Rare Glass: 1962 La Dawri Daytona

1962-la-dawri-daytona

In the ’50s and ’60s, many people in the automotive world thought that fiberglass would be the next big thing and even GM saw its potential. Today fiberglass is primarily seen as a cheap material to build kit cars and body kits out of, but at one time it was an exotic material. La Dawri was one of the companies to see the potential and at one point was the largest producer of fiberglass bodies, but few people remember this company or the curvaceous cars they built. This 1962 La Dawri Daytona has been in the same family since new, but they have decided to sell it. It can be found Montreal, Canada or here on Kijiji for $20,000.

1962-la-dawri-daytona-interior

The La Dawri was a kit car and could be installed on a variety of chassis. This one is based on a Henry J chassis and has a 231 cui V6 and three speed manual from a Buick. The drivetrain has obviously been changed out at some point in time, as it’s from a 1975 Buick, but just about any drivetrain can be installed. The seller does still have much of the original paperwork, so it may be possible to find out what it originally had installed under the hood.

1962-la-dawri-daytona-rear-corner

These fiberglass bodies are rare and are getting very difficult to find, the few we have come across have been in very rough condition, such as this 1959 and this 1963. Since it is a kit, we don’t think anyone will be too concerned with originality. Personally, I would stick a small block V8 and a manual gearbox into it. Special thanks to Alex C for sharing this rare fiberglass find with us! What engine would you shove under the hood? Perhaps a big block V8 or maybe something more exotic, like a V12?

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Comments

  1. twwokc1

    That thing is just too cool….

  2. Mbzgurl

    Looks like a cross between a Amphibian and a Corvette.
    I would put a 5.0L in it with a ZF 5sp.
    It might go airborne.

    • Robert J

      AmphiVette!

    • Eric-Michel Bouchard

      It use to have a 390 cui by Ford and 6 speeds manual overdrive, i know, my father builted it!

  3. kev

    amazing looking car

  4. Dolphin Member

    It certainly is true that most of these FG bodies are rough nowadays. It may also be true that this one could be the best survivor out there.

    I remember seeing these bodies advertised and even featured in a few articles in some of the old US car magazines, and I have one or two of the original La Dawri brochures in my files. They looked exotic back then because no production car bodies were as distinctive as these, or the Devins of course. This one is even more distinctive because it actually got completed, plated, and used. Most didn’t, or else got sort of completed…roughly…then used a little and sold or put in a garage or barn, to end up years later on…Barn Finds!

    One question about this one is, What is the dash? At first I thought homemade, but it looks so well done that I wonder if it’s adapted from another vehicle. Anyone recognize it?

    It’s for sale in Montreal for $20K…a bit rich considering what else that money could buy, although it seems to be in great condition and has a removable hard top and very nicely done nerf bars.

    A possible issue is how difficult it would be to export from Canada into the US. The good news is that it seems to have been registered as a 1962 M.Y. initially, which predates the most difficult safety and emissions regs. And if the law says it’s a 1952 M.Y. (based on the Henry J chassis), that could make it even easier.

    • paul

      almost looks Studebaker Hawkish, dash?

      • Dolphin Member

        @Paul, Yes I thought Stude Hawk or GT at first, but I haven’t been able to find a photo of one that’s the same. But it certainly looks like it was inspired by a Hawk or GT instrument panel, of not an actual Hawk or GT panel.

    • 1750 GTV

      The steering wheel is from a late 70s Datsun. The squared off dash looks like any number of dashes from the same time period. I suspect it’s also Japanese – sadly.

      • paul

        Yeah they need to put an Alfa Romeo wheel on it.maybe from a 71 GTV 1750, eh.

      • Webby

        Looks like the steering column & shifter are ex Datsun too.
        I doubt the dash is Japanese though. And nine instrumentson the panel. No wonder the tacho has to go on top.

  5. paul

    Would be nice with a period correct 63 F85 215 cu in aluminum V8 & 4 spd.
    Nice I have never seen one of these.

  6. Jeff

    To me it needs a lowering kit, get rid of those white walls and a nice set of wire spoke rims. A 5L Ford block to keep costs down, many mods available. Instant Euro-sports car.

  7. Steve

    I’ll vote for the small block Chevy and a 5 speed. Pretty much lose it or flip it with anything much bigger. Plenty of pucker with the small block!

  8. James Wallhauser

    Never seen one, rare for me and a kit that doesn’t look awkward. I love the color (original?), dash very well done @Paul, could be Stude; get rid of the whitewalls if the wheels are original at least otherwise many more attractive options available. Any small block V8 would be fun and the “Vette-ish” styling is awesome.

