Rare Racer: 1959 Bocar XP-7

Rare Racer

Back in the fifties, the DIY sports car phenomenon was just taking off. An enthusiast could purchase a fiberglass body, stick it on a frame, and have themselves a handsome and decently performing automobile. Bob Carnes of Denver, Colorado had the dream of building a sports car of his own, but he wanted to take it to the next level. Instead of just building one car for himself, he designed a prototype and started producing some formidable racing machines. A factory fire ended his fun after only two years, but when fitted with a Corvette engine, as this would have originally been, his XP series of cars were able to keep up with much more sophisticated machines. This particular XP-7 was found in an old barn. It is sitting on a home-built chassis and the engine is gone. The title is also missing, so getting this one back on the road could be a challenge. These are rare and respectable racers though so this project is definitely worth a look. It’s located in Portland, Oregon and is listed here on eBay with bidding currently at $2,500!


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WANTED 1969-1970 Mercury Cougar XR7 Coupe Looking for a rolling chassis with good sheetmetal in the North East Bub. Any parts considered. thx Contact

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  1. jim s

    to bad it does not have the correct frame. still strong bidding for what your getting. reat find.

  2. Clay Bryant

    Had one of these in the mid-70s.Stopped to look at an old Model A,it was too much work for me so the owner said”I got something else maybe you’ll be interested in”.Sittin’ inside was this 59 XP-5.He needed money pretty quick and I got it for 200 bucks(not a misprint)When I sold it,I paid the house off(in 70s dollars)I’ve gathered a lot of info on them but probably the best article is in (I believe)Antique Automotive Quarterly.Recently contacted by a “new” owner of one restoring one.He contacted me from a story on here that I had mentioned something on.This one would not be that hard to bring back to where one would be.The only thing you would use would be the body and you can’t really call it a “tribute car” or whatever nowadays builders like to call them.This actually would be a rebuilt Bocar as the body did come from the factory.One needs to go to a vintage racing event this summer as they show up there,with a tape measure,a camera good for about 400 pics as the basis was a tubular frame.Bob Carnes used Buick finned brake drums,Volkswagen front suspensions and pretty much off the shelf(or now out of the junkyards)parts.Before anyone gets ahead of himself,I saw here not too long ago somebody said he used Porsche front ends.In 1957-61,there had to be alot of Porsche’s running around in the Denver area that didn’t quit steer right and rode rather low in the front.I’ve had V-dubs and it sure looked like one at the time.There was one in the UK not too long ago for 240k that was drop dead georgous.Google Bocar and there’s some on there that will knock your eyes out.On this one,you’re starting with the “real deal” body and if done right,a person will get returns like you’ve never seen(if you sell it)as parts as easy to find,if not easier then when Bob was scroungin’ them.They are head turners if finished right.I’ve really been blessed over the years being able to buy cars right back in the 60s on and this was one of 4 that I had in cars that I bought cheap and collectively could have sold for a million bucks on up.65 Shelby Mustang,68 L-88 Corvette,and a 53 Corvette.(Sits in Speedway Motors Museum now)I listen so often to the “bean-counters” talk about it’s too much,etc.but this hobby is one where you can eventually get some sweat equity out of your toils.And good luck to the guy in Wisconsin who just started work on one.You are what we used to call a “Lucky Dog”.

  3. Mitchell Curley

    It is a nice example indeed. Much in the same condition as the two Bocar Stilettos we picked up years ago, along with xp-5’s serial numbers 028, 034, and 166. We have also recently retired car 007 from vintage racing. They are an absolute blast, with those big buick brakes I have out matched 911’s and 914’s in the corners. The fella in Wisconsin has a car built originally by R.C Lebron of Nebraska. Lebron was so pleased with his first kit in 1959, that he wanted to become a Bocar dealer. He ordered thirty complete cars, paid for them, and got thirty kits. Mr. Bryant, do you recall the serial number of your car? Now that I have taken up the mantle for the Bocar registry, I am always seeking info and owners both past and present.

