Bonneville History Specials the Victress
Check out this rare find a 1956 Victress
1956 Dick Foster Victress S1A Special
Exclusivity….Be the first to bring a Victress S1A roadster home to your neck of the woods…
Only 20 known Victress roadsters exist and none are overseas – all are here in the USA. The Victress sports car was the fastest sports car in the world in ’53 when it set the record at Bonneville for sports cars at over 203 mph. In ’54 it was one of the lead cars in a Tony Curtis / Piper Laurie movie called “Johnny Dark.” Great vintage racing potential – you’ll have the only Victress in the paddock at every event.
I’ve owned this Victress Sports Car since 2007. The previous owner held the car in his collection for nearly 25 years. The car has been in dry storage for the last few years here in Tampa, Florida. It’s in turnkey condition and is in remarkable shape for a “survivor” and has been shown at both a Concours d’ Elegance event as well as a major West Coast California Design exposition show too. In order to compete for top honors at a Concours , it would need to be fully restored. Additionally, if it were to be used as a vintage racer, it would need to be brought into competition standards and condition.
Classic Styling of Early American Sports Cars:
The Victress S1A had some of the nicest styling for its era. Doc Boyce-Smith and Hugh Jorgensen were inspired by the 1948 Jaguar XK120 as well as the classic 1939 BMW Mille Miglia “Buegelfalte” roadster. Additional information about this heritage is provided in the links below.
Drivetrain / Chassis:
Custom-built tubular chassis built for speed and strength. Original plans from ’58 still exist and are retained with the car. Specials of the ‘50s often emphasize weight distribution as an overriding design factor, and the design of this car shows this well. The Olds engine is positioned behind the front crossmember and lowered in the chassis as well. This typifies the best approach to chassis design and engine placement for the era.
Vintage Racing Potential:
Few specials of the ‘50s utilized custom built tube chassis, and these were often built by Frank Kurtis or designed and built by a talented fabricator and/or machine shop. In this case, Dick Foster was an engineer and both designed and built his own tube chassis based on the best of designs available.
This Victress body is sound and Dick Foster’s chassis was built for speed. This car has great potential to become a vintage racer because of the chassis and the tilt front-end – it’s very streetable too. Also you’ll probably be the only one in the paddock with one.
The Victress S1 was first offered in 1952, and the Victress marque continued to be viable thru 1961. At that time, the company was sold to Les and Joan Dawes of LaDawri Coachcraft, and the Victress S1A became the “Vixen” and available on the market thru 1965.
In August 1953, the Guy Mabee Victress Special, powered by a Chrysler hemi and built by Denny Larsen of California, became the “World’s Fastest Sports Car” when it broke the world record at Bonneville at 203 mph.
In 1954, the movie “Johnny Dark” debuted starring Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie. A Victress S1A was one of the featured cars, driven by Johnny Dark’s (Tony Curtis) rival Duke Benson (Don Taylor) which skyrocketed the popularity of the Victress name from ’54 onward.
Points of Note:
This is the only known Victress Sports Car where the car and its original builder are both still with us – 80 year old Dick Foster of California. In addition, the original chassis drawings have been retained with the car, with original photos (slides) scanned from the Dick Foster collection. This car also retains its original pink slip / title from California from 1956. It’s remarkable that the pink slip has survived, and is itself a true piece of history.
While there are many resources on the Forgotten Fiberglass website where you can learn more about important aspects of the Victress Sports Car, here are several links that will bring key pieces of information into focus for those interested in learning more about this car and its remarkable heritage: