1959 Devin SS
The initial history of this very special Devin is best set forth in a 1996 letter written
by Bill Devin, the creator of the Devin cars. An excerpt from the letter reads as
“This letter is in response to your inquiry as to the origins of the Devin S/S (Chassis No. DSS-001) which you recently purchased.
I started the S/S Program in 1957 when I commissioned the rolling chassis to be manufactured in Belfast, Ireland, and shipped to my El Monte, California facility to be fitted with the engine, drive train, body work, trim, etc. The finished cars were then sold through my dealer network.
The making of the chassis out of the country proved to be an inconvenient and expensive proposition and I soon found it was difficult to price the car competitively. In 1959 I initiated a program where the whole car would be constructed at my El Monte facility. I felt this would result in a better and easier car to build along with keeping the price competitive.
A new frame was designed using basically the same layout as the original except it was much stiffer. The front suspension was of the “unequal length” A arm design for improved suspension simplicity and reliability. The fuel tank was moved from the rear fender quarter to the center rear of the chassis within the rear frame structure for safety. The rest of the car was essentially the same as the “First Design” S/S.
Your car (Chassis No. DSS-001) is the prototype for this “Second Design” American Chassis S/S. It was built in the Fall of 1959 and was used as a factory “Display” car until it was originally sold in 1961.”
The Devin SS currently has the following racing modifications:
440 hp 327 cubic inch engine
HMSA legal stamped rockers
Stainless steel valves
12.5 to 1 compression ratio
Performance Industries racing clutch
Earl’s oil cooler
Griffin aluminum radiator
MSD ignition with tach drive distributor
3:70 and 4:11 rear ends, both with positraction
2nd set of new Dayton wire wheels
Deist five point harness, and lap belts for passenger
Deist Halon Fire System
Emergency on/off switch
Devin speedometer and tachometer
Stewart Warner oil pressure, oil temp., and water temp. gauges
Reupholstered leather seats and new carpets
Fuel Safe aluminum 12 gallon fuel cell
Convertible top frame
This Devin SS has been authenticated by the late Bill Devin as the original “Second Design American Chassis SS”. This is the improved, stiffer” chassis Devin SS, of which approximately 3 factory cars were built of the 16 total factory original cars. This car was also the Devin factory show car in 1959 and 1960 before it was first sold. Bill Devin, himself, later acquired Devin DSS-001, and owned the car until selling it to the current owner in April, 1996.
This Devin SS has been campaigned successfully in vintage car racing the past several years in the Western U.S. It has also raced at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, most recently in 2001. Attesting to the condition of the car, Devin DSS-001 was most recently invited to, and shown at, the 2001, Santa Barbara Concours d’Elegance. In addition, this classic example American ingenuity and power has been the subject of magazine articles.
This Devin, with excellent provenance, represents an excellent value. With this car, you can thunder around at local club events, entertain your friends on the street (it has a current California title and registration), or run in the most prestigious vintage racing events in the Country against Ferrari Testa Rosas, D-type Jaguars, Listers, Scarabs, Cunninghams, etc. You can do all of this at a fraction of the purchase and maintenance costs of these other cars, and have excellent reliability. In addition, the purchaser will also have access to parts, blue prints, molds, set ups, etc., acquired from the Devin estate.
Chassis Number: DSS-001