It’s 1957 and you’ve just turned 24 years old. What do you want to do?
Why not start a car company!
That’s exactly what Les Dawes of Canada did, along with the support and participation with his new wife Joan. They packed up their bags and moved to Beverly. I mean Long Beach, California, and created LaDawri Coachcraft.
What a year that must have been for 24 year old Les. He was born on July 7th, 1933 and by his 24th birthday in July of 1957….his car was already on the cover of Road & Track Magazine. Is that even possible today? Are we paying attention to young men in their early 20’s and giving them front covers of magazines? Seems to me that the 1950’s were very special times – populated with very special people.
The Times Are A Changing:
A lot was changing in the business of building your own fiberglass sports cars by the last part of the 1950’s. The era of the early companies (Glasspar, Woodill, Victress) was coming to a close, and the new guys on the block were starting to make themselves heard. Devin….Bocar….LaDawri….Kellison….these names would begin to reverberate across the country, and the automotive industry – Road & Track Magazine included – were beginning to notice the shift.
Not just the style of fiberglass cars was changing. The method of building them was changing too, and the scarcity of instructions on how to build your own car was changing as well. Large, detailed manuals with illustrated instructions were being created – led by these new names in the industry including Les Dawes.
Even the catalogs were changing. Gone were the days of a small brochure or sales flyer. The first LaDawri catalog was 16 pages long, and the one I’m sharing today is the same number of pages – but twice the format size. And this was just advertising Dawes’ first car – the Conquest. Click here to review our earlier story on LaDawri’s first catalog for the Conquest in 1957. Wait ’till you see the larger catalogs of later years detailing all of what LaDawri had to offer. It was breathtaking.
I’m a good typist gang….100+ words a minute. But I can’t retype the manuals and catalogs from these later companies to make them easier to read – they are way too large – so you’re going to be on your own here. Below are scans of each page of the catalog – and the one page addendum Les added.
So let’s take a look at all 17 pages of this 1957 brochure. And while you’re reviewing the pages below, think about what you were doing when you were 24 years old. Me? I wish I could have been right there with Les and Joan pitching out bodies and trying to make a new company come to life.
Here’s the brochure. Click on any of the pictures below to enlarge them and make them much more readable.
1957 LaDawri Conquest Brochure #2:
Les and Joan Dawes were just starting with LaDawri. In a few short years, they would be the largest supplier of fiberglass sports car bodies in the world – in terms of different designs available. Nothing was going to be bigger than LaDawri in the early 1960’s – but somehow I bet Les knew this too.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
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