Showcase: 1959 Salvatore Salerno Devin

1959  Salvatore  Salerno  Devin
A  Time  Capsule  –  Preserved  in  Original  Condition

—   Amelia  Island  Concours  d’Elegance  2024  Award  Winner  —
—   Museum  Ready  With  Presentation  Shared  in  History  Book  —

History  of  This  Car

Salvatore Salerno started building a small, fast sports car with American power and European styling /  handling in 1959.  To achieve this, he acquired a mid-1950s Triumph TR2/TR3 frame, a Willys 6 cylinder F-head engine and a Borg-Warner 3 speed transmission with overdrive.  Most importantly, he chose one of the most stylish bodies to wrap around his creation—the Devin sports car body which was derived from the Italian-designed Ermini sports car.

The Triumph chassis utilized an 88 inch wheelbase with a front/rear track of 45 inches which was a nice size for performance driving.  Salerno altered the Devin body by glassing in the hood and made it a flip front which opened up at the cowl.  This allowed the driver greater and faster access to the engine area.  He also sectioned the body and made it taller.  This had the effect of making the cockpit lower for the driver and passenger.  A hood scoop was also added which tunneled fresh air into the cockpit and was operated with a vent control on the dashboard.  He fitted his car with a tonneau cover—one that is still usable and with the car today.

The Salvatore Salerno Special is a rare example of an unrestored, unmodified sports car that was built and finished in era making it one of less than ten known American Specials in original condition.  It has a level of finished engineering that most handbuilt specials of the time did not achieve.  It looks like a well-finished factory effort that would have been very practical for everyday use except for the lack of a top.  And it has been fortunate that the Salvatore Salerno Devin had a list of loving owners that cared for it and never let it go into dis-repair – making it a true time capsule for all to appreciate.

The only work completed on it after its long-term storage was maintenance to make it running and performing well—it’s as Salvatore left it for us to enjoy.  The Salerno Special’s most recent appearance was at the 2024 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance where it received a class award for preservation and condition.  It also appeared at the 2022 Gasparilla Concours d’Elegance where it won an award of distinction.

Click  Here  To  Learn  More  About  Devin  Sports  Cars  And  Their  History

Technical  Specifications

Body Design:

  • Body  Design  By  Bill  Devin
  • Modified and built by Salvatore  Salerno


  • 1952 Willys Hurricane 161 cu. In. engine
  • Willys 3-speed manual transmission with overdrive (cable and button operated at stick shift)
  • Triumph rear axle
  • Electric fuel pump
  • Single exhaust

Chassis, Suspension and Brakes:

  • Mid 1950s Triumph TR2 / TR3 chassis / suspension
  • Near 50/50 weight distribution when driver is seated in car making this car effectively a front mid-engine sports car
  • Custom wheels built with offset specific to Salvatore Salerno’s Devin
  • Triumph front and rear drum brakes
  • Wheelbase: 88 inches
  • Track: 45 inches


  • Leather straps holding trunk and front clip down
  • Inner front fender rubber straps holding front clip down to firewall (behind front wheels)
  • Custom made bumpers—front and rear
  • Front of car is “flip front” or “clam shell” which allows easy and quick access to drivetrain
  • The front bumpers hold the painted surface of the front of the body safely away from ground when hood is open

Hood  and  Trunk:

  • Hood & trunk prop hold panels up when needed
  • Trunk locks from inside cockpit with hidden trunk release (pull) knob behind driver’s seat
  • Truck also can be accessed via hinged panel behind seats that is key-locked—nice added security feature for contents in car


  • Grab bar for passenger
  • Door springs hold door open when extended
  • Radio in dash with speakers hidden
    in the kick panels
  • Full dashboard instrumentation with oil, amp, temperature, gas, rpm and speedometer gauges
  • Hi-beam floor switch
  • Horn button on dashboard
  • Ashtray in center of dashboard with
    cigarette lighter next to it
  • Hood scoop is dedicated for cockpit ventilation with knob on dashboard to open / close vent
  • Driver’s convex rear view mirror expands what can be seen behind the car when driving
  • Dual exterior mounted side mirrors—made by Talbot Company Mirrors of West Berlin
  • Original tonneau cover fitted to cockpit

Additional  Features:

  • Wire wheel hubcaps
  • Wipers with dashboard control knob
  • Parking lights / turn signal lights
  • Emergency brake—pulled straight up to lock
  • New custom-built aluminum fuel tank
  • 12 volt electrical system


  • This is the only car that Salvatore Salerno built

Book  (50  pages)
History  and  Background  of  This  Car
View  More  Than  35  Vintage  Photos  of  Car  Being  Built

The  Salerno  Special:  Salvatore  Salerno’s  Devin
One  Man’s  Dream

Click  Here  To  Read  Book

Amelia  Island  Concours  d’Elegance – 2024
Recognized  With  Class  Award  For  Preservation  and  Condition

Salvatore’s Devin Received a “Class Award” at the 2024 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.  This was the second time it won an award since being acquired by Undiscovered Classics in 2022.

Video  (3 minutes)
View  Video  of  Devin  at  Amelia  Island  Concours  2024

Mike  Puma  Interviewing  Robin  James  (March,  2024)
Click  Here  To  View  Video

Gasparilla  Concours  d’Elegance – 2022
Recognized  With  Award  of  Distinction

The Salerno Special received its first award – an Award of Distinction – at the 2022 Gasparilla Concours d’Elegance.  This was it’s first appearance in a show since the 1960s.

From Left to Right: Barb Philipsek, Roger Philipsek, Mike Puma, Craig Johnson and Paul Sable

Video  (5 minutes)
View  Video  of  Devin  Being  Driven  on  the  Street

Tampa,  Florida  (March,  2024)
Click  Here  To  View  Video

Video  (15 minutes)
View  Video  by  Undiscovered  Classics  Which  Includes  Close-ups  of  Salerno  Special,
Discussions  of  Car  By  Geoff  Hacker  and  Robin  James  (separate segments)  and  Devin  Being  Driven  on  the  Street.

Tampa,  Florida  (March,  2024)
Click  Here  To  View  Video

Modern  Photos