HomePick of the DayCobra-killer 1959 Devin SS factory prototype

Cobra-killer 1959 Devin SS factory prototype


While California sports car icon Bill Devin is best remembered for attractive, lightweight fiberglass bodies designed to replace the steel bodies of existing sports cars, the highlight of his career was undoubtedly the Devin Super Sport.

The Devin SS was a fully realized performance roadster with a unique body and chassis and powered by Chevrolet V8 engines, which gave monumental performance to the sports cars weighing less than 2,000 pounds. The original batch of 15 cars was produced starting in 1957 using a chassis manufactured in Ireland.

The fiberglass-bodied Devin weighs less than 2,000 pounds
The fiberglass-bodied Devin weighs less than 2,000 pounds

The Pick of the Day, a 1959 Devin SS, is the first of the “second design” roadsters built on a purpose-made California chassis and is the sole survivor of three prototypes built, according to the Costa Mesa, California, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com. Fewer than 10 of the second-gen sports cars were produced.

This Devin SS, chassis DSS-001, has a colorful history, originally used as an advertising display model, then sold to a private owner in 1961. The next owner was Terry Stokes, who would become a well-known mechanic and restorer who later worked for Carrol Shelby, Phil Hill and Mario Andretti. He drove the car on the street and in vintage racing and showed it at concours events until 1996, when Bill Devin talked him into selling it back to him.

A 327/425-horsepower Corvette engine lies under the hood
A 327/425-horsepower Corvette engine lies under the hood

Stokes was surprised when less than a year later, Devin resold the prototype to Steve Young, a board member for the Petersen Automotive Museum. Young had the car extensively restored by Devin expert Chris Wickersham, who installed a Corvette 327cid V8 rated at 425 horsepower on pump gas and set it up for track performance, the seller says in the ad description.

The Devin was vintage raced extensively by Young and subsequent owners over the years and retains its competition log book. It is also licensed for street use.

The tight interior is competition focused
The tight interior is competition focused

“Chassis No. DSS-001 is a well-documented vehicle that is well-prepared and race-track ready,” the seller says. “The Devin SS used a specially designed lightweight frame, four-wheel disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, independent front-rear suspension, coil over shocks, center-lock wire wheels.

“This car has proven to be competitive in a “blue chip” group with other cars of the era, which included Listers, Maserati Tipo 61’s, C and D-type Jaguars, and Ferrari TR250 Testarossas.”

While the seller does not provide an asking price in the ad, rest-assured that this rare performance roadster will not go cheap, given its condition, history and vintage-racing provenance.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. Cobra Killer? You need to brush up on your history, especially the period between 1962-1965. Does the World Manufacturer’s Cup mean anything to you?

  2. World Sportscar Championship over 2-liters displacement was won by Ferrari in 1962, 1963, 1964. Ford (Shelby) won in 1965.The under 2 liters award was won by Porsche throughout that time.


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