In the early 1950s, Bob Davis of North Carolina purchased a 1941 Ford chassis for less than $40. He shortened the chassis to 100 inches and strengthened it by adding cross-member tubes. The suspension, brakes, and various other mechanical components were also upgraded. The body was put together from bod scraps and metal sheets. The front nose section as courtesy of a Chevy truck cab. Parts of the rear were courtesy of the front fenders of a 1947 Plymouth. The grille was from rods of steel and given a 'D' for Davis.
Power came from a Ford flathead V8 engine and was mated to a Ford three speed gearbox with Zephyr gears. The engine was given three Stromberg 48 carburetors, an Isky camshaft, and a lightened flywheel.
With the car completed, Bob Davis went racing in his unique Special. Despite its modest budget, the car did rather well in competition, frequently earning podium finishes. It won the Fourth Annual Hillclimb at Pilot Mountain in November of 1955. A year later, it won another hillclimb at Grandfather Mountain while being driven by Ed Welch. Six months later, Welch drove the car to another victory at a Chimney Rock hillclimb.
Phil Styles of Burnside, North Carolina purchased the car in 1957 and continued to use the car in competition. With Styles at the wheel, the Davis was driven to three victories in a row at Chimney Rock in 1957 and 1958 and was awarded the Baugh Memorial Trophy for his achievements. In 1957 through 1959, he won another three-in-a-row victories at grandfather Mountain annual hillclimb. By this point in history, the car was powered by a 283 cubic-inch Chevrolet V8 engine and a Jaguar four-speed gearbox.
The car continued to compete into the 1960s, but by this point in history, the competition had become very stiff.
In the early 1990s, the car was re-discovered by Jimmy Dobbs in a junkyard in North Carolina. Since then, the car has been restored and is currently in use vintage competition.By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2013
Bob Davis built the Davis Special in 1953-54 in Boone, North Carolina with a 1941 Ford Chassis, 1947 Ford Flathead V8 engine and a body made with 1940's Plymouth and Chevy pick-up sheet metal. Bob called it the 'Poor man's Allard.'
Bobs first three hill climbs with the Davis Special:
- Grandfather Mountain, NC in 1954 - second overall.
- Pilot Mountain, NC in 1954 - fourth overall
- Grandfather Mountain, NC in 1955 - fourth overall
The Davis Special began winning hill climbs in 1955.
Set fastest time of the meet twice at Pilot Mountain , NC Hill Climb.
- 1955 with Bob Davis
- 1958 with Phil Styles who purchased the car in 1957 for $600.
Set fastest time of the meet three times at Grandfather Mountain, NC Hill Climb.
- 1956 with Ed Welsh
- 1957 and 1958 with Phil Styles
King of the Mountain four times at Chimney Rock, NC Hill Climb
- December 1956 and April 1957 with Ed Welch
- December 1957 and April 1958 with Phil Styles
The Davis Special ran road races at VIR, Chester, SC and Gainesville, GA. The car was featured in the July 1958 Hot Rod Magazine and Jan/Feb 1993 Vintage Motorsport Magazine.
The Davis Special spent 25 plus years in Waynesville, NC Junk Yard. Vintage sports car enthusiast Jimmy Dobbs rescued the car in 1992. Garrett Van Camp purchased the Davis Special in 1995 and began a 17 year restoration process along with help from dear friends.