1953 Victress S1A

1953 Victress S1A 1953 Victress S1A 1953 Victress S1A
The Mabee Special is 'special.' This car is a Bonneville Land Speed Record holder, SAC and SCCA road racer, show car, dragster and Pikes Peak entrant. It was found among the cacti, chickens and junk cars on a ranch in Mexico in 1983. It was built by Denny Larson for Guy Mabee and his son, Joe, to be developed for road racing by Carroll Shelby, whom the Mabees were sponsoring at the time. With the Chrysler Hemi development by Ray Brown, it was piloted to 203.105 mph at Bonneville in 1953, establishing a new world record. The press called the Mabee 'the world's fastest sports car' and 'the streetliner.' In 1954, after another trip to Bonneville, it began its career as a road racer throughout the Southwest and Mexico continuously until 1965.

The 'Mabee Special' was manufactured in North Hollywood, CA. The 'Mabee Special' is a Bonneville Land Speed record holder, SAC and SCC road racer show car, dragster, and Pike's Peak entrant. It was built by Denny Larsen for Guy Mabee and Joe Hisson to be developed for road racing by Carroll Shelby. The engine is a modified 331 cubic-inch Chrysler Hemi with Hilborn fuel injection. This racer established a 203.105 mph Bonneville speed record making this the 'world's fastest sports car.'

It was found among the cacti, chickens and junk cars on a ranch in Mexico in 1983 and it has now been completely restored.

The Victress Manufacturing Company of North Hollywood, California, produced kit bodies and racers during the early 1950s through 1961. The company was formed by William 'Doc' Boyce-Smith who had studied engineering at UCLA. His expertise included fiberglass construction and his experiences included circle track racing. He was not alone; he enlisted the help of Merrill Powell to serve as the company's chief of design. Bill Powel, of no relation to Merrill, worked as the company's production manager.

Victress manufacturing used a wind tunnel to form a very aerodynamic fiberglass roadster body which they dubbed the S-1A. One body was outfitted with a Chrysler powerplant and driven at the Bonneville Salt Flats where it achieved a top speed of 203.105 mph.

There were around six body-styles to choose from, which could fit wheelbases ranging from 94 to 118 inches. The S-5 was a small roadster version of the S-1A and could accommodate 94-inch wheelbases.

By 1961, the company had gained many government contracts and had moved away from the sports car business. They sold their interests to LaDawri.


By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2010

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