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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.


Condition: The Salerno Special was brought back to running and driving condition with special attention to keeping the sports car in as original condition as possible.  New parts were installed that were considered normal maintenance items which included a battery, all wheel cylinders, master cylinder, water pump and silent block steering bushings (2). A new aluminum custom fitted gas tank was built and installed to replace the original tank which was not in repairable condition.  Electrical wiring was repaired as necessary and the carburetor was rebuilt.  Not addressed were wipers, turn signals, overdrive, gas gauge, radio and speedometer.  The car is titled in Florida.

Concours  Embraced:  American handcrafted specials have been welcomed across the country, and in recent years this has expanded to rallys, special exhibitions and more.  What drives interest in these cars is the unique design and history of the build – in every case a story that is a “one of one.”  Since 2007, major concours such as Amelia and Pebble Beach have held classes of these cars on several occasions, and both the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance are featuring classes of these cars in 2023.

Special Concours Class:  Cars that are shown in original condition are garnering more interest and trending with higher prices more often than cars that have been fully restored.  Concours and museums have recognized this and both exhibit and show cars like the Salerno Special in “Preservation Classes” or “Preservation Exhibits.”

Technical  Specifications

Body Design:

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


  • 1952 Willys Hurricane 6 Cylinder 161 cu. In. engine (2.6 liters; 90 horsepower)
  • 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

The  Salerno  Special:  Salvatore  Salerno’s  Devin
One  Man’s  Dream:  50  Pages  With  Original  “Build”  Photos

Copy and Paste The Following Link To View a Video About This Devin

Video  View   of  Car;  Two  Interviews  About  Car;  GoPro  Driving  Video

Run  Time:  15  Minutes


Additional  Information


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Transportation costs and arrangements from Tampa Florida to buyer’s location are the responsibility of the buyer.  This car is being advertised locally and we reserve the right to end the auction at any time. Although every effort is made to present accurate and reliable information, use of this information is voluntary, and should only be deemed reliable after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, and timeliness. It is the sole responsibility of the customer to verify the existence of options, accessories and the vehicle condition before time of sale. Any and all differences must be addressed prior to time of sale. No expressed or implied warranties, including the availability or condition of the equipment listed is made.  Full payment via electronic/bank transfer is due no later than 7 days from the end of the auction.