One of the rarest and most beautiful of the 1960’s sports racing cars powered by a robust and dependable Chevy. Incredible bang for the buck.
1961 Dolphin America Sports Racer
Chassis No. – 004
Exterior Color – Blue
Interior Color – Black
Engine – 302 ci OHV Chevrolet V8
Transmission – 5-speed manual Hewland Transaxle
This is a Competition Racecar sold on bill of sale and not intended for street use.
Like many of the California based competition car manufacturers of the 50s and 60s, Dolphin Engineering was established by a dedicated founder, passionate about racing. Beginning in 1960, Dolphin Engineering Co. built a range of racecars spanning four years of operation. Spearheaded by Bud Hull, a former commercial fisherman and aerospace engineer, he named the car and company after his favorite sea creature. Although production was limited to 50 cars in total, the attractive and successful Sports Racers, built from 1961-1964, were limited to just 16 units produced in period. Like many of his earlier efforts, these nimble Sports Racers benefited from Hull’s partnership with John Croswaite, the skilled British engineer with extensive experience at BRM, Cooper, and Lotus. But it would ultimately be Don Maslin, a new employee of Dolphin that would replace Croswaite and pen the final design for the Sports Racer. Though initially limited to 750cc H-modified racing and four-cylinder power, the second car built was Porsche powered on order from Otto Zipper, earning the name Porphin. Typical of the period, experienced privateers could further order their cars to preferred specifications including the installation of American V8 engines – a feature of racing that was growing in popularity in the early 1960s. Unlike many financially strapped start-ups of this era, Dolphin attracted top talent including Ken Miles who was a Dolphin factory driver and consultant on suspension and handling. Regarded as one of the best American construction racecars of this period, the Dolphin featured lightweight construction, a straight tube space frame chassis, adjustable suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes.
History of This Car
This example is believed to be the fourth of sixteen cars constructed at the El Cajon, CA Dolphin Engineering Co. factory. Outfitted with a Dolphin Engineering chassis plate, the car was constructed December 1961 and appears to have been fitted in period with an American V8 engine. Though records of early competition entries are not known at this time, the car was competing at local race events in 1975, then outfitted with a lightweight Oldsmobile 215 V8 engine and Citroen transaxle.
Formerly under long-term ownership in the DiLoreto collection, Judge DiLoreto retained handwritten records of expenses and work performed on this car, dating back to 1983. Service invoices dating back to 1984 indicate ongoing preparation and improvements to the car for race use. DiLoreto drove this Dolphin in numerous races, eventually earning FIA papers issued by ACCUS in 2003 with attendance at the 2004 Goodwood Revival, UK. Always maintained by the most capable motorsports experts available to Judge DiLoreto, the car currently is outfitted with a superbly prepared 4.8 Liter Chevrolet V8 engine built by Ed Pink and documented with Ed Pink Racing Engines spec sheet noting the all-aluminum small block V8, oil pressure, ignition timing, valve lash, and settings for the fuel system. The former DiLoreto crew chief indicates that the engine was very well prepared with Carrillo rods, steel crank, Airflow heads, dry sump system, and top-level components found in high-performance builds. Additionally, in October 2017 the Hewland transmission was rebuilt by Collins Racing Services at a cost of $7k along with a new clutch installed by Ray Hulbert Motorsport. As indicated in the logbook, included with the car, the last race this car participated in was November 2018, Las Vegas.
Having enjoyed the finest in preparation under decades of ownership, this Dolphin remains faithfully cared for under previous diligent preparation for vintage racing. Although the car has not raced in recent years, the cosmetic condition is excellent throughout all body panels with excellent paint and beautifully polished rolled alloy rocker panels. The open cockpit body configuration is both unique and attractive with low profile and dynamic visual balance owing to the innovative mid-engine construction and space frame engineering. Exceptional attention to detail is evident in virtually all mechanical features throughout the car. Opening the hinged rear section and removing the lightweight forward body shell reveals a host of impressive features including 4-wheel disc brakes, adjustable suspension, Hewland 5-speed gearbox, and proper contemporary updates for safe participation in vintage racing events. As the roll bar indicates, the multiple event stickers validate the preparation and attention to detail afforded on this car. The wheels are in excellent condition, appropriately sized and tucked under the beautiful aerodynamic body. Best of all, the bodywork is tightly fit to the carefully engineered frame making it impossibly low to the ground. The only body panel intrusion is sure to delight onlookers with a view of eight trumpeting velocity stacks peeking out from the top of the powerful V8 engine.
The cockpit is clean and very well laid out with excellent driving position, formed seats, and competition seat belts. A fire suppression system is also professionally installed. Importantly, the layout of the car offers plenty of legroom and ample seating flexibility for a range of drivers. Pedals and gear lever are suitably positioned with instruments and controls properly laid out and easily accessible.
With the rear section exposed, the beautiful engine is revealed along with impressive mechanical components, and beautifully finished suspension. Professional preparation is evident in every corner. The engine compartment is properly detailed and very tidy, featuring both the dry sump V8 engine and the Hewland DG300-178 5-speed gearbox. Impressive mechanical features are also handsomely finished including polished carburetor trumpets, polished Corvette aluminum valve covers, and polished fluid canisters. The exposed mechanicals of the front section reveal brake cooling ducts and further evidence of clever engineering and weight savings construction in the riveted aluminum panels. Underneath, the car displays hand formed aluminum panels constructed to contribute to the lightweight and stiff space frame chassis Dolphin Sports Racers were known for. Agile and eager with fantastic power on tap and legendary handling, one would be hard pressed to find a more capable and properly prepared independently engineered period racecar from this era. Although this car has been previously professionally prepared with full safety equipment, it has not been run in recent years and, therefore, we recommend a professional race shop perform an inspection, tending to all systems before driving in a competition setting.
This is a fantastic opportunity to acquire a fascinating and rare competition car from an amazing period of race history. Among the most beautiful designs of this genre, this Dolphin America Sports Racer offers the next vintage racing enthusiast a chance to confidently lead the pack in any competitive historic racing event, much as it did under previous long-term ownership.
Items Included with the Car
The car is offered with copies of FIA papers, a racing logbook, numerous handwritten notes for service and expenses dating back to 1983, two spare wheels, and additional trackside spares that have yet to be inventoried as part of the sale.
On track photo credit: conceptcarz.com
On track photo credit: conceptcarz.com
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608