La Dawri Coachcraft’s 1963 Catalog: A Feast For Your Fiberglass Eyes…

Hi Gang…

We think about Bill Devin offering the greatest amount of bodies for any fiberglass sports car manufacturer of its era.  They offered 27 different body sizes for various chassis, engine, and drivetrain combinations.  That’s quite a bit – isn’t it?

But it doesn’t compare to the variety offered by La Dawri Coachcraft.  Devin offered many sizes of one body style.  La Dawri offered differences in both style and sizes.  Remember…they were buying companies like Victress and purchasing or leasing molds made by individuals such as Jim Webb and his SavageLes and Joan Dawes wanted to be the heavyweights of fiberglass, and for a time they were.   No one company of its time offered a wider variety of body styles than La Dawri Coachcraft of California.

Let’s tally what they did and you can see for yourself what they offered in ’63:

  1. Conquest
  2. Quest QT
  3. Daytona
  4. Sebring
  5. Del Mar
  6. Castilian (Victress C3)
  7. Sicilian (Victress C2)
  8. Cavalier (Victress S4)
  9. Centurian 21 (Jim Webb’s Savage)
  10. Vixen: (Victress S1A)
  11. Cheetah (Victress S5)
  12. Formula Jr (Victress Dragster)
  13. T-Lightful: Model T fiberglass body
  14. Firestar Mark II (leased)

Eight distinctly different designs all offered in fiberglass – with some offered in different sizes (different names in the above list denote different sized cars too).  Pretty impressive job for a young couple and young company to produce.  By 1963, their company was 7 years old and still expanding.  Let’s see what their ’63 catalog had to offer their customers of this era:

And be sure to use your mouse and click on each picture below to make it appear in its largest size on your screen.

Away we go!

La Dawri Coachcraft Catalog:  1963


Be sure to click on each of the pictures of the catalog above and read the detail.

Did you know Les Dawes started a club called “The La Dawri Custom Sports Car Builders Association?”  It’s shown on page 22 of the catalog above, and is just one of many fascinating tidbits of information that await each of you as you delve into the pages – and history – of La Dawri Coachcraft and their 1963 Catalog.

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…

Click on the Images Below to View Larger Pictures


La Dawri Coachcraft’s 1963 Catalog: A Feast For Your Fiberglass Eyes… — 17 Comments

  1. I am glad to find this web site through referral from Barn Finds”. As an owner in 1964 of a Devin, my first introduction to custom car part fabrication started at 15 years of age. Finding, and modifying, and scratch fabricating parts became my passion and love.
    To this day- early fiberglass “possibilities” has been an inspiration, and expanded my horizons to a lifetime of creating the nearly impossible. Thank you for this incredible collection. I will be revisiting often.

  2. I verified the car I bought is a La Dawri Sebring, by the wheel base listed in the brochure. The second body that comes with the car is not a La Dawri. I was able to find some photos and limited info on line. The body was manufactured by Glass Vac/ KAR Manufacturing that was located in Monson,MA. KAR was in business from 1970 through 1979. The body was called a Funtastik Z-28 Camaro. The body is brand new and never attempted to build. It was designed for a VW chassis.

  3. I just purchased a 1958? La Dawri Sebring (I believe). I still have to dig the car out from its storage spot, where it has been for some time. There is not a lot of information on this car from the owner. Her husband purchased it years ago in New York state. He had driven it down the driveway and parked it in the garage where it is today. Her husband passed away 3 years ago. the car is powered by a Crosley engine. There is another fiberglass body to go with this car as well in the purchase. She said it was also a La Dawri. from what I can see of this body it does not look like anything from this 1963 catalog. I would like to purchase a copy of the catalog if anyone has one they would part with.

  4. Located a 1957 LaDawri Conquest that was storage in a garage for over 60 years. The body was mounted on a 1953 Plymouth frame and remained in the original condition, very little was ever finished on the project. I’m interested in the material listed on this site.

  5. would like to see Daytona, Sebring and Del Mar (@ minimum) in the 3 aspects (profile, 3/4 rear. 3/4 front) a ‘sports car’ shows it’s appeal. Brand new to this co, not to the glass car (or boat) world.

    Thanks so much for your assistance in this!

    – -Chad (2nd time visitor)

  6. Just today sold an unfinished La Dawri Sicilian sitting on a 1957 TR-2 chassis, on Kijiji for $500.00. Had over 30 responses to the ad in 24 hours. First guy to come to my shop bought it. I should have auctioned it off…may have got way more for it. Bought it in 1995 and had great plans for it but it got lost in the crowd (restoring a 1962 Lotus 7, and a 1961 Rolls-Royce). I was impressed with the strength of the body compared to the Lotus Plus2 I have. I had the original sales brochure; the assembly manual and build sheets. But now it’s gone and one of the callers told me about this site.

  7. Pingback: Smiling Roadster: 1962 La Dawri Sebring

  8. I built la Darwin Daytona in early 1961 in Haworth New Jersey. It was on a modified 55chevy frame with small block Chevy and three speed. Sold it in about 64 when I started school at the cooper union in ny. Would love to know if it survived. Raced it in b modified sport for a season then replaced the motor and drove it on the street. It went like stink! Painted it Daytona (what else) blue. Engine compartment paneled in aluminum. Corvette pancake aluminum air cleaner and valve covers. Showed at Teaneck armory in about 62. Still have the joe Kyzis trophy.

  9. My Castilian still looks good even after 50 years of changing themes and schools of design.It was a beautiful coupe with a Hemi for vocal cords. Thanks Geoff. Bill Packwood

  10. Interesting that the last car Les kept (after the company was disolved) was, in fact, a Victress. …and designed by our own Merrill Powell! The silver C-3 coupe on page 23 was The Dawes family car. The car still exists, in Paso Robles, California

  11. Geoff:
    I have this catalog that I sent away for in time. Was going to build a Sicilian on a 54 Corvette chassis back then. As a young punk, I even had the chassis from a wreck. Kept after La Dawri to give me the address of a completed car so I could see what the body construction was like. Finally they did and I went to look at it… folded up shop, sold the chassis and that was that until the Blakely Bearcat, which I built back in 1980s. Royalite and a beauty of a kit. (I sent you pics and story of that some time ago).
    Those brochures from the early days of the industry gave us youngsters delusions of granduer that were some good distance from the hard reality of where the rubber meets the road.

  12. Les Dawes was a very creative guy, in more ways than one: his first, and prettiest, car body is an eye-catcher by any standard, and he was an energetic and ambitious businessman, as his catalog clearly shows. He created several variations of his original design, so I’m a little surprised (and maybe flattered) that he didn’t modify any of the Victress bodies which he acquired. Some of the Conquest features might have been grafted onto the Victress coupes quite attractively, thus adding more “strings to his bow”. How’s that for a customizing idea, gang?

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