Page 1 of 2 Next >> A man of many talents, Bill Devin was a fibreglass pioneer, famously producing lightweight and affordable bodies for amateur racers. In 1957, he was approached by Northern Irish amateur racers Malcolm MacGregor and Noel Hills. They were in the process of constructing a racing car chassis of their own and did not only wanted Devin to supply one of his $295 bodies but were also looking to produce chassis in larger numbers for Devin to cloth and sell as complete sports cars.
Intrigued by the proposition, Devin ventured to Northern Island to sample the prototype chassis. Powered by a Jaguar straight six engine, and still missing a body, the sophisticated tubular chassis impressed Devin during a brief test drive on what was effectively a cow pasture. Before he agreed to buy the chassis, he asked for a slightly longer wheelbase and modified engine mounts, so the more readily available and more powerful American V8 engines could be fitted. His demands were met, and the first chassis were ordered for what would become the Devin SS.
The chassis supplied from Northern Island were constructed from two large-diameter tubular side-members, which were further reinforced by smaller diameter cross-members. Before being used, Devin added additional front and rear supports for additional rigidity. These were not fitted to the frame during original construction to allow for the chassis to be shipped in a smaller box. Suspension was double wishbones at the front and a rear DeDion axle. Girling disc brakes were fitted all around. The rear discs were mounted in-board to reduce unsprung weight.
Devin's engine of choice was the Chevrolet Corvette-sourced, small-block V8. This engine was affordable and there were sufficient go-fast, aftermarket components available to make it a very competitive prospect. In stock form, the '283' V8 produced 220 bhp but this could be raised, with some effort to as much as 400 bhp. Regardless of the specification ultimately chosen by the customers, the Chevrolet engine was mated to a four-speed Borg Warner gearbox. The first cars built featured a Salisbury final drive, while Devin later fitted a bespoke finned aluminium differential. Page 1 of 2 Next >>