. Still a 2 carb intake? Confusing to me also. 140hp engines had 4 carb intake manifolds.

      Like 1
      • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

        there are no “intake manifolds” … I40’s have two 2-carb HEADS….( x 2 = 4 carbs… ) but it’s the HEADS that are

        You are right that this car has heads that only mount one carb , each …

        Like 2
      • On and On On and On Member

        Thank you Dave for clarifying that. You know what I was trying to say! BTW do you do restoration work on Corvairs?

  9. Jonny the Boy

    Gorgeous car, but by looking at it, I’d swear it has to be front-engined. With the driver and passenger seated well to the rear in addition to the drivetrain, I can imagine that the car must be a real handful with all that rearward weight bias!

    Like 1
  10. chrlsful

    where’s the corvairs’ supercharger?
    Modern? WRX or (too big?) water cooled porsche?

  11. Claudio Member

    Looks great , really would like a spirited ride in this …could be very scary …

  12. Dave at OldSchool Restorations Dave at OldSchool Restorations Member

    @On and On

    Now retiring from restoring, except for a few of my own cars that are not finished yet. Have a 140 ‘Vair engine, and some adapters etc that we will be selling, but no other Corvair stuff.

    Still doing blasting, and have the latest in Vapor Blasting technology.

    Like 2
    • On and On On and On Member

      Where are you located Dave, I should have asked.

  13. keith jackson

    As the previous owner/restorer I can assure you the heads are 140hp. The pictures do not show 2 carb mounts. NOS heads in fact.

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