Showcase: 1956 Byers SR-100

Showcase
1956  Byers  SR-100
Owner:  Guy  Dirkin,  Clermont,  Florida


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History of  Byers  Sports  Cars

Road and Track featured a Byers SR-100 on the cover of their magazine in February, 1957. John Bond who owned Road & Track felt it represented one of the finest designs for an American sports car he had ever seen and proclaimed it “The World’s Most Beautiful Sports Car” in his feature article. This was quite an achievement for Jim Byers and this helped him launch his sports car company to greater heights.

Jim Byers got his start working on the first Victress body in 1952.  Next, he partnered with with Dick Jones to create and build the 1953 Meteor SR-1 sports car which made its debut at the 1953 Petersen Motorama at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. Jones and Byers amicably separated in 1955 and each continued with their own design. Byers changed the lines of the Meteor SR-1 body by adding a kick-up over the rear fenders, and a completely new rear design. This new body was called the Byers SR-100. Within a year, Byers had designed another body called a CR-90 for a shorter wheelbase race car, and built limited number of custom one-off bodies for customers from 1955 thru 1963.

Each body was hand laid fiberglass, and several bodies were tailored to the owner’s specifications. Total production of Byers SR-100 bodies is estimated at 25. Kellison later purchased the SR-100 molds, made small changes to the design and offered a “chopper gun” version of the body for another 5-7 years with production approximately at 25.  Fiberglass Trends purchased the CR-90 molds and began producing these bodies in 1966.

John Bond, owner and publisher of Road and Track Magazine, ultimately built just one sports car during his life. He partnered with Jim Byers and built his own “Byers SR-100” Sports Roadster in 1958-1959 – a testimony to the design and craftsmanship of Jim Byers and his vision.


History of  This  Car

The car was originally built by two enthusiasts in the mid 1950’s in the Madison,Wisconsin area.  In the late 1950’s the car was acquired by a gentleman in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  He finished the car, painting it metallic maroon with gold fogging.  He owned the car for over forty years.

The body is mounted on a modified 1949 Ford sedan chassis.  The 1949 Ford was the first year Ford offered independent front suspension. The chassis is predominantly 1/8 wall mild steel, rectangular and square tubing. As the car has no doors the chassis has side impact bars concealed behind the aluminium interior panelling.  The car was built to vintage race specifications, including a fuel cell, but would require an upgraded engine to race.

The front suspension is stock 1949 Ford. The car has interchangeable front disc or drum brakes, to allow for street and vintage race regulations.  The rear suspension is a 4 link design with Panhard bar and coil over shock absorbers.  The rear axle is an 8 inch Ford with stock drum brakes.  The dry curb weight of the car is 2100 lbs,  The car with an 185 lb driver and 12 gallons of fuel has an almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution, front rear, side to side and cross directionally.

The engine is a 1956 small block Chevrolet, located in a front mid engine position, approximately 18 inches behind the front suspension center line  The 1956 265 cu. in. Chevrolet V8 was the second year of the small block Chevrolet and the first small block Chevrolet with an oil filter. The 1956 SBC has no castings for engine mounts on the side of the block, consequently the engine is mounted from the front of the block. For Chevy trivia buffs, 1956 engines were painted red, not orange.  The transmission is currently a Muncie M21 4 speed with aluminum case.


Technical  Specifications

Body
  • 1956 Byers SR-100
Designer
  • Jim Byers
Body Work and Paint
  • Mark Nordin of Nordin Enterprises, Oak Grove, MN
Upholstery
  • Cheri O’Brian, Minnesota
Frame
  • Modified 1949 Ford – first year of Ford’s independent front suspension.  Chassis work by Dave Paulson of DRE, in Alexandria, MN
Suspension
  • Front: Independent Ford Suspension
  • Rear: 4 link with Panhard bar
Engine (make/year)
  • 1956 Chevrolet V8
Carburetion
  • Single four barrel Edelbrock carburetor (500 cfm)
Displacement
  • 265 cubic inches
Horsepower (estimated)
  • 195 horsepower, 260 foot pounds of torque
Transmission (type/year)
  • 4 speed manual, Chevrolet M21
Rear Axle / driveshaft
(open/closed driveshaft)
  • Live Axle: 3.25:1.  Limited Slip Differential (LSD)
Wheelbase
  • 100 inches
 Track/Tread (front/rear)
(distance between center line of tires)
  • Stock 1949 Ford specs
Tire Size
  • 205 x 70 x 15  (match height of vintage race tires)
Curb Weight
  • 2050 lbs (dry weight)
Top Speed (0-60)
  • Depends on engine setup
Special Features
  • Custom made Byers logo for grill (adapted from license plate frame from a 1930’s Byers car dealership (no relationship) in Ohio)
  • Custom egg crate grille
  • Two removable roll bars – 1 is symmetrical and the other is asymmetrical
  • Removable fuel cell
  • PS Engineering Halibrand style racing rims
  • Quick Steer to reduce steering ratio to 2.25 turns lock to lock
  • Custom aluminum interior with aluminum seats
  • Aluminum interior panels conceal side impact protection
  • Custom aluminum side vents

Background

Explore  The  Links  Below

Byers  SR-100 – In  1957  Road  &  Track  Magazine  Called  This
“The  Most  Beautiful  Car  In  The  World”
Silodrome – Gasoline Culture Magazine: August 29, 2019

Take A Ride With Us In Guy Dirkin’s 1956 Byers SR-100
Undiscovered Classics:  August 25, 2019

The  Greatest  American  Car  Story  Never  Told
Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Program:  March, 2015

The Cars of Amelia Island 2010: Guy Dirkin and His Byers SR-100
Undiscovered Classics:  April 9, 2010

Restoration  Photos
Includes  corner  weight  setup


Comprehensive  Byers  Sports  Car  History


Concours  d’Elegance  Appearances

This Byers SR-100 sports car has participated at the Barrington Concours d’Elegance, the Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours and the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance where it received an award and special recognition shown below.

Amelia  Island  Concours  d’Elegance

Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Award Presentation

Buddy Palumbo Award Given to Byers SR-100 at Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Buddy Palumbo Award Given to Byers SR-100 at Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Feature Car for Lead Article in the 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Program


Video

Drive in Clermont, Florida in the Byers SR-100