Specials & Sports Cars

Using Ford Sidevalve Components

La Dawri

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This is the first in a short series of American specials. Short because my knowledge of specials from countries other than England is very limited, although I'm always grateful for any input from the many visitors the site gets from other parts of the world.

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Conquest with hard top

Les Dawes set up shop in California in 1957, after moving from Canada. Made from 10oz cloth with the then new flexible resins applied using the pressure spray gun method, his first shell called the Conquest was for wheelbases from 98 to 104 ins and tracks from 49 to 52 in. Like some of the British manufactures Les was unknowingly helpful to modern day restorers by using a front screen from a then current Chevy/GM truck.

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The body was available for $395 if the builder didn't mind cutting the doors, bonnet and boot himself although templates were included in the price. For an extra $200 it could be bought with these separately moulded and hinged plus the rear bulkhead, door sills and dash. Or for the costly price of $895 the shell could be bought mounted on a Henry J chassis. This price did not include the engine and running gear.

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From 1959 Les introduced the Quest Q.T. This was the same shell as the Conquest but with a wheelbase to suite smaller 90-97" chassis including that of the Ford Pop's, Anglia and Prefect from Britain. The basic shell was priced at $395, or $520 complete with doors, bonnet and boot hinged and locked plus bulkheads and dash. The shell was designed to take a Vauxhall screen instead of the American GM unit.

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La Dawri Daytona

Around the same time the "Daytona" shell was introduced. Although similar to the Conquest, it had a restyled front and rear and was available in the same three versions and for the same price as the Conquest. This new style shell was also available as the "Sebring"  with the same dimensions and prices as the Quest Q.T.
From mid 1960 the Del Mar competition shell was available for wheelbases from 80-90" and tracks from 45-49" priced at $395 or $520.
Also around 1959/60 Les bought the moulds for this Victress Coupe which he sold as the Sicilian for $195.

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La Dawri Sicilian

If anyone can tell me anymore about Les Dawes or La Dawri or supply me with any better pictures for this page it would be much appreciated.

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