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Home Pick of the Day Pick of the Day: Bocar was the son of the ‘Jagillac’

Pick of the Day: Bocar was the son of the ‘Jagillac’

Bob Carnes put American V8 into racing-style sport car chassis

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Ah, it was a golden era of American sports cars in the 1950s and early ‘60s when people were putting Detroit power into dexterous European-styled roadsters. Think Carroll Shelby and his Cobras. Or Jim Kellison or Bob Devin and their cars. 

And then there was the Bocar, the creation of Bob Carnes, from Denver, Colorado, who raced and competed in hill climbs in his Porsche Spyder and a Jaguar XK120. 

To get more power out of his Jaguar, Carnes inserted a Cadillac V8 and called the result the “Jagillac,” and drove it to victory in the 1956 Buffalo Bill Hillclimb. 

But what Carnes really wanted was a car with the Jagillac’s power but the dynamic abilities of the Porsche. So he set out to create one, and in 1957 produced the first Bocar, the XP-1, built on a spaceframe chassis with Porsche/Volkswagen suspension and a Chevrolet V8 engine.

The Bocar name came from the first two letters of Carnes’ first name and the first three of his last name.

The Pick of the Day is a 1959 Bocar XP-5, being advertised on ClassicCcars.com by a dealership St. Louis, Missouri.

“While many of Bocar’s contemporaries were destined to be one-hit wonders, Bob Carnes persisted with evolving his design through several series,” the dealership notes in that advertisement. 

“The XP-1 through XP-4 were essentially development cars that served to drum up interest in the project. By the time he arrived at the XP-5, Bocar finally achieved a modicum of success and a limited production run. While exact figures aren’t known, most experts agree that about 15 XP-5s were built, and no two were exactly alike.”

Bocar XP-5 has a chromoly chassis, modified VW suspension, finned Buick drum brakes, and a pontoon-style body in fiberglass. 

“The most famous Bocar XP-5 is the beautifully prepared blue and white ‘Meister Brauser III’ of Augie Pabst, who ran the car alongside his ex-Reventlow Scarab in the 1959 SCCA season,” the dealer notes.

Of the Bocar XP-5 on offer, the dealership notes that it is “a particularly intriguing example that is offered in exceptional, unrestored condition and with just three owners from new. Thanks to the original owner sharing his story with us, the history of S/N 0004 is known back to day one. 

“The chassis was ordered directly from his friend Bob Carnes, but before it ever turned a wheel under its own power, the first owner set about extensively modifying (serial number) 0004 to suit his specifications. Being quite tall, he was not particularly comfortable in the standard 90-inch XP-5, so he set about performing significant alterations. 

“He stretched the chassis by about 12 inches, while lengthening the fiberglass body and modifying it with taller sides to balance out the proportions, and preserve the car’s fabulously aggressive looks. He did all the fabrication work himself over the span of a few years, while gathering parts for the remainder of the build.

“While virtually every other Bocar featured Chevrolet power, this is the sole example to utilize a Ford V8. Balancing professional and family commitments meant the project took several years to complete. 

“When it came time for final assembly around the end of 1965, the owner settled on a new out-of-the-crate 289 cubic-inch Hi-Po V8 and T-10 four-speed transmission supplied by Garnsey & Wheeler Ford of Greely, CO. The lightweight and compact Ford small block was the ideal engine choice for the Bocar, particularly with this car’s longer wheelbase chassis. 

“The car was painted a striking color scheme of Rangoon Red with white rocker stripes taken, fittingly, straight out of the Ford Mustang catalog. The finishing touch were “XP-6” and Ford Cobra badges, though the original owner later referred to the car as the “XP-5R.” 

“Following a move from Greely to Littleton, CO, the first owner sold the freshly completed Bocar to Mr. Ivan Frank, also of Littleton. Frank recalled that the Bocar was displayed in several area Ford showrooms in the late ’60s as a local promotion of FoMoCo’s aggressive Total Performance program, and to promote the versatility of the 289 engine. Mr. Frank also raced the Bocar in local SCCA events through about 1972 before retiring it. 

“Significantly, it is suggested that this car inspired Bob Carnes to build the XP-6, and some marque experts consider this car the unofficial prototype for the later model.”

In addition to Bocar XP-6, Carnes built several Stiletto models until 1962, when a fire destroyed his workshop. 

Frank kept the car until 2015. The seller notes, “Instead of subjecting the car to a full restoration, the new owner chose to honor its preserved, original condition by performing a thorough mechanical overhaul while leaving the marvelous patina intact.”

“As offered today, the body wears its original Rangoon Red paint, trim, and windscreen. Even the ‘XP-6’ badges added in the 60s remain, though this is officially an XP-5 chassis.”

The dealer notes that with its magnesium Halibrand knock-off wheels and period-correct Michelin Pilote-X tires, “it has a fantastic presence and is easily one of the best-looking of the ‘50s sports car specials. The mechanical overhaul was done to make this a safe, fast, and reliable mount for events like the Colorado Grand Rally. The work encompassed a complete engine, drivetrain, and brake system overhaul.

 “Weighing approximately 2,100 pounds and with over 250 horsepower on tap, the Bocar is a serious performer and a superb driver’s car. As offered, it is in excellent mechanical condition and remains ideal for rallies, tours, and all manner of driving events.”

The car is offered for $259,500. To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Hagerty
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

3 COMMENTS

  1. i was in 7th grade when the Bocar came out. Instant love. There is a company in upstate NY called Bocar. Every time I see their Vehicles with the name on the side, I am back in JR High.

  2. Absolute dream…except for the headlights. Was Edsel having a garage sale?

    They do provide that “time travel” feeling tho.

  3. Had never heard of this until today – were the lights intended to have Perspex covers over that air-catching socket, and smooth out the lines ?
    The Jensen CV-8 had similar in-set paired head-lights which were meant to receive covers, but the factory apparently found that condensation could be a problem, and left them uncovered on the production cars; would love to see a photo of a CV-8 with them fitted – am sure it would add to the appearance of both the Jensen and the Bocar if they were in place.

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