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  Hagemann-Sutton Special      

  Article Image gallery (41) 1 Specifications  
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Country of origin:United States
Produced in:1959
Numbers built:1
Designed by:Jack Sutton
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:March 26, 2018
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Click here to download printer friendly versionDuring the 1950s there was a thriving backyard motorsport industry on the American West Coast that had emerged from the Hot Rod scene. This ranged from builders of bolt-on go-fast parts to specialist manufacturers like Troutman and Barnes, who had created the Scarab sports racers that were capable of beating the exotic racing cars imported from Europe.

After visiting the Scarab team, successful Austin-Healey racer Wally Taylor was interested in acquiring one of the sports cars. When he could not get one, he turned instead to his friend Jack Hagemann, who was best known for building aluminium racing car bodies. Taylor, however, commissioned a complete car from Hagemann that would follow the same basic design as the Scarab he could not get.

Accordingly, a sophisticated multi-tubular spaceframe chassis was laid down. It featured double-wishbone front suspension and a Watts linkage located DeDion rear axle. Devin-supplied Girling disc brakes were fitted with the rears mounted in-board, on either side of the Halibrand quick-change differential. Like the Scarab, the engine of choice was the Chevrolet Corvette small-block V8, fitted with Hilborn fuel-injection and mated to a four-speed gearbox.

Before Hagemann could turn to his speciality, building the body, Taylor suffered a financial set-back and the project was shelved. In 1978, Taylor gave finishing the car another go and acquired a sports car body built by Jack Sutton in 1957. From new, this striking design had been fitted to a Talbot Lago Grand Prix chassis to turn it into a sports car. More valuable in its original guise, the Talbot Lago was restored during the 1970s and the Sutton body set aside.

For a second time, Taylor failed to complete the car and in 1982, the whole package was sold to Butch Gilbert. He then spent the next two decades to finish what would become the Hagemann-Sutton special. Fitted with a bored and stroked version of the Corvette, the sports racer was ready to go historic racing in 2005. The central fin of the original design was maintained and serves as reminder of the body's single seater origins.

Although never intended as one car in period, the Hagemann-Sutton features both a chassis and body built in the 1950s and as such is a fascinating representation of the golden era of the American special.

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  Article Image gallery (41) 1 Specifications