Most people don’t know that LaDawri Coachcraft sold a body who’s design was inspired by the Lotus 11 sports/race car. Les Dawes called it the “Firestar Mark II” – a very catchy name and evoked the space age theme of the era. They began offering it around 1961.
From the LaDawri Coachcraft 1961 Brochure
Here’s text from the 1961 LaDawri Brochure about their “Firestar”
“We offer this sleek light beauty in answer to the terrific demand for a low-cost, high power-to-weigh special. Whether you want a penny-pinching gas miser that will knock ‘em dead on the avenue, or a bomb to compete with the super-lights from across the pond, the Firestar fills the bill.”
But the Firestar wasn’t LaDawri’s design. Rather, it was Ralph Starkweather’s design. Recently Ralph’s car was beautifully restored and brought back to racing condition. Let’s take a look at some photos of the restored Starkweather Special below – a car who’s body design was about to become the LaDawri Firestar Mark II.
Comparison to a Lotus 11 Sports Car:
Let’s compare the Firestar above, to a Lotus 11 below.
In the late 1950s, Ray Starkweather set out to build a sports car with a design inspired by the Lotus 11. The rest of the car was purely American. His finished racecar, the Starkweather Special, became well-known in southern California racing circles. The story of how and why it was built was published in the March/April, 1960 issue of Sports Car Graphic.
Click here to review the 1960 story of the Ray Starkweather Special.
Les Dawe’s Firestar Mark II
Les Dawes of LaDawri Coachcraft acquired, by lease or purchase, Ray Starkweather’s molds and offered the body to the public with a new name – the LaDawri Firestar Mark II. Approximately 5 bodies were produced from 1961 to 1965. Two cars have been found – one restored and one “as found.” A Firestar body has been located too. Let’s take a look at the LaDawri Firestar body with photos below.
Good news gang for those of you who like the LaDawri Firestar. We have put our LaDawri Firestar body up for sale in our Hemmings store where you can review more photos and history and peruse our other cars for sale too.
Click here to view the LaDawri Firestar For Sale
Click here to view all our cars For Sale
Our inventory changes so have fun checking our store from time to time. You never know what we’ll have and it might be just for you 🙂
Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember…
The adventure continues here at Undiscovered Classics.
I have a Firestar II Body and it came with an original Photo that were sent to perspective buyers. Picked it up in Tacoma, Wa. a few years back. I talked with you prior to purchasing it and you told me what it was. Still have one more resto project going on now before I get to it. It came with a MG Midget chassis to install the body on. Seems the guy bought it and had it shipped to his home, and when he explained to his wife that he was going to build a race car, she changed his plans and it hung in the rafters of his garage until he died. His son and grandson brought it to a British car shop in Tacoma to see if they were interested in it. That’s where I saw it and thought I had better add it to my collection. I will send pics if you can tell me how
Thank you for the article.
Bob….good to hear from you. Can you send photos to my e-mail at Geoffrey.Hacker@Gmail.com I’ll confirm when I receive them. Thanks for the update. Geoff