It may look like a European-designed sports car, but the Devin Triumph S was the creation of an American car nut.
Back in the 1950s, fiberglass was popular as a material for constructing lightweight sports cars. Perhaps the most common example of that technology was the original “Plastic Fantastic” itself, the C1 Corvette. But fiberglass was relatively inexpensive and it allowed plenty of small automakers to sculpt it in various ways, enabling them to improve aerodynamics without having to spends a ton of money. Bill Devin was one of those small-time car makers.
Born in Oklahoma, Devin’s company was known back during the Fifties and Sixties as a manufacturer of fiberglass kit-car bodies that could be installed in a number of chassis. Combined with a wonderful variety of engines on the market, Devin’s cars were very fast on the track and were even known for giving Ferraris a hard time. His love for European sports cars and Southern California racing inspired him to build lightweight and affordable cars. After owning some car dealerships, Devin turned his attention to racing and later became known as the "Enzo Ferrari of Okie Flats." In other words, his cars won races.
Inspired by curvaceous Ferraris, his ready to mount car body designs soon found their way to the chassis of cars such as Triumph TR, MG, Fiat, Hillman, Volkswagen and Morris. Along with car bodies, Devin also offered complete kits that included the body in addition to a tube-frame chassis, axles, and suspension – all for a dirt cheap price. With the use of powerful engines such as the Corvette’s 283 V8, Devin’s cars were an affordable alternative to the more expensive European track cars. Devin’s bottom line philosophy when it came to American sports cars was that they shouldn't be dull or expensive.
They should not only be reliable as daily drivers but also extremely stylish with the performance credentials to match, all for a very reasonable price when compared to Ferraris. One particular Devin is currently up for auction on eBay Motors. Specifically built for racing, this 1957 Triumph S "Gary Special" first hit the tracks in California before it went through the hands of a succession of different owners. Powered by a Buick 215 alloy V8 and mated to a four-speed manual transmission, the car raced for several seasons and was even entered into the 1957 Concours d’Elegance.
It’s had a complete body-off restoration and features aluminum inner body panels, reupholstered aluminum frame seats, new interior and carpet and many other mechanical upgrades. It was built on a highly modified Triumph TR chassis and also has new Daytona wire wheels and turn signals for road use. It had a starting bid of $110,000 as of writing. Although Devin’s cars remain relatively unknown, it’s great to see that there are enthusiasts still out there properly maintaining these downright beautiful machines.