Note: This is the third of a three-part story on the Dick Foster Victress Special. Click here to review all parts of the story.
Some of you wrote in and asked more about what the Dick Foster Victress Special looks like today. I’m happy to oblige 🙂
Dick finished his car initially in ’56 and kept it through the mid ‘70s. At that time, he sold it to a California buyer and that’s where the previous owner found it in the early 80’s – in Fullerton, California. I bought it in 2007 and then started it on its trip to Tampa, Florida in 2008. But it made a 6 month pit stop with legendary West Coast race car builder and driver – Chuck Tatum.
Chuck went thru the car – in excellent but “survivor” condition – and repaired the brakes, wiring, and some of the fiberglass features at the rear end of the car (we returned the taillights to the proper ’48 Pontiac vintage, for example). Chuck also custom built a new dashboard with S-W wing gauges and installed a quick-disconnect steering wheel.
But there is no fan on the engine. I got a kick out of “why.”
Victress With “Optional” Fan
I had picked up the Victress from Chuck in Stockton, California and trailered it to the Palo Alto Concours d’ Elegance in 2008. As I was waiting in line at the event with the engine running, I noticed the temperature gauge was continually rising. Hmmmm. While still in line I called Chuck on my cell phone and said, “Chuck – the temp is rising – did that happen in your test drives?”
“No,” Chuck answered. Then he asked, “What are you doing with the car?”
“I’m in line waiting to go onto the show field,” I answered.
“Well, stop doing that,” Chuck said.
Then Chuck told me that you can drive a “Special” from the ‘50s all day long. You just can’t wait in line or traffic. Many of the specials from the 50’s leaned the radiator back, making a mechanical fan of little use. “That’s how it was done back in the day,” Chuck told me. Then he reminded me to “drive fast and have fun.”
I haven’t stopped since.
Here’s a review of the current configuration of the car:
- Engine: Currently a fire breathing Oldsmobile 350. Originally a Dodge Red Ram 270 Hemi
- Transmission: Currently a Turbo 350 3-speed automatic. Originally a manual 3 speed Mercury with overdrive
- Brakes: Drum – According to Dick Foster, rear brakes should be Lincoln
- Wheelbase: 100 inches
- Flip Front-End: Built by Dick Foster in the mid ‘50s
- Windshield: MG
- Seats: Fiberglass buckets
- Dashboard: Custom dash with Stewart-Warner wing gauges (new)
- Chassis: Clean and nicely configured tube chassis built by Dick Foster – original chassis drawings still with car
- Trunk: Signed by Victress Co-Owner Merrill Powell and Victress Associates Richard Russell and Mel Keys
- Rear End: Pipes for Dick’s original “nerf style” bumpers are still in place (these are not exhaust pipes)
As It Is Today:
The car is in great condition for a survivor, and has the potential of being restored back to its original ‘50s Dick Foster configuration. Given the sophistication in which it was built, it has potential as a vintage racer too. Time will tell, but the options are fun to consider.
Let’s look at the pictures.
Photos of the Dick Foster Victress S1A Special:
Where will you see the Dick Foster Victress Special? Time will tell. It’s been in storage for the last several years, but plans are afoot for an appearance in 2012. Now…if I can just convince Dick Foster and his wife Gwen to come to this coast (Florida) this time – I’d save some travel time too. Those two-month road trips are a bear!
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
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