The Joe David Victress C3 Special – Kit Car Magazine, March 1984

Hi Gang…

Here at Forgotten Fiberglass we look high and low for information concerning vintage ‘glass in every way.

And when I first came across this article several years ago, I wondered where this wonderful Victress C3 coupe might be – as several of you might have too.  The article was written in 1984 and compared to the ‘50s – that’s not that long ago.  So I always thought that this coupe must still be around.

And I was right.  I received a call earlier this month from the David family confirming that the car was safe and sound and the history had been retained with the car too.  How cool!

Let’s take a look at the article that was originally posted in Kit Car Magazine nearly 30 years ago about this car – the Joe David Victress C3 Special.

Patchwork Perfection: Kit Car Magazine, March 1984
Joe David’s ’61 Victress Gets Better With Age
By Bob McClurg

Joe David’s kit car is 20 years young, and still going strong.  Joe, a retired truck mechanic, built the car in 1961, and the maroon double-seater has been driven daily since.  Kit car enthusiasts who have been around a while may fondly remember the Victress.  It was sort of an Aston Martin DB series-looking kit car built by Victress Manufacturing Company of Hollywood, California.

Joe tells us that the body, which sold for a mere $295, arrived on his doorstep in one piece, literally!  Trunk, door, hood and window openings all had to be cut out with a saber saw.  Even Joe’s talent for matching and fabricating parts was taxed to its limit with assembly of the car.

But the patchwork blending of parts such as ’54 Plymouth bumpers, Buick headlights, Corvair taillights and an inverted ’51 Plymouth rear window eventually turned the solid mass of metal into a sophisticated, streamlined street machine.

Joe fitted the inside with a roomy bench seat which he upholstered in red and black Naugahyde.  The dashboard and all gauges are from a ’54 Plymouth, while the steering column is early Ford.  The doors on the Victress close with a well-earned and authoritative “thud.”  Getting them to function that way required implanting early Chevy innards and window regulators.

Joe shaved 18 inches off the center of a 1950 Ford chassis and used it as the base for the Victress.  He then mated a warmed-over 256 cubic-inch Chevy small-block with a ’51 Mercury three-speed transmission.  To up the power a little, Joe installed an Edelbrock/Stromberg 97 intake manifold, using only the center carburetor.

Every surface of the inner fender wells and firewall is either polished or chromed, giving the heart of the Victress a show-quality appearance.  The maroon lacquer finish and Dayton wire wheels add a sophisticated sparkle to the classic sports car look.

Joe’s Victress represents an investment of about $2200, and he’s certainly gotten a good return in sheer pleasure and hours behind the wheel.  The car remains a rolling tribute to the builder’s abilities: A testimony to the merits of talent, patience and just the right parts.

All you guys out there who complain about the problems encountered assembling some modern kits, shame on you!


What a great story about a Victress C3 – and it’s exciting to hear that it survived and is doing great.  We’re hoping to get some pictures in soon to share with you about how it looks – in all of its glory – and in ‘color’ too!  And I’m sure Merrill Powell, co-owner of Victress Manufacturing from 1953-1961 is excited that we’ve found another Victress C3 up and running – particularly because he designed the Victress C3 Coupe from scratch.

So let’s hear from him.  Merrill….do you remember shipping the body to Joe David lo so many years ago?  Ever remember seeing a picture of the finished car?  What do you think about the car and how Joe David finished his C3?  Look for Merrill’s thoughts in the “comments” area below in the near future.

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…

Click on the Images Below to View Larger Pictures


The Joe David Victress C3 Special – Kit Car Magazine, March 1984 — 5 Comments

  1. Ditto all the comments above…Joe took it over the top.Fantastic job.You don’t hardly ever see one done finished to the extent that his was.It even looks great with the bumpers,just maybe a tiny bit too large for the body style…Great to read that it’s still around..I wish mine was still around..But it’s long gone..


  2. Hi Scott….Joe would have been 100 years old next year (2012) but he passed away in 2003. The family still owns the car, and will be sharing pictures with us in the near future. A nice car and a great family 🙂 Geoff

  3. What a great looking car! That ’61 body would have been one of the last Victress-built C-3s, before we sold the company to Les Dawes. I do not remember Joe David’s name, and I’m sure I would remember the car if I had seen it. I’m looking forward to seeing more pictures, especially the car as it looks today. It’s so nice that the Victress is still in the builder’s family, and that they appreciate it.

  4. ~ well done interior, esp. door panels. (& i assume, door internals). very professional appearance. looking forward to seeing current pictures as well as bills finished restoration.
    or is it someone else’s project, now?

  5. Great to see another C3 ! mine was finished in 1961 and was used by Les Dawes for His promotional material.I actually had Victress mount my body on the mameco frame to insure it “sat right”. Merrill
    was probably involved;but I don’t recall meeting Him at that time.. That would have been in 1960.My car later appeared in the Dec 1961 issue of Road and Track.It is now in a state of disrepair on the central coast of Calif.
    It looks like Joe did a great job dealing with all the little frustrations and issues of starting from scratch and a largely clean sheet of paper. Are those Borrani wire Wheels?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.