OLD DIRECTOR/NEW DIRECTOR
Well, as they say: time waits for no one, and after turning 70 last year, our Director/Editor/Historian/Technical Editor/photographer and double Davis owner Tom Wilson decided to find someone to take some of the load off of him to allow time for his car projects, more time with his wife, children and grandchildren, and more. I, on the other hand, should probably have made the exact same priority list (minus the grandchildren—I don’t have any!). Instead, I will be taking over some of the duties that Tom so graciously devoted so much time to—it should be easier for me than him with the great foundation he has laid over the last 13 years since starting the Davis Registry.
I don’t own a Davis but have been intrigued by them since reading Michael Lamm’s 1970 Davis article in Special Interest Autos magazine. At that time and up to the first few years of the Registry there were only believed to be two or three Davis cars and one Davis military vehicle left in the world. As a result of Tom’s dogged pursuit we now know of the existence of 12 Divan sedans and 3 militaries, as well as the verified destruction of car #5.
Tom was also instrumental in collecting the over 100 pounds of ephemera, photos, documents, memorabilia, first hand documentation and so much more. With his new found extra hours Tom’s plans now call for finishing up his seven year effort on the Kaiser Henry J prototype “AMP” car, then begin the restoration of the newest Davis discovery: Military #1, which he recently tracked down. When I asked him what he hoped for in the future for Davis fans, he said, “Locating TWO more Davis coupes. I know it is a long shot but when I started in this business there seemed to be only three!” Sounds good to me!
All we can say is thanks so much for deciding to take on the Davis pursuit and making the discoveries and other related information available for everyone to enjoy. It’s interesting that someone comes along over 50 years after an event took place, yet is able to be a part of its history. Tom Wilson is a part of the Davis legacy.
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE . . .
With all of the changes taking place in Davis land, one constant will be the continued support and contributions of David Suarez who, along with Tom Wilson, created this site. He has been very giving of his time and your editor/Director especially appreciates it. There will be some changes (if you haven’t gone to the site recently, go take a look), but for the most part we will be sticking with the excellent contents already laid down for all to enjoy.
DAVIS #6 and DAVIS ARCHIVES ACQUIRED BY The LANE MOTOR MUSEUM
Davis #6, found in 1967 by former director Tom Wilson and restored in the 1970s, has been sold to Jeff and Susan Lane, owners of the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. The Lanes have also offered to house the Davis Registry archives for use by anyone interested in researching or otherwise reading about the Davis Motor Car Company. They purchased their Divan from Tom last year, and received 6 boxes of Davis archival material in January. If you don’t have a chance to check out their unique museum, you should at least check out their web site at www.lanemotormuseum.com. This will give you some idea of the breadth of what is housed there. You’ll be impressed—Davis #6 is in the company of some very cool cars.
As for Tom’s collection, he still has two Davis vehicles in his garage—his restored sedan #13 and Military #1—yet to be restored but on the priority list. We’ll keep you updated as progress gets underway.
Hopefully we will be hearing from the Lanes as time permits in the Registry Bulletin and web site.
LIPSTICK ON TWO PIGS?
Never call a Davis a pig! The Registry is thrilled to finally be able to show new pictures of the recently restored Bill Miller #2 Divan sedan! Completed last year after years of ownership by Bill, he is happy that the project and its resultant expenses are behind him. This is the second Davis sedan to be restored in 2005—the other one being Boyd Davis’s “Delta” #11 sedan, the second prototype Davis. We are saving pictures of it for the next Bulletin—you’ll just have to wait, but the wait will be worth it. The Registry is in high hopes that the restoration bug will spread to other Davis owners—some of which have owned their Davis cars since the 1960s with no sign of progress (I won’t name any names!).
DAVIS STILL HOGS THE INK!
Though a little late in reporting, a four-part article on the Davis Motor Car Co. was featured starting in the November, 2004 issue of Cars and Parts magazine, written by former director Tom Wilson. You can purchase back issues from them at www.amosadvantage.com or call at 1-800-572-6885. Another article on the Davis appeared in the April, 2005 issue of Hemmings Classic Car magazine, written by Jim Donnelly. They can be contacted for back issues at www.hemmings.com . Finally scheduled for the October, 2006 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine is an extensive feature on the Davis Motor Car Co., written by Thom Taylor. Included will be records from the fraud court case and some never-before-published photos. Look for it.
MODELING FOR DAVIS MOTOR CARS
Anita Lien Smith sent along this photo taken after she was asked to model with the Davis along Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills. After this photo appeared in Autonews she called the Davis Motor Car Co. to ask about her modeling fee. She says, “I was invited to the plant, given a short tour, signed a release and collected a check for $10, which wasn’t bad pay in those days.” Thanks, Anita! Your editor will try to contact her for more photos and reminisces.
DAVIS MOTOR CAR COMPANY LIVES!
We received a letter from Dana Kocher explaining that friend Wayne Miller “is also the owner of what remains of the Davis Motor Car Co.” As evidence of that Dana sent along a blank Davis check—Dana’s very trusting. According to the letter Miller was a close friend of Gary Davis in his final years living in Palm Springs. He apparently used Gary’s Davis military vehicle extensively. An address was passed along to us and we’ll check up on this latest chapter in the Davis Motor Car Company.
1949 CALIFORNIA STATE FAIR DEMONSTRATION
A nice letter from Dick Chapman came in which included a photo of what appears to be Gary Davis driving the Davis demonstrator at the California State Fair in Sacramento in 1949 (though your editor thinks it might be 1948). Dick says he was 15 years old and that the picture was shot with a “127 Box Camera.” He also states that the Davis dealership was located on J Street in Sacramento. “I never saw a car in the agency but to the best of my knowledge the building is still there.” We love getting candid pictures like this and will include it in the Davis photo archive. Thanks, Dick!
ANOTHER TV SHOW FEATURES A DAVIS?
Bob Campbell wrote to say he doesn’t remember the Davis used in the early Dumont Network’s “The Cases of Eddie Drake” (which it was, by the way) but that he does remember one used in the TV series “Boston Blacky” starring B-movie actor Kent Taylor. Says Campbell, “The car, which I believe to be a Davis was used sparingly in transition scenes when Blacky was leaving the office to go interview a suspect, etc. As I recall it had a removable top and was featured in both modes of top on, top off. If it wasn’t a Davis it had to be the studio’s knock-off.” Thanks, and we’ll check into this and report back with any further information.
DAVIS REGISTRY NEWS
We have a couple of new designs which just need the finishing touches before handing them off to Tom Wilson who volunteered to have some printed. When we do we will have them posted in the DSYCB section of the web site, along with pictures so you can decide which one you like the best—or maybe just buy three of each. Proceeds will go to the Davis Registry.
OWN YOUR OWN DAVIS!
Now you can own a Davis Divan sedan! Soon I will have the master finished for the 1/18th scale Davis car. Once completed Jimmy Flintstone in Franklin, Wisconsin, will cast up kits in resin which will include chrome parts and even photo-etch Davis script! The kits will come unpainted, but should be easy for all of you Davis nuts to complete. It will be the first and probably last scale version of the Davis automobile, so don’t complain about having to drag out your model paints and Crazy glue. I’d like to say this will be done before Summer 2006—we’ll see……. Proceeds will go to the Davis Registry.