|From Ron Cummings:
"I had several long discussions with
Ak about his Devin bodied specials.
Even though four of the cars carried
the 295 Devin body, they all looked quite different. This was because the
295 body could be purchased with different lengths and widths as well as
different radiator openings.
The fifth car carried the Devin SS body
on an AC Ace frame with Frank Kurtis inde- pendent front and rear suspension.
Yes, Frank was a big fan of independent suspension.
The AC was purchased from Stirling Moss
after Moss had put a rod through the Bristol block. Ak had been racing
the AC with a small block Ford motor close to six months before Shelby
had AC build his prototype Cobra. After running the car awhile, Ak mounted
the Devin body. Later, Frank Kurtis offered to replace the suspension with
a Kurtis design using mostly Ford parts.
Apparently, Ak built a sixth Devin bodied
car for a customer. Ak never raced this car and I never saw it.
Ak was a Bill Devin body dealer. He told
me that Devin would give him bodies as long as Ak agreed he would race
the cars in order to promote Devin products. So, Ak would build the cars
to suit whatever body Devin sent him.
Ak claimed that he built one of the cars
in three weeks. He also claimed that one car was under 1500 lbs in weight.
He had no frame to speak of behind the rear axle on some of the cars. He
accomplished this by using coil-over shocks for rear springs, eliminating
the need to have a frame member to support spring ends. The rear body work
was mounted with electrical conduit!
He used Ford small block, Ford big block,
Oldsmobile and Chevrolet motors depending on what was given to him or what
he could buy cheap.
At one Pike's Peak event Ak was practicing
with an Oldsmobile motor. The Ford people came by and asked why he was
using a GM motor. Ak was employed by Ford at the time testing street cars.
So, Ford gave him a big FE block Ford motor. Ak and his friends changed
over right there in the dirt pits. This required different motor mounts,
headers and plumbing. Ak finished the job and won the Sports Car class,
making Ford happy.
He used Cadillac LaSalle, Jaguar, and
Bill Devin showed up at Ak's auto repair
shop a few months before Bill's passing just to reminisce about the old
(8-20-10) More from Ron Cummings:
"Ak first ran the AC Ace with it's original
body. Just as Ak was leaving for Bonneville,
Bob Sorrell dropped by the shop. Ak
wanted to do something about the streamlining
of the body. Right there, in a few minutes,
Sorrell fabricated the aluminum cone that
stuck out the radiator opening.
Ak went quite well with this configuration.
It was ugly as hell.
I never thought to ask what he did with
the AC body. Knowing Ak he probably found a buyer."
(8-24-10) Another Ak Miller
story from Ron Cummings:
Seven or eight months before Ak's passing
we had a party at the NHRA museum for Ak.
I told the story about Ak being black
flagged three times during the 1959 Los Angeles Times Riverside GP by the
Turn Seven steward. Ak had third place locked down toward the end of the
race when he started getting flagged for leaking oil. There was no oil.
It turns out the the steward was the
jealous husband of a babe who Ak had loaned his Aston-Martin to. Ak's reputation
as a Lady's man was such that the guy thought Ak was messing around with
Ak finished 13th and went looking for
the guy. Ak always denied any affair with the woman. Apparently the babe
was a friend of one of Ak's wives.
Ak was driving the Miller-Hanson Oldsmobile
Devin and had he finished third it would have been a very big accomplishment."
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Devins (3) -- Ak Miller's Devin-Chevy