With so much new digital technology arriving daily in our lives, it’s hard to imagine that something as simple as a new material could spawn an entirely new industry and market, lasting for decades. But that’s exactly what fiberglass did. Easy to use and relatively low cost, fiberglass fit perfectly into the post-war do-it-yourself world of eager young men wanting to build their own car. And while many one-of-a-kind cars were built using this remarkable and accessible technology, very few companies truly transformed the landscape of sports car design with their innovative offerings.
In 1956, Devin Enterprises began production of fiberglass bodies. Bill Devin was no stranger to the joys of small sporty cars. The small company had seen success with various Panhard racing models and the Devin team were very often exposed to some of the finest sports cars throughout the growing Southern California racing scene. The Devin body (initially called the Monza), was originally molded from a Scaglietti-designed Ermini Sport 1100, which was reportedly brought into the shop and used as a direct mold for the first Devin bodies.
The beautiful Devin bodywork was mildly modified for production, but the most remarkable feature of the Devin fiberglass tooling was the decision to mold the bodies using a series of sections, divided into multiple complex molds. This costly but highly effective tooling decision allowed Devin to vary the width and wheelbases of the bodies he made. The genius of this plan was that it allowed Devin to make and market bodies that fit on a wide range of frames spanning from the diminutive Crosley, to the more robust frames of larger production cars.