Showcase: 1966 Cannara I Special

1966  Cannara  I

Designed  and  Built  By  Ray  Cannara
Owner:  Guy  Dirkin,  Ph.D.,  Clermont,  Florida

—   Designed  at  the  Beginning  of  the  Wedge  Car  Movement  —

History of This Car

Ray Cannara, a native Floridian was a successful designer from the start winning a $4000 scholarship in the 1962 Fisher Body Guild contest at age 15.  At 18 he was accepted into the prestigious Art Center for Transportation Design located in Los Angeles, California.  Unlike most fledgling designers, Cannara was already working on his first full-size car design when he started Art Center in 1964 – a car he would drive from Florida to California in 1966 during his college years.

Ray’s mentor at the Art Center was world-renown Strother MacMinn – a designer who most consider one of the most influential of his time.  Ray’s car marks the first of a movement of Wedge-shaped cars that became the focus of designers at Bertone and Pininfarina, and other, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

Ray modified the frame for the Cannara I from a 1958 Chevrolet, to support the highly individualistic body.  The styling of the car extended to the cockpit and dashboard as well.  Ray kept the car in his possession through the mid 1970s when he sold it to a friend, but soon languished in storage.   The team at Undiscovered Classics found the car in 2015 and worked with Hemmings Motor News to identify what it was and who built it.  Restoration started in 2019 and was finished in early 2022.  The debut of the fully restored Cannara I is planned to occur at the 2022 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

In restoring the car, bodywork was handled by Rob Hernadez in Tampa. A rear valence was added at the rear, following a 2016 suggestion by Ray Cannara.  Raffi Minasian, car designer and automotive historian commented the following on the Cannara:

“Although the overall effect of the Cannara is driven by linear themes, the details are very thoughtfully managed to pull the eye into subtle curved elements. The gentle undulations of the belt line as it arches over the wheel openings soften the wheels and help manage the bobbed tail. The rear corners of the car are not cut short or visually abrupt – they terminate in harmony with the wheels and curved undercut behind the rear tires. Linear wedge design can be a bit shocking because automotive architecture is generally fluid and curvaceous. We tend to see this more in fighter jet design – angular overall but with softened details. It takes a careful eye to work softness into an angular form so that the sharp theme is still dominant but does not agitate the eye”.

Technical  Specifications

  • 1966 Custom Design in Fiberglass and Aluminum
  • Ray Cannara
Body Work and Paint
  • Restoration by Robinson Hernandez, Tampa, Florida USA
Interior and Upholstery
  • Restoration by Robinson Hernandez, Tampa, Florida USA
  • Modified 1958 Chevrolet Station Wagon.
  • Rolling Chassis Restoration by Ralph Smith, Valrico, Florida USA
  • Front: Independent Coil-Spring Chevrolet
  • Rear: Coil-Spring, Live Axle Chevrolet
Engine (make/year)
  • 1963 Small Block Chevrolet V8
  • 283 cubic inches
  • Single 4-Barrel Edelbrock Carburetor 650 (CM)
Horsepower (estimated)
  • 280 HP, 290 foot pounds torque @ 2900 RPM
Transmission (type/year)
  • 3 Speed Chevrolet Automatic
Rear Axle / Driveshaft
(open/closed driveshaft)
  • Stock 1958 Chevrolet Station Wagon 3.55:1
  • 94 inches
Track/Tread (Front/Rear)
(distance between center line of tires)
  • Front 60 ½ inches
  • Rear 58 ¼ inches
Tire Size
  • Front 205 x 50 x 15  /  23 inch diameter
  • Rear 275 x 60 x 15  /  28 inch diameter
Curb Weight
  • 2100 pounds (estimated dry weight)
Top Speed (0-60)
  • 131 mph @ 5600 RPM
  • 0 to 60 mph 5 seconds – estimated
Special Features
  • Ray Cannara body and interior, blending angular wedge symmetry and curves
  • Ray Cannara ¾ hinge, pivot doors
  • Ray Cannara updated rear valence
  • Ray Cannara custom gas tank in mild steel
  • Front disc brake conversion and dual master cylinder upgrade


Charlotte Autofair
1966 Cannara
April 7-10, 2022 (6th-10th)
Click Here To Learn More

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


A Re-Think on the Origins of Wedge Car Design
Dean’s Garage: April 16, 2022

Groundbreaking Cannara Sports Car Makes Carolinas Debut at Charlotte Autofair
Press Release: March 30, 2022

Where Did The Wedge Design Trend Originate?  Most Likely With Ray Cannara
Hemmings Motor News: March 25, 2022

Found In Detroit:  The Earliest Wedge Car Design?
Hemmings Motor News: July 25, 2016

Showtime at the Amelia – Dan Scanlan and the 1966 Cannara I
Car Guy Chronicles: March 7th, 2022

Rob Curedale:  Discussion on LinkedIn About Cannara
LinkedIn:  December, 2021

ConceptCarz:  From  Concept  To  Production
1966  Cannara Special

Click Here To View All Stories on the Cannara I Sports Car
Undiscovered  Classics  Stories


Book:  The Origins of Wedge Car Design (Cannara)
Authors: Guy Dirkin, Ph.D.; Geoffrey R. Hacker, Ph.D.
Published: 2021
Click Here To View Book

Book:  Motor  City  Barnfinds
Detroit’s  Lost  Collector  Cars
1955 Victress C2 Coupe / 1966 Ray Cannara Concept Car
Author: Tom Cotter
Photography: Michael Alan Ross

Published: 2017

Renderings  By  Dan  Palantnik

Vintage  Photos  By  Strother  MacMinn


Vintage  Photos  From  Ray  Cannara

Video:  Ray Cannara Sees His Car For First Time in 40 Years

Video:  Guy  Dirkin’s  Cannara  at  Amelia  on  March 6,  2022