Back-yard Beauty
Herald Sun, Friday, May 25, 2001
By Bruce McMahon
Easy on the eyes: the Devaux Coupe, resembling a 1930s French tourer, is gaining admiring glances wherever it goes.
His prototype Devaux Coupe looks good enough to have people beating a path to his garage door. The trouble is this prototype is still very much a work in progress that started as a back-shed hobby.

Now things are getting serious.

"Initially it was just an exercise in aesthetics," the Melbourne industrial designer says. "It was just a chance to try ideas and see if anyone liked it. "Now it's getting pretty hard to find to find time between my regular work and the car. Still you have to give these things a go."

The Devaux Coupe, named after his mother's French-connected family name, is a striking two-seat coupe with hints of many of yesteryears. The Bugatti Atlantic looms large. There are lines mindful of the Delage dynasty and the Delahayes of the 1930's and the Lambert of the 1950's. They were all French cars with style.

This prototype was built on a 2.5 Riley chassis, big and strong and quite sophisticated for the '40s and '50s. It has a 3.4-litre Jaguar motor and Mark VII gearbox, all from the '50s.

There remains a bit to do. Clash is now building up his own chassis for future Devauxs and working out the pricing structure for the body shells. It's designed to ride on 16-inch wire wheels.

The kit will feature a jig-built, mild-steel chassis with accommodation for the fibreglass shell. Then there's a tonne of shining chrome from grille to badges and door locks.

The engine bay is designed to fit a modern transmission and power-plant - a Holden V6 or straight Ford straight six would work. The frame is capable of accepting a fabricated coil-over-shock box section front end and trailing arm or leaf spring rear suspension. At 4800mm long, the Devaux sits on a 2794mm wheelbase with a 1385 track.

Clash is working on Australian Design Rules certification. For now the cars is sold without compliance, which becomes the responsibility of the owner.

"It's been an eight-year project. I first drew sketches of this car when I left RMIT in 1988," Clash says.

Now he's shortened his traditional week to spend more time on the Devaux Coupe. Then there's a convertible in the wings that could take up even more time.

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