1957 Devin-VW Original D prototype

Devin f (3) Devin f (1) Devin f (2)

This historic one-off racer from the late 50’s features Devin’s first body, paired with a VW chassis and motor.

Being the first “Devin”, only stories from the original witnesses of this car can give you the full detail on how this fun and unique car came to be. Enjoy

From Ron Cummings, April 2016:

“What makes the car historic is that it was Devin’s first attempt at building a Devin bodied VW and that the story was covered by Sports Cars Illustrated in 1958.  When Rory told me he had a VW-Devin that he was going to strip for parts, I told him of a VW-Devin that I had seen (in 1955 ) at Bill Devin’s shop. The shop was in Lancaster California in those days. The car was probably a early 50’s vintage VW, of this I am not sure. It used a 295 Devin body rather than the much later Devin D body.  A two or three part series was written about the building of the car, including, if memory serves me, the shortening of the pan. The series was published in 1957 Sports Car Illustrated and later, Car and Driver magazine.   I mentioned that this car was the same that I had seen (in 1955). It was historic even though it was only raced in the LA area.

I have no photos of the car but I did see it on the roads around Lancaster. I remember I saw the completed car in April 1957 because I was in the Antelope Valley for a Triple R race sports car race, at Willow Springs, the weekend I first saw the completed Special run.

The problem is that to get performance from the 36 HP motor you will need to locate period piece hot rod parts. They are around but will take some research.

After reading the 1957 Sports Car Illustrated articles, Rory became convinced that his car was probably the same Devin Special.”


From Ralph Ricks, February 2011:

June 1961 – San Diego to Springfield Oregon to see my parents.  I rounded a curve on a wide two lane stretch of the pre-interstate US 99 near Quines Creek in rural Oregon.  There were two deer at the right edge of the road, so I slowed to about 35, and made a wide arc over to the left shoulder.  The buck made a beeline for the far side at the same time, and we collided, me almost stopped by then.  He hit the right front fender of the car, slid on his back across the hood, landed on his feet on the left just ahead of the windshield, and stopped to look at me from 50 feet away.  Shaking, I could hardly believe what had just happened, but for the hair and hoof marks on the hood.


June 1961 – Oregon to Chicago via US 30.  I hardly remember that trip, as I was anxious to see a girl I had met in Mexico City.  I worked that summer selling Fuller Brush door to door.  The rain every few days confused and upset me, as the car was just a water catcher.  I survived that summer of rain, and enrolled at the Univ of Illinois.  I broke up with the girl I had followed from Mexico, and met another, who became my wife the next year.  There were many trips north to her home town in Rockford over the next couple of years.


Aug 1962 – Painted the car beyond white primer for the first time.  Buick had deep metallics at the time, and I chose a med-dark green metallic from about 1958.


Aug 1963 – I made a bolt-on hitch for the Devin, and made a 4×8 box trailer based on a Ford Anglia frontend turned backwards.  With all our worldly possessions, my bride and I headed for San Diego.  The trailer kept swerving at speeds greater than about 40, and the wife nearly lost it going down a hill on route 66 in Missouri.  At a motel the next morning, a guy pointed out that the trailer’s wheels were toed outward, which would cause swerving.  Duh, I had installed the Anglia frontend backwards, and now toe-in was toe-out.  Fixed that, and it trailed perfectly from then on.


Early 1964 – we moved to Oregon for a few months, then on to Rockford, Ill, for family reasons.  We sold the trailer in San Diego and shipped our worldly belongings to Ill.


In Oregon, I made a frame and installed a 1955 Rambler windshield, replacing the scratched 1/8″ unframed plexi windshield it always had.  Anchoring the top to it was just too much stress for the plexi.


Driving through Yellowstone just after it opened in May, we saw almost nothing but snow banks until almost out of the east side.  There was a bull buffalo in the road, giving us a mean glare.  We stopped about 200 feet short of him, wondering what to do, when a station wagon came around us, honking.  The bull snorted and butted at the wagon, while getting off the road.  We quickly sneaked by, knowing he would not be intimidated by a Devin.


Year of car – nowhere did you mention that the donor chassis was from a 1951 VW Deluxe sedan that had been rolled.  Deluxe meant it had hydraulic brakes. 


Failed brakes


Front suspension


Air vents




to be continued….




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