1966 Cannara Restoration Continues – Chassis Work Complete

Guy Dirkin on his first test drive of the Cannara I Chassis

Hi Gang…

Recently we introduced you to Guy Dirkin’s latest restoration – his 1966 Cannara sports car.

Click Here To Review Stories on the Cannara

Restoration started earlier this year with one of our tried and true restorers – Ralph Smith.  Ralph and Guy worked together to identify issues that had to be solved including ride height, engine placement, structural changes to accommodate lowering, steering column replacement, brake upgrades and more – all issues we must address at any of the restoration shops we work with.

And it’s never the vision of one person – it’s a plan made by a team.  In this case the team is led by Guy Dirkin and Ralph Smith.  Oh…I may have helped a bit too *wink*.   Let’s start out with a few photos of the car when I found it in Detroit several years ago:

When I found the car, it had some very interesting features that helped me track down its history.  It was a front mid-engine V8 car with a wheelbase of 94 inches and a track is 59 inches wide.  This makes is as long as an MG and as wide as a Corvette – one powerful package.  We’ll discuss some of the other features that helped identify it in a future story on the Cannara.

In late 2019 (December 21, 2019), we hitched up the car and with the help of my friend Ray Hansil, we dropped the Cannara off at Ralphs:

December 21, 2019 we’re off to begin the Restoration with Ralph Smith

Here’s Ralph Smith with the Cannara – all work at his shop would begin from this point. Go get ’em Ralph!

So where did we start with the chassis?  I thought you would never ask.  Here are photos of the chassis laid bare before our work began:

Ralph got working on the chassis just after the first of the year and in the photos below Guy was checking his fit with pedal length to plan for changes.  And you can see where we were unloading the replacement engine  – an engine we replaced again after it didn’t spec out as we had hoped.  Check out the photos below.

Guy Dirkin at the wheel testing pedal length – January 3, 2020

From Left to Right: Rob Hernandez and Guy Dirkin. Rob will be taking on the fiberglass work soon.

From Left to Right: Ralph Smith and Guy Dirkin

From Left to Right: Guy Dirkin, Ralph Smith and Rob Hernandez – Inspecting engine #2

The handbuilt gas tank is seen just under the rear of the body (in yellow). This was hand-built by young Ray Cannara to maximize the amount of gas he could bring on board for his cross-country trips to the Art Center in California.

Running, Driving, Stopping Chassis Complete – Great Job Ralph!

Last week (7/3/2020) Rob Hernandez and I met Guy Dirkin at Ralph Smith’s shop to pick up the Cannara and begin the next phase of the restoration – fiberglass.  In charge of this phase is Rob Hernandez who we’re honored to have on board and look forward to his first project with us.  Let’s check out some photos on the pick-up day.  After that, we have a bit more to share with you too that I think you’ll like.  First….the photos of the completed running/driving/stopping chassis:

And some photo with Guy Dirkin at the wheel:

How ‘Bout Some Video – Yes We Have Them

We have two short videos to share.  The first video below is one minute long and is a walk-around of the Cannara by Guy Dirkin.  The second video is two minutes long and shows Guy driving the Cannara out of Ralph’s garage and getting it ready for transport on the trailer to Rob Hernandez’ shop.  Here are the videos:

Off To Rob’s Shop

Rob Hernandez is taking the helm for the next phase which is fiberglass.  We may also ask Craig Johnson to participate – all folks of our Undiscovered Classics team.  In the photos below you’ll see our the Cannara being transported to Rob’s shop and two photos with Guy and Rob together with the car.

Renderings By Dan Palatnik Guide Our Restorations

We’ve done this with our 1962 Shark, our 1950 Leo Lyons, the Voodoo Gardner Special and more.  Our “artist in residence”, Dan Palatnik is part of our “working team” here at Undiscovered Classics and he is instrumental in setting the standard for how each car will be finished – the Cannara is no different.  Check out the renderings below for the “look and feel” of how we will be finishing this sports car.


There’s still much to do but we’ll be tracking the progress and sharing it with you here at Undiscovered Classics.  Rob’s shop is the closest to me yet – just a few miles away so this will be a fun watch to watch from so close by.  And we wish both Guy and Rob the best of success as they move forward with their project.

And those of you wanting to learn more about Guy Dirkin, his writings and his cars, click on the link below:

Click Here To Learn More About Guy Dirkin, His Writings and His Cars

Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember…

The adventure continues here at Undiscovered Classics.



1966 Cannara Restoration Continues – Chassis Work Complete — 3 Comments

  1. Hey , Geoff – I recognize this car – from our driveway ! Just catching up with the fact that Guy is now restoring it – look forward to the continuing progress reports. Always thought that it was an interesting build.

    Just mocking up the Devin/ Corvette – will send you pictures when done .

    • We had such fun that day bringing both cars to your home – getting you out of the Canadian jail….that was another matter! Look forward to writing stories on the progress of your Devin. Best, Geoff

  2. Geoff, thanks for posting this update and story on the Cannara car. Wedge car designs emerged in the late 1960’s with concepts by Bertone and other Italian design houses. This car was a very early “wedge” design car, with uncluttered wedge lines. I am excited to move to the next step, which will include bringing the wheel in-board with wheels with the correct off sets. The engine in the car is a 283 as not in the video. I forgot to mention that it is 280 hp.

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