Racing Devins -- 1

Specials using bodies built by Bill Devin were common in California racing in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  Besides Ak Miller's Oldsmobile powered hillclimb car there were these three, among others.  Most Devins used modified Corvette engines.
Lew Spencer drove the fastest of the racing Devins, the VKI, for its owner; Phil Kondratief.  Here he rounds Turn 3 at Santa Barbara, Sept 2-3, 1961.

Even with Spencer's skilled driving, this car was an overpowered handful, and usually spun wildly at least once each weekend.

Spencer, best known for his exploits in a C-Production Morgan +4, qualified the car for the Oct. 15, 1961 Riverside GP, but didn't finish.


Historian Ron Cummings remembers the VKI:

"Lew Spencer said, recently, that the car would go fast for about 5 laps, then its overstressed motor would lose power.   He did get a second or third at a Riverside club race once.  I think he may have won one Saturday race there.  It's an old story, still going on, where some hot rodder builds a big horsepower motor and forgets that to win you must finish the race."

John Brophy at Riverside, March 3-4 1962 in his Devin SS

A solid mid-pack performer, Brophy was the Pacific Coast Champion in class "C" Modified in 1962.

New!   More John Brophy photos!

Author and 1950s racer Art Evans' remembers this car: 

"John Brophy's Devin SS was my car.  I sold it to John in 1960 (or so).  It was the prototype Devin SS; built by Malcolm MacGregor in No. Ireland and set up for a Jaguar engine.  When I imported it, I took the C-Type engine out of my XK120 and campaigned it in 1959 until we put in a Chevy."

High desert Special builder Elgin Holmes would swoop down on L.A. area races in his high-horsepower creations.  This Devin-Buick replaced an equally "hairy", also Buick-powered, Kurtis.  He battled Brophy at Riverside on March 3-4, 1962, with this beast.
More Devins:    Racing Devins -- 2

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All photographs and text are the property of Tam McPartland and are protected under United States and international copyright laws.  All rights are reserved and the images and/or text may not be digitized, reproduced, stored, manipulated, and/or incorporated into other works without the written permission of the photographer,Tam McPartland.