    • paul

      I like my idea of the F85 motor because it’s aluminum, light weight, not too much HP, we are talking a Henri J chassis, would definitley have to beef up the brakes & suspension U joints etc.

      Figure away to put a sub frame & IRS.

  9. Nice Daytona

    This is a nice looking Daytona, and the price is about right.
    Unfortunately it has been ‘modernized” rather than done in period, but that doesn’t really detract from the valueas it appears to be tastefully done.. .
    We have the ex-Holmes LaDawri Daytona here at the shop. It has a 292 T’Bird motor with 3 Strombergs, and history since he built it………. Pictures are on my webpage http://www.race-cardrivers.com …. OldSchool restorations.

  10. David

    I’m not so sure that the tranny is a 3 speed, that looks like an automatic shifter to me.

  11. scot c

    ~ paging dr. Hacker. dr. Hacker, please call medical records.
    of the LaDawri i have seen photographed this one is extremely nice. i’d be curious how the Buick V6 performs. turbo GN, anyone???
    most of what is known about LaDawri (and fiberglass cars overall) can be found in the archives of Forgotten Fiberglass.
    http://www.forgottenfiberglass.com/

    • scot c

      ~ it calls out for LSX/T56 running gear, but only if the 231, auto proves anemic. i’m usually in the 3.5 aluminum V8 camp. how many of the dash lights actually provide information you can use??

    • paul

      I think a Buick GN motor would twist that Henry J chassis into a pretzel, but OK!

  12. Ian

    That is one sweet looking car. The steering wheel looks like it’s out of a Datsun though. That can be rectified… I’d go full overkill with an aluminum 392 Gen III Hemi (if one could be fitted) with a Tremec T56 Magnum.

  13. Peter J

    A 1955 Studebaker Champion sedan might have given up it’s back glass…

    http://sunnyvale-texas.olx.com/1955-studebaker-champion-iid-324744746

    • paul

      nice one.

  14. Jeff Dahn

    It’s almost funny that the vast majority of the comments made advocate immediately stuffing some monster powertrain in a 60 year old chassis. No thought to safety at all. C’mon. A 392 Hemi for Gods sake?!
    Spend 20 grand for the car and another 20 just to screw it up. Hopefully, none of you are buying this beast.

    • Arthur

      Speaking for myself, if I bought an old LaDawri Daytona that had no chassis at all, I know how I would make it capable of handling the power of a 392 Gen III Hemi and accommodating a Tremec T56 Magnum: give it an Art Morrison Max-G chassis. Safety issues all solved. :)

  15. Chris UK

    What the hell do the 11 warning lights indicate ??

    • paul

      the 11 warning lights are for the folks who think sticking a 392 hemi under there will be a good thing, 10 are the warning & the other is your dead.

  16. Bobinott

    Wow, what a great example. Surely one of the nicest left (if not THE nicest). I agree with going back to a 1960s powertrain, and I like the idea of the F85 with a manual.

    I wonder if the “Powered by Ford” sticker on the tail is another part of the history. Maybe a 260 with a four speed is the correct answer…

  17. Steve

    This has been sticking with me for a couple of days now. I originally was thinking small block GM but after reading through the various comments, it’s probably true that the old Henry J just won’t work well in the car if it’s power train is overly modified. But at the end of the day it is a kit car. And I’m not personally taken with the idea of restoring it to a 60’s standard. It really is a beautiful car to see and it’s easy to visualize falling ridiculously in love with it. So now I’m wondering if it would be worth the price to purchase it for the body kit alone and move it all on to a completely different chassis. For instance, could it maybe fit on a mechanically restored BMW Z3 or Z4 chassis with a 3.5 straight 6 and a 5 or 6 spd? Chassis, suspension. steering, brakes and power train problems solved. And one hot running, modernized La Dawri! Have to do some research now and see if I can find facts and figures on the build specs. I believe I’m falling for it! )

  18. insomniacgarage

    Cool car, I’d go with something odd, like a Mopar slant-six running Weber sidedraft carbs and a 4-speed Dodge truck transmission, put a ’54 Kaiser steering wheel and white steel wheels running baby moon caps on it.

  19. gunningbar

    It really is a fun car and topic…lots of good ideas here on how to proceed…my imagination is rich with all your ideas.

  20. Richard Munn

    My dad had one and it was on a VW pan and powered by a 1600 with 4 SPD. I can tell you it moved well but a little scary in the corners at high speeds. Another thing to note is I am 5’9 and getting in and out is tough. The one my dad had was fitted with an electric set up that raised and lowered the car. There have been road racers and drag racers built out of these. The early ones had a one piece body but do to shipping cost were changed to multiple parts.

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