Built and Raced by Jim Chaffee, Mt. Baldy, Ca.

     Jim Chaffee constructed this Devin Special in 1959 using an Austin-Healey chassis and a Devin “J” body. Power was supplied by a modified Chevrolet 283 CI engine with a Corvette 4 Speed transmission. A 3-2 bbl intake manifold was used with Rochester Carburetors. Headers and Side Pipes took care of the exhaust.  The engine was offset to the right and set back for better weight distribution. 

     The original Healey frame, floor pan, steering, suspension, wire wheels, radiator, fire wall structure and pedals were used. A custom dash panel was made. A Stewart Warner Tach and gauges for fuel, oil pressure and water temp were installed. Aluminum work separated the driver’s compartment from the trunk area. Aluminum work was also used for the transmission tunnel. A custom fuel tank was fitted into the trunk area. 

     A “Head Fairing” was added to the body and the hood was modified to incorporate a scoop for inlet air to the carburetors. The whole front of the body tilts forward for easy access to the engine area. The hood is also removable for minor engine service. A custom Plexiglas Windscreen was fitted to the cowl. Originally a roll bar was built into the head fairing, but later a more conventional roll bar was added. The car was painted PINK, as were Jim’s previous two race cars and was known as “THE PINK ELEPHANT III”. The car had Pink Elephant Graphics on the fenders. Jim even constructed a small enclosed trailer with the same Graphics.

     Jim raced the car extensively from 1959 to as late as 1967. Thru the years, rear fender flairs were added to be able to run wider wheels and the chassis was modified to accept 1963 Corvette independent rear suspension. About 1967, Jim retired the car, removed the engine, and put the car in the trailer. Sometime after that He moved to Big Bear, Ca. 

     In 1984, Floyd Garrett from Montclare, CA, tracked down Jim Chaffee and purchased the car with the trailer. Floyd had known and admired the car for years and saw the car many times at the races. As a young man, he would drive up to Mount Baldy and go past Jim Chaffee’s house where he would often see Jim in the garage working on the car. Floyd took the car home with the intentions of restoring it. 

     He removed the rear body work to get a better idea of what was involved in replacing the corvette rear suspension with the original. He just set the bodywork back on the chassis and stored the car in the corner of his shop with the idea of getting back to it at a later date. After 19 years, Floyd realized that he probably would never get around to doing anything with the car. Floyd  knew I was restoring a Devin Special and asked me to find a good home for the car.

     The car is complete except for the engine. It will need a complete restoration but most of the components appear to be in usable condition. The body work is all there with the only modifications appearing to be the addition of the rear fender flairs which appear to be aluminum pieces that are just added to the body, and a rework of the hood scoop. 

     The Corvette rear suspension needs to be removed and the frame would have to be reworked to mount the original rear springs and rear axle. There appears to be NO RUST present anywhere in the chassis or floor pan. The original dash with switches and instruments are in place as well as the seats and seat belts. All the front suspension and disc brake components appear to be complete as well as the TWO radiators and oil cooler. I don’t know if a second radiator was added after the car was finished, or if it was always there. It looks like it has been there for a long time. All the hood, door and trunk hardware is original. 

     The transmission and drive shaft are there. The shifter is a Corvette THREE SPEED that was used for the forward gears with a separate lever for reverse. All of the Aluminum work is there except for the drive shaft cover. Some of the Aluminum is in poor condition but it is good for patterns. The horn, mirrors, voltage regulator, coil, Brake master cylinder, clutch linkage and some of the wiring is there. 

     The car is NOT disassembled except for the removal of the engine, transmission and drive shaft. The complete engine including clutch, bell housing, water pump and generator is missing. The original intake manifold with two of the three carburetors is there as well as the complete exhaust system. 

     The car is filthy dirty but after it is cleaned up I am sure it would look a lot better.  Some of the original workmanship on the car is not up to today’s standards as were most of the Specials from this period. I have been involved in the restoration business for over 50 years and in my opinion this would not be a difficult restoration because the car is so complete.  This is a known race car with complete owner history and would make a excellent car for vintage racing and should be accepted everywhere.

For more information or additional pictures or documentation, please contact:

     3760 GREENHILL RD.
     PASADENA, CA. 91107
     (626) 359-4498
     (6260 351-5047

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