John Albi's Devin-Chevrolet
From John Albi:  "I built the car in Arcadia in 1960 and the first half of 1961.  The car was built mostly in the evening and on weekends in my family's garage at 1770 N. Santa Anita.  I was 22 years old when I first raced the car and had owned a MG-TD and a XK-120 Jaguar.  Both of these stock cars I entered in time trial events and other informal competitions. My modified racing career was brief:  Pomona on July 8-9, 1961, and Santa Barbara on September 2-3, 1961. I wish I could have done more."

In this photo from the Santa Barbara event John leads Steve Baughman's Maserati 200SI.

More from John Albi:  "I think the car had moderate potential, but it was plagued with mechanical problems that were not solved due to my short racing career.  The car was not stable at high speeds.  Driving it down the back straight at the Riverside Raceway was a adrenaline pumping experience due to the instability.  I did, however, love powering out of the last banked turn at Riverside. 

I was beginning to form plans to replace the suspension, but was interrupted by my father's death.  It was necessary for me to help in the dissolution of the family business in Los Angeles.  This all left me little time or funds to work on the car.  I decided to complete my education and get married, so I had to sell the car.

I sold the car in 1962 to Mickey Skinner, who lived in the Arcadia area, but worked on an oil rig in the Santa Barbara Channel.  I did make it street legal and license it so that he could drive it on the street.  I don't know what he did with the car, but did hear that he took it to the drag strip with the street tires and clocked in the 12X MPH range. 

I also heard, but did not confirm, that the car was sold to someone that collected cars and rented them for use in movies.  Somebody told me that they had seen my old car in the Pat Boone movie "State Fair".  This may be true since I got a brief glimpse of a car that looked like mine being driven onto a trailer in the movie;  I saw about 30 seconds of the movie one night when I was "channel flipping."  I have no idea where it is now; that is probably best!"


More from John:  "The engine was from a wrecked 1956 Chevy.  It was moderately bored out to increase the displacement from 4465cc. to 4995cc.  I wanted to stay out of the 5.0 L class. 

The engine had good low RPM power as well as good high end.  Les Richie in Covina (ex-Ford Motor racing team mechanic) modified the engine with a specially ground Harmon cam and better pistons.  The ports and valve train were conservatively, but completely modified.  The crankshaft was balanced."


"When the engine was brand new we put the car on the Bob Palmini chassis dyno which was located on San Gabriel Blvd.   It surprised most of us by registering over 200 rear wheel horsepower on the dyno.  Ted, the technician, did not want to rev over 2000-2500 RPM since the engine was new. 

Those low RPM chassis dyno tests indicate about 300 HP rear wheel output (at higher RPM) which might translate to about a 425 HP engine output. 

Dick Croxall suggested using three of the biggest Rochester 2-barrel carbs that were used on the big Pontiac engines of the day.

Transmission was a special order Chevy close ratio 4 speed for racing."


"The frame was built out of 2.0 inch steel tubing by Tom's Muffler Shop on Cherry Ave. in Long Beach.  They built mostly dragsters.  The brakes were from a 195XX Lincoln.  The suspension was from Ford.

Don Borth built the gas tank and Bob Sorrel built the firewall and floorboards.  Both did a lot of work for Mickey Thompson and were great craftsman. 

The car weight without fuel was about 1950 lbs.  Informed opinion suggested that the frame was overbuilt.

Duffy Livingston lived up the hill from my dad's house where we built the car.  I followed his advice in unstiffening the leaf springs and replacing the old lever shocks with dual Monroe tube shocks."


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