Racing Devins -- 2
22 year old John Albi of Arcadia, CA,  built this car in his garage in 1961.  He raced it twice:  At Pomona on July 8-9, 1961, and at Santa Barbara on September 2-3, 1961

Here he leads Steve Baughman's Maserati 200SI.

More on John Albi's Devin-Chevrolet!

Ray Wermuth of Carmel, CA drove this sprint car-based Chevy-powered Devin Special in 1961-62.

The car practiced at several NorCal events but I never saw it take a green flag.

As a junior-high school kid, your webmaster was always excited to see this car parked in the garage of Bob Shirley's house across Highway #1 from Carmel High School.

(3-19-11)   From Erich Schultz:

"I actually own a Devin featured on your site, (along with 11 other vintage race cars), but the description of the Devin and its history are incorrect. 

You attribute the Devin to Ray Wermuth, but the car was in fact built and owned by Robert "Bob" Shirley, who was the track manager at Laguna Seca.  Ray was a successful regional driver of an Austin Healey 100-6 before Shirley hired him to drive the Devin. 

You mention remembering seeing the house where the car was parked when you were in high school; that house most likely belonged to Shirley not Wermuth.  He also owned and operated a garage in the same vicinity as the high school.  I've been told that there were often race cars and hot rods there and that the garage was a popular hang out for high school boys. 

Shirley's family, father and brothers, raced sprint cars.  Shirley custom made the Devin frame in the style of a sprint car frame,only wider in the center making it a two seat sports car, with help from a friend in the Navy who was a skilled welder and fabricator.  They used heliarc welding equipment from a navy maintenance facility. 

Initially Shirley used axles, wheels and other components from a sprint car he owned, transferring them back and forth as needed between the two cars.  Later he replaced the Devin's  front live axle with a bolt in VW trailing arm front suspension, and the rear Halibrand Champ axle with a 56 Chevy unit equipped with a spool instead of a differential.  He also used a few different engines, originally a Chevy 348 and later a bored and stroked Chevy 283. 

Early on, the Devin was entered in races by Robert, but later it was entered by his daughter, Susan, as Robert had been diagnosed with Cancer shortly after completing the car.   In the early 60's, the 7-UP soda company photographed Susan in the Devin and featured  the car and Susan in magazine and billboard ads. 

The Devin was built to show standards and took top sports car honors in several concours d'elegance.  After Robert died from his illness, his wife gave the car to her nephew, Mike Fitzello, in Los Angeles.  The Devin was further developed by Mike, his dad, and their family friend, Larry Shinoda, and used as a drag racer. 

Later, Mike disassembled the car with the intention of completely redesigning the chassis.  He never got around to completing the project and the car remained in pieces, scattered in various places for nearly 40 years.  Fitzello continues drag racing today in top fuel funny car classes as well as some nostalgia classes. 

Hopefully we'll be seeing this car back on the track in the not too distant future."

Next:   Racing Devins -- 3  (Ak Miller's Devin-Chevy)

Back to:   Racing Devins -- 1

Back to:   New Homepage