Rear-view mirror: Davey 626

Some interesting historic images from FMM’s and the Mike & Wendy Monk photo archives, some with a story, others without. This month, the tale behind a South African GT nipped in the bud…

When it comes to South African cars, the GSM Dart and Flamingo and the Protea are the most well known, but there were other projects that never got into production. One such example worthy of recognition was the Davey 626, which was a GT designed and built by the late Brian Davey of Benoni in the early 1960s.   

Davey had spent time in the UK working for Lola Cars where he gained much valuable experience before returning home to build his own car that he had had in mind for some time. The concept was for a coupe-style GT built on a triangulated space frame with independent suspension all round. Four-wheel disc brakes were fitted, inboard at the rear. The engine used was a Ford Zephyr 2 553cc inline-six with a Raymond Mays conversion that included three Weber twin-choke carburettors. To help lower the bonnet line, it was mounted inclined at 10 degrees, which necessitated a new, bigger-capacity sump that, together with the diff housing and other parts, were cast from patterns made by Davey. A Triumph TR3 three-speed plus overdrive gearbox was fitted along with a triple-plate clutch.

The first body was made from 16- and 18-gauge aluminium but the plan was for future bodies to be made from glass fibre. As for 626, it simply implies a 6-cylinder 2,6-litre engine. The car made its racing debut at the 1963 Republic Day Trophy meeting at Kyalami driven by Ron Pollock but was not allowed to race in the GT category because, being a prototype, it was not considered a production car. Nevertheless, it proved to be a fast, good-handling machine and lapped under the GT lap record of the time before a rear suspension problem forced its retirement.

While the car never did go into production it fulfilled Davey’s dream, and we one can only speculate on what might have been, because it certainly had potential.