    • Clay Bryant

      I don’t have the serial # for it at hand but it may be put away in my storage.Have to start going thru things pretty soon as I’m getting into my 70s.Will keep an eye out.Was going to see you in Colorado one of these days as I have a boy in Aurora and one in Denver.Will stay in touch,Clay

      • Mitchell Curley

        I look forward to that, we would be glad to have you. We are in the Colorado phone book, look for either Gaylon, Mike, or myself. I also have a thread going on the hotrodders board, give it a look if you like. Search Bocar xp-5,6,7,7R and Stiletto.

  4. restoguy

    Hello Mitchell,
    My name is Scott Morton, I’m a restoration tech at Classic Restoration in Englewood, CO. Our latest project is a Bocar and I’m searching for some help in identifying this particular car and any history on it if possible. The only identification we can find is the emblem on the right side of the dash that says XP-6…. It appears to have a Ford 289 in it currently. Where might I find the serial # and is there any other information out there to assist us?
    Scott Morton’
    Classic Restoration

  5. Jesus

    The Xp cars actually had chrysler motors I have had the honor to meet one of the people who helped design the xp5 and we talked for a while he also said the chassis was based off of a Chevrolet Corvette.

    • Mitchell Curley

      Chrysler engines? Sorry to inform you, but your choice was Chevrolet, or Pontiac. That was it. I can refer you to three guys who worked in the factory and one who built the molds. Only one has a Chrysler, and it was put there by the owner because he prefers it. The factory built cars also sat on a purpose built space frame. Can post pictures if you like.

  6. Rory A

    Mitch, I would like to get in contact with the three factory people you last mentioned. I am looking at a BOCAR with two doors that hinge down.
    Not sure if it is the XP2. it was originally white. the fiberglass is a single layer and eggshell thin. I was told it has newspaper remnants on the underside since it was the original skin the other bodies were molded from. Where would I look for a serial number if it has one stamped?

    • Mitchell Curley

      Which three factory guys? I know plenty of them. As for the X-2, all I have on it is a picture and a letter from a previous owner claiming it was the x-1. Both the X-1 and 2 were super thin bodied and newspaper is common to all bocars on the inside, due to how Del and the glass guys would finish the insides of the doors and was used to help form the reinforcement ribs of the hood and decklid. One of my super thin xp-5’s is the same way. The xp series cars had a brass tag on the upper passenger side frame tube under the hood. As for yours, it may not. Look there to start with, otherwise start looking for a number stamped there, or on the right rear lower frame tube in the wheel well. What is your chassis constructed with? I’ll try to find more of our notes, and perhaps call Del, the guy who made the molds, but I seem to recall the x2 was built with square tubing, and the x3 was round. Both with iron drum Chevy brakes and Chevy engines. Feel free to shoot me an email so we can better exchange info.

      • Mitchell Curley

        The guys I know all worked in the factory at some time, from welders to glass guys, hotrodders, and drag races. Each one is fascinating to talk with. Does my email show up anywhere so you can write me? I couldn’t find yours. All else fails look for me in the Northern Colorado phone book. Would love to talk Bocar.

  7. Mitchell Curley

    Clay? Rory? Here is my number, feel free to call, ill try to have my name and number list and info close at hand. All else fails I can put together an info packet and send it off. I am very curious about this mystery Bocar Rory found.


  8. Michael

    I had one from the Nebraska dealer, Lebron Mine was unusual since it had a flathead Ford V8 installed. It was grey primer, no interior. Sold it in Omaha and wish I had money at the time to finish it.

    • Mitchell Curley

      So LeBron did sell at least one, very interesting. From what we knew he just stashed them away and never talked Bocar again after Carnes stiffed him.

    • Scott Carroll

      I own a Bocar built by LeBron that was drag raced in Omaha by Jerry Harrison during the early 1960’s. It was painted yellow and called “the coward” sponsored by Beau Motors VW. Mine has a tube frame with rear leaf springs and an I-beam front axle. Always looking for more information and photo’s of it.

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