Rick D’Louhy and I continue our search thru all automotive magazines of the 1950’s to identify not only relevant articles on fiberglass cars, but every scrap of related material including advertisements and classified ads. “We’ll leave no fiberglass stone unturned,” as one might say.
Identifying Early Fiberglass Ads:
As we push thru some of the late 1950’s magazines, we’re trying to identify the first ads that appeared for cars such as Kellison, LaDawri, Bocar, and Devin. These are critical in determining when a car was offered to the public (as opposed to locally) for the first time.
Most of the ads that we locate are uploaded into our Forgotten Fiberglass website for all to see, and we continue to update the “Vintage Fiberglass Ad Gallery” on a weekly basis. If you haven’t seen these ads, be sure to check out the following link:
I think you’ll enjoy this page. Newest ads are shown at the top of the page, and older ones at the bottom. Have at it gang – and enjoy the fiberglass eye candy.
Sports Cars Illustrated: November 1956
The Devin ad that appears in Sports Cars Illustrated is important for many reasons:
* It’s the earliest Devin ad we’ve found. No doubt there may be earlier ones, but this will take time to find since we canvas all magazines – not just the major ones.
* It’s a full page ad. I’m sure that was pricey for Bill Devin, and this ad has the characteristics of describing a brand new product offered to the public for the first time. This could be the initial announcement. Time will tell based on research – and information sent in by many of you.
* Ten dealers are already identified for Devin – across six different states. That’s very impressive, and unique among fiberglass car builders – at least up to that time.
* Full cars are offered from $3000 to $4500. Not sure how many of these he made.
* The ad notes that the body will fit 80” to 88” wheelbase cars. That’s a tiny car, guys, compared to the 100 inch wheelbase range fiberglass sports car bodies most typically available at that time. Devin started with his modified splash mold from another car, and was initially limited to this wheelbase – but that would change to include his longer wheelbase cars soon. As we gather more ads, we should be able to date the evolution of the smaller Devin bodies to the larger ones quite easily.
Let’s Review the Ad:
The ad had a lot to say – and the print was so small it was hard to read. Devin left a lot of room or white space on the page so readers could appreciate the important parts of his ad. Here’s what the small print says:
- A New Devin Fibreglass Body – $295
- Slightly smaller than a Ferrari Monza
- Will fit 80” to 88” wheelbase, treads from 45” to 50”
- Engine compartment may be varied to fit all but the largest engines
- Integral headrest optional for left side only is included in the price
- $25 additional for removable headrest for either side
- Integral instrument hood at no additional charge on left side of all bodies
- Instrument hood on right side $10 additional
- Bodies are trimmed and crated at no additional charge
- Weight of body approximately 70 lbs, crated weight approximately 100 lbs
- Body surface will require light sanding to remove high gloss prior to painting
- Body makes ideal installation on TR3 and specials with Chevrolet V8 engines
- Many of the longer wheelbase car frames can be shortened to take body at very reasonable costs.
- Suggestions for mounting included
- Overall length approximately 150”, floor to top of instrument hood approximately 27”, floor to top of headrest approximately 32”
- Width of body at front wheel opening 58”, at rear wheel opening 56”
- Moulding for mounting windshield $10
- Liner for rear of cockpit, includes bucket seats, drive shaft tunnel and part of floor boards, makes installation very strong, light and simple, $75
- Door liners $10 each
- Integral dashboard and door jambs $20
- Frames for our body and Chevrolet V8 engine and all American components available very soon
- Sorry we haven’t answered sooner but we are covered with correspondence and orders
- Prices and specifications subject to change without notice
- All prices f.o.b. Fontana, California
- Dealer inquires invited
- Devin Enterprises, P.O. Box 357, Fontana, California
What great detail and what a fantastic way to announce the beginnings of your company with a full-page ad. Way to go Bill Devin! How many Devin bodies do each of you want? I’ll take two to go – please. *grin*
There is additional information in the ad, and I think you’ll have fun perusing it in the gallery of pictures below. Be sure to click on each picture and expand it to its larger size so you can review it more easily.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
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