Sold for $45,100 at 2007 RM Sothebys
Bill Devin built a car that had the style, sophistication, and performance of a Ferrari but sold for less. The prancing horse demanded a high price due to its pedigree; Devin decided to exploit the market and offer a nearly identical vehicle at an affordable price.
Bill had a history of racing that included a win at the first Pebble Beach race in 1949 while driving a modified Crosley Hot Shot. Later he entered the fiberglass body business where he sold hundreds of lightweight but durable bodies at just under $300 a piece. Near the close of the 1950's, his company was producing nearly 100 bodies per week and shipping them throughout the world.
Irishman Malcom MacGregor approached Devin with a sports car that he had built. It was complete without a body. Devin was impressed with the design and soon chassis development was taking place in Ireland. The rolling chassis were then shipped to Devin in Elmonte, California where he would finish the assembly. It included an independent suspension in the front and a De Dion tube setup in the rear. Steering was through a rack-and-pinion unit. 12 inch Girling disc brakes provided ample stopping power while the Dunlop wire wheels held the car firmly in place under heavy cornering.
Around fifteen chassis were sent to Devin who finished them with Chevrolet V8 power, Borg Warner transmission, chromed exhaust pipes, and lightweight bodies. Ferrari's of the day were fetching around $12,000 while a comparable Devin racer cost just under $6000. The cars were built on a modular system which could support chassis varying from 76-inch to 106-inches. They were available in 27 variations and built to fit cars that ranged from the Crosley's to the Allards.
On the racing circuit the vehicles quickly proved their potential. One of the Devin racers was driven by Pete Woods who won the C-modified Championship. Many of the others were converted into road friendly vehicles and purchased by customers who were looking for a car that could get them noticed.
Road & Track got their hands on one and recorded a seven second zero-to-sixty time with the quarter mile in 14 seconds. Top speed was just over 130 mph.
The MG chassis were a popular platform for the Devin bodies. This example has been upgraded to Chevrolet V8 power sometime in the early 1990s. To accommodate the additional weight, the MGA frame was reinforced and the engine was set well back into the chassis and features triple Stromberg 97 carburetors on an Edelbrock intake. There is a Chevrolet four-speed manual transmission and disc brakes. Borrani wire wheels can be found at all four corners.
This vehicle was brought to the 2007 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction presented by RM Auctions, where it was estimated to sell for $75,000 - $95,000. The lot was offered without reserve. As the gavel fell the lot had been sold for $45,100 including buyer's premium.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007