Showcase: 1954 Victress S1 – Motor Trend Victress

1954  Victress  S1A
Design  By  Doc Boyce-Smith  and  Hugh  Jorgensen
Owner:  Guy  Dirkin,  Clermont,  Florida

—  The  Lost  Motor  Trend  Victress —
Built  By  Fred  Bodley – Motor Trend Technical Editor

Fred Bodley’s Victress S1A Roadster was just one of two cars ever to be shown on the floor of the Trend Inc., Corporate office. The other was a Cisitalia 202 Coupe that had also had been used to make a mold of to create the Allied Swallow body.

Trend Inc., Building: Circa 1954

History of This Car

The 1954 “Motor Trend” Victress S1A has a great individual history, but also quintessentially represents the history of the American Post-War Sports car. The Motor Trend Victress Special, has direct touch points with, George Barris, Wally Parks, Bob D’Olivio, Robert “Pete” Peterson4 and indirectly with Wunibald Kamm5 and others notable designers.

The car represents much of the Los Angeles, California scene in the early post war years.  In understanding the Motor Trend Victress, you will understand an important period in American Sportscar history.

In early 1954, Fred Bodley, the Technical Editor of Motor Trend magazine, acquired a Victress body from the newly formed Victress Manufacturing Company, which was a partnership between Doc Boyce-Smith and Merrill Powell. In 1952, Boyce-Smith had asked Art Center graduate and friend, Hugh Jorgensen, to design a car body to “out Jag the Jaguar XK 120”.  Jorgenson was inspired by the 1939 BMW 328 Mille Miglia “Bugelfalte”.  The Victress used a slightly less pronounced, “trouser crease” (bugelfalte in German means “trouser crease”) on top of the fenders, but the lines of the side-profile and elongated tail were quite similar to the BMW. It is noteworthy that renown German aerodynamic expert, Wunibald Kamm, built a 1/10 scale model of the BMW and wind tunnel tested the cars shape as part of the BMW’s development.

1939 BMW 328 Mille Miglia “Bugelfalte” or “trouser crease” which is a reference to the top style line on the fenders. Victress S1/S1A bodies have this “trouser crease.”

Kamm, is best known for his truncated tail designs, but elongated tails were part of his work and the long tail continued into the early 1970’s with Porsche Le Mans cars. In 1953, a Victress bodied car claimed the title of the Worlds Fastest Sports car when it ran 202 mph at the Bonneville trials. This was an excellent attribution to the value of the long tail design by Wunibald Kamm.

Starting in the late 1940s, Fred Bodley co-owned a high-end repair shop for Rolls Royce, Bentley and other foreign cars in Los Angeles, California.  In the early 1950s, he started working at Trend Inc., the umbrella company owned by Pete Peterson who owned Motor Trend, Hot Rod and other automobile magazines, and retained his shop too.

Bodley used a chassis from a mid-1940’s Ford, which he shortened and modified to fit the 100 inch wheelbase of the Victress S1A body.  The front and rear firewalls cross-braced the chassis creating a relatively ridged frame, suitable for a sports car. Power was a Ford flathead engine, three-speed transmission, with a torque tube to a ford differential. The car had drum brakes all round, and Ford suspension and steering.


Technical  Specifications

Build Dates: 1953-1954

Engine: Ford Flathead

Transmission: 3-Speed Manual Ford Transmission

Wheelbase: 102 inch

Interior: George Barris


Body Work and Paint
Engine (make/year)
Horsepower (estimated)
Transmission (type/year)
Rear Axle / driveshaft
(open/closed driveshaft)
 Track/Tread (front/rear)
(distance between center line of tires)
Tire Size
Curb Weight
Top Speed (0-60)
Special Features


Amelia  Island  Concours  d’Elegance
Two  Cars:
1954 Victress S1A (Motor Trend Special)
1966 Chevrolet Cannara
March 6, 2022

Vintage  Photos  Showing  Victress  Inside  Building / Showroom

Modern  Photos

Articles To Read

Sports  Cars  Displayed  In  The  First  Building  of  Trend  Inc.
Undiscovered Classics:  Coming Soon

Bob  Petersen  and  the  Start  of  Hot  Rod  Magazine
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Insider: 2019

The  Petersen  Photo  Archives
Rodder’s  Journal:  Winter,  2017

Corvette  In  The  Barn
The Lost Motor Trend Victress Special
Story Author: Guy Dirkin
Tom Cotter: Published 2010

The  “Rise”  of  the  The  Lost  Motor  Trend  Victress
Undiscovered Classics:  February 4, 2010

Saving  the  “Motor  Trend  Victress  Special”
Undiscovered Classics:  November 29, 2009

Victress:  Fred  Bodley,  Memoriam
Motor  Trend,  1955

Renderings  By  Dan  Palatnik



Additional  Information

Click  Here  To  Learn  More  about  Victress  Sports  Cars

Click  Here  To  Read  More  Stories  About  the  Motor  Trend  Victress

Victress  Advertisements: 1955

Motor Trend Magazine: December, 1955

Motor Trend: April, 1955

Chuck  Glover  Remembers
Chuck Was….Worked for Motor Trend



Audio  Interviews

Bob D’Olivio

Donovan Fell

Jim Sitz

Chuck Glover

Victress  Brochure:  1955
Featuring  Fred  Bodley’s  Victress  S1A  Roadster

Click  Here  To  View  1955  Victress  Brochure
Three  Photos  Of  Car  Shown  Inside  Brochure

Who  Was  Fred  Bodley

Auto Speed and Sport:  August, 1952

How  Car  Was  Found  And  Research  Came  Together


Restoration  Videos