History of Victress S1A
In 1952, Clayton J. Jensen, who had previously worked in the aerospace sector, started Victress Manufacturing Company. The Victress S1A, a sports automobile with a fiberglass body, was the business’s initial offering. It debuted in 1954. A two-seater roadster with a tubular steel chassis and a range of engines was called the S1A. The vehicle was promoted as a lightweight, aerodynamic substitute for other sports vehicles of the day.
Aside from having a fantastic personal history, the 1954 “Motor Trend” Victress S1A also perfectly encapsulates the development of the American Post-War Sports automobile. The Motor Trend Victress Special has direct connections to prominent designers including George Barris, Wally Parks, Bob D’Olivio, and Robert “Pete” Peterson4 as well as indirect connections to Wunibald Kamm5 and other well-known creators.
The vehicle is a good representation of the early postwar Los Angeles, California scene. You can learn about a significant era in American sportscar history by learning about the Motor Trend Victress.
The newly established Victress Manufacturing Company, a partnership between Doc Boyce-Smith and Merrill Powell, sold a Victress body to Fred Bodley, the Technical Editor of Motor Trend magazine, in the early years of 1954. Hugh Jorgensen, an art center graduate and a friend of Boyce-Smith, was tasked with creating an automobile body to “out Jag the Jaguar XK 120” in 1952. The BMW 328 Mille Miglia “Bugelfalte” from 1939 served as Jorgenson’s inspiration.
The BMW’s side profile and long tail were quite similar to those of the Victress, which employed a somewhat less noticeable “trouser crease” (bugelfalte, which is German for “trouser crease”) on top of the fenders. During the creation of the BMW, renowned German aerodynamic specialist Wunibald Kamm constructed a 1/10 scale replica of the car and conducted wind tunnel tests on it.
Concours d’Elegance at Amelia Island
Two Vehicles: 1954 Motor Trend Special Victress S1A, 1966 Toyota Cannara
Specifications of Victress S1A
- Build Dates: 1953-1954
- Engine: Ford Flathead
- Transmission: 3-Speed Manual Ford Transmission
- Wheelbase: 102 inch
- Interior: George Barris
Victress S1A Found in the Northeast
We don’t often see a new one — a car we haven’t seen before — crop up on our radar because there were only approximately 125 Victress S1A bodies made back in the day. Steven Ryder seized the opportunity when this item surfaced on Facebook Marketplace roughly two weeks ago. What a fantastic find he made, too! When it was first constructed, it appears to have been a moving vehicle.
You can see from the pictures below that it is powered by a Ford Flathead, and the unusual rear axle with the axle nut protruding suggests it is a 1938–1948 Ford back axle. The same frame was presumably changed underneath the car as well. The console has a great original layout for the automobile and the hood hinges are Victress.
About 25 years ago, it was discovered in the Pennsylvania region, but Steven, the new owner, was not given any background information on the Victress. Additionally, it doesn’t resemble any vehicles depicted in historical Victress articles, indicating that it was likely a local vehicle, and only residents of the area, if any are still alive, would be familiar with its past. The photographs below may contain some intriguing details that some of you will recognize.
Victress S1A Restoration
The task of restoring a 1954 Victress S1A sports automobile can be difficult yet rewarding. Depending on the vehicle’s state, various restoration tasks, such as bodywork, mechanical fixes, and interior restoration, may be necessary.
If the car’s body is in good shape, all that may be required to bring back its original luster is some cleaning and polishing. It could be necessary to repair or replace the body if it has been damaged or degraded. The S1A’s fiberglass body may be challenging to work with, and it could be challenging to locate replacement components, making this a complicated task.
The engine and drivetrain of the car will probably require mechanical repairs to get them back in functioning order. The engine, as well as other mechanical parts like the transmission and suspension, may need to be rebuilt or replaced.
Cleaning and fixing the car’s seats, dashboard, and other interior parts are likely to be part of interior restoration. The need to replace any missing or harmed components can also be necessary.
In general, the amount of labor needed to restore a 1954 Victress S1A will determine how much it will cost and how long it will take. Even though it might be a significant task, many automobile lovers relish the challenge and satisfaction of restoring an antique vehicle. Do you have any further questions regarding refurbishing a 1954 Victress S1A?
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