|From Jack Stewart: "The De Mar was unique in that it was specifically
designed from the ground up rather than taking some chassis and stuffing
the biggest engine available
in it. Since the Porsche 550 and RSK were the cars to beat,
the DeMar was designed to be a Porsche with about the same weight, more
power, and the same weight distribution.
It was designed to utilize a Porsche trailing arm front suspension
with a Porsche trailing arm low-pivot swing axle in the rear with a very
lightweight deep truss frame connecting everything and a "lightweight"
Chevy Engine for power.
The Porsche was about 47% front and 53% rear and the DeMar war 50%
front 50% rear, with a 94" wheelbase. The motor was set back so far
that the vibration damper was just behind the front axles, the Jaguar transmission
was bolted directly to the '48 Ford differential. An engine speed
driveshaft connected it. Jaguar disc brakes with parking brake pads
were mounted to the Ford differential and the low pivot swing axle tubes
directly below it. The Porsche front trailing arms and cross torsion bars
were mounted to the very lightweight 12 inch deep truss frame in front,
and the Porsche trailing arms with coil over shocks at the rear.
I wanted to outdo the Porsche which in 1957 was for practical purposes
"King of the mountain". It certainly did that."
More from Jack Stewart: "In 1959 you could rent Willow Springs
race track for $5.00 per day. You went to the X motel in Lancaster (I believe)
and got the key to the padlock and the track was yours "as is".
No turn markers, water, or anything. This presented some challenges
as it was easy to misjudge your speed entering a turn, as I did.
The black track can be seen several hundred yards in the background.
When it was apparent that I could not make the turn I drove straight off
the drop off ( thus the severe toe-out) rather than risk rolling in the
sand. The plowed furrow that I wound up in circled the track to try and
stop people from coming in from the desert and not paying the $5.00.
In the photo above, the car is in light gray primer, no air scoop,
no headrest. The first race was later in 1959 at Hourglass Field
near San Diego
Regarding the July 9, 1961 race at Pomona:
"Odd bits of information. For 3 laps I could pull the
Ferrari on the straight, but on lap 4 he pulled me and got into 3rd
place. My car just lost power but sounded perfectly good. (The DeMar
on the front row of the
We left to move to New Jersey the next day so I could not check it.
On the way we stopped in Cincinnati for two weeks. We checked without tearing
anything open and all seemed well, except the car was not responding, no
miss or anything. We ran the Bellefontaine hillclimb setting an all time
record, but it still did not feel good. Finally after we got to New
Jersey and tore the engine down we found a rocker arm with the valve stem
punched through it; it was as neat as if it had been machined. This
valve was opening a little bit because the rocker was pushing on the valve
keeper which fortunately stayed in place."
Stewart's DeMar Special (2)
Next David Martin's
Photos From 1959
Back to: Peter Ustinov,
David Niven, Wolfgang von Trips
Back to: Late 1950s
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