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Devin Renault Special-1959

Devin Renault Special-1959

 
Bill Devin, aka “The Enzo Ferrari of Okie Flats”, grew up around cars – his family owned a Chevrolet dealership – and he and his brother opened a Chrysler-Plymouth franchise after a stint in the Navy. But, his passions ran more toward Siata and Ferraris. Feeling shunned by the European dealers in southern California, he decided to make his own line of sporty race and street cars out of fiberglass.
Taking a “splash mold” of a friends ’55 Ermini 375 Sport (itself styled after the Ferrari Monza, both designed by Scaglietti), Devin proceeded to devise a way to cut up the mold, adding here and there, to come up with 50 body part molds that could be combined in different ways to accommodate wheelbases from 78” to 106”, and tracks ranging from 40” to 52” – a total of 27 distinct bodies! And, all of them were initially priced at $295. For an extra $40, one could get the doors, jambs, dash, hood and trunk openings molded in and cut out, ready to install. Fit and finish was excellent.
This car is the marriage of a Devin F body and a 1954 Renault 4CV chassis and drivetrain. Originally built by Harry Rasmussen in the Pacific Northwest, it was completed in time for display at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. It passed through several known owners hands before being “re-discovered” in a very incomplete state in 2007 at a Puyallup, WA swap meet, where Bob Dunston purchased the car. Bob scrounged parts through most of 2010, then set in on the restoration in earnest, completing it in time for the July 8, 2011 Portland Historics. After sorting some carburetor and clutch issues, the car finished a credible 24th out of 32, between a Crosley Special and a Saab 96. It has 9 race meets in its log book since restoration. Said Bob, “It a lot different to drive than my Lotus! It’s a lot of fun!
 
Specifications:
Manufacturer:  Body - Devin; Chassis – Renault; Builder – Harry Rasmussen
Country of Origin:  Body – USA; Chassis – France
Drivetrain Configuration:  Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine:  Martin Moe-built Renault 845cc inline 4-cylinder, water cooled, 66hp at 7,000 rpm
Transmission:  Renault Dauphine full-synchro 4-speed manual
Brakes:  Renault R8 all around
Weight:  1393 pounds w/ driver and fuel
Top Speed:  Approx. 80 mph, gearing-dependent
Years of Production:  1954-1961
Number Produced:  Unknown, estimated in the low thousands.
Original Cost:  Devin F body, $295, including crating and rail freight.
 

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