Ask Merrill Powell – Victress Manufacturing Co-Founder

Ask  Merrill  Powell: 
Victress  Manufacturing  Co-Founder

Click  Here  To  Learn  More  About  Merrill

How  To  Post  Your  Questions

This page is for you to ask Merrill questions about Victress and where he can respond.  Scroll down and post your questions at the bottom of the page for Merrill to see.  When Merrill responds to your question, I’ll move your question and his answer to the body of this page so that the “comments” area below does not get too crowded.

When you post your question to Merrill, don’t be alarmed if it does not immediately appear on the page.  The moderator of this website (me) has to “approve” comments so they are visible to everyone so it make take a few hours or a day to appear.  Same goes to Merrill – it may take some time for your “answer” to appear so no panicking on anyone’s part if the words (questions or answers) are not immediately visible.  I’ll do my best to “approve” all comments and answers quickly

If it’s easier for you, send your questions via e-mail to and we’ll get them to Merrill, and post your question and his response below.

Go get ’em gang and let’s keep Merrill busy 🙂

Merrill Powell in the 1946 Bill Burke Belly Tank at the 2010 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

What  Merrill  Has  Revealed

Geoff Hacker: “How Did The Victress Name Come To Be?”

Merrill Powell:  “Doc shared with me that the name “Victress” was the feminine of “Victor.”

A Caricature Of Merrill By Good Friend and Artist Jimmy Smith. Thanks Jimmy!

A Caricature Of Merrill By Good Friend and Artist Jimmy Smith. Thanks Jimmy!


Ask Merrill Powell – Victress Manufacturing Co-Founder — 7 Comments

  1. Hi Merrill,
    I was a friend of Alton Johnson when he was an employee at Victress. I remember the facility there in North Hollywood. I didn’t ever become an employee but became familiar with you, “Doc” Bill Quirk & a couple of others too. The times I remember best were when Alton was building the 1st LeMans Coupe & I was able to give him a hand now & then with the build, & later we had several exciting “test drives” in it. One in particular was when Road & Track magazine ran some tests & made video’s of the car at speed at Riverside Raceway. I was actually in one of the published photo’s of the car , running fast with wool tufts taped all over the car to show the airflow. I believe Alton passed away several years ago in Kingman Az.
    Thank you, Merrill, for contributing so much to the early days of DIY sports Cars. I enjoy reading every post you contribute to this forum & look forward to many more. We have also learned a LOT because of Mr Hacker & I thank him as well.
    Respectfully, Doug Ward, Orange , Ca.

    • Hi, Doug,

      Sure, I remember you helping Alton with the LeMans Coupe, which was so beautiful it still gives me the chills thinking about it. Al was a very talented guy, and built a great car. I’ll bet you had fun with him on those “test drives”. It’s nice hearing from you after all these years.

    • Virgil Rice was general manager of the Hellings Company, which sold hot rod components, and was sole dealer of Victress car bodies when I met Doc Boyce-Smith in late 1953. Rice built a very nice Victress S-1, which was pictured in Victress sales literature. Bob (?) Stelling married Mac Hellings widow, and the company became Stelling and Hellings. Stelling fired Virgil Rice, probably early 1954, and Doc terminated his sales agreement, deciding to handle sales himself as The Boyce-Smith Company.

    • Bill Tritt had no connection with Victress. I never met him during the Victress days, 1953 to1961. I visited him in the hospital in Raleigh in 2007. He was a delightful man.

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