the first Imp based G.T. road car
Londoner Adrian Evans was a structural engineer, who designed and constructed his first Davrian in 1965/1966 for competition use. He used an Imp engine as he had one readilly available -- having just written off his Imp against a brick wall. He made up a prototype body from plywood and fibreglass and put the running gear of his late Imp in it. This prototype, an open two seater, performed rather well!
The first one had the floorpan of his crashed Imp. Two more plywood prototypes followed. Subsequent cars, based on these prototypes, had a fibreglass construction.
Like the Lotus Elite and the Rochdale Olympic, it was designed with an all-glassfibre construction, even the chassis. The concept consisted of a highly contoured interior moulding to a very comprehensive one piece undertray. The shell (sills, numerous bulkheads) was filled with poly-urethane foam to provide additional rigidity.
Imp suspension components were used front and rear, although some later cars featured Davrian made swinging and trailing arms. The majority of the cars were rear-engined, powered by variants of the Imp engine mated to an Imp transaxle. However the design of the Mk7 and Mk8 cars allowed use of a variety of engine and gearbox combinations.
From 1967 on, Evans started to produce it on a commercial basis, and fifteen open cars were sold. This was the year of the forming of Davrian Developments Ltd. and production moved from his house in Grove Park, South London to 65 North Street, Clapham.
According to his adverts, there were two Sports / GTs Imp-based chassis/body units:
The Davrian we know is the enclosed coupé Demon, which saw life in 1968.
There was also a prototype mid-engined Imp Davrian made at this time, but this project was later abandoned because of the complex layout and accessibility problems.
The sound design and manufacture produced excellent (if rather basic and bare) monococoque chassis for assembly by the purchaser with his own Imp running gear.
|In January 1973 the Davrian was advertised as folows:|
|Seven years' development make this the best, strongest and most comprehensive body chassis unit at present available.
Basic body/chassis unit £385. Fully upholstered & sprayed £505
Racing body/chassis unit with full roll over cage £420
Rally body/chassis unit with sump shield supports £475
The three piece monocoque body/chassis unit costed only £275 at first, supplied in either kit or component form. For many customers the Davrian was a cheap way into race and rally driving, something Evans actively pushed. He proved that there was a market for kitcars even during the seventies.
It was designed with only competition in mind and so it lacks any luxury. But it has a very sound design and it did and does compete !
By 1972, 200 had been built.
The first Davrians were all supplied in component form, kits coming as body shells or rolling chassis sans drivetrain. Kits were produced to order to suit the purpose for which they were intended. Versions ranged from ultra-lightweight for racing, to heavyweight for rallying, with road cars generally falling in between.
Having moved from London (Clapham, London SW4) to Dyfed in 1976, Davrian was considered a Welsh marque. Support from the Welsh Development Agency was received.
2nd move to Lampeter on Tregaron Road.
XEB 399L: Isle of Ely C.C., 1973
Performance of the 1000cc Carter-powered demonstrator:
|0 - 30 mph|
0 - 40 mph
0 - 50 mph
0 - 60 mph
0 - 70 mph
0 - 80 mph
0 - 90 mph
|- same as Lotus Europa TC|
|Standing quarter mile 16.8 sec at 82 mph
Top speed 125 mph
Genuine sportscar handling
|Bob Jarvis (based in London) used a Davrian Mk7 in Modsport competition in 1977. Sponsors: Davrian and O Magazine. His experience and success in Formula Vee in 1968 gained him entrance into the official works Davrian team in 1973 and 1974. |
He blessed his mechanic and engine builder (Ian Carter), for the success he had with the car until then. For 1977 he wanted to switch from the 998cc to a 1150cc Imp engine. "The other Davrian drivers are starting to give me a hard time because of their extra power", said Bob, whose experience made up for what he lacked in bhp. "We have a very reliable car and I think we are looking very good for the championship."
Car: Davrian Mk7
Body: standard Davrian production shell and chassis in glass fibre
Steering: standard production item
Fuel tank: standard Davrian
Cooling: standard Davrian
BARC and BRSCC ran the two main modsports championships.
July 1977: the duel between Mr. Jarvis and the other two Davrian exponents in the smaller classes of the two championships faded when Bob got his intended 1150cc engine. He even worried a few more people in the bigger classes, too.
The very first prototype was later on raced by both Evans and Robert Jarvis, with varying degrees of success.
Davrians started notching up competition wins almost from the beginning.
In its day Davrian Developments ran its own works team in modsports racing.
23rd September 1995 saw the first running of an all-Davrian class at the Longleat hillclimb. Of those with Imp-powered cars Ken Banks proved to be fastest and achieved a third place.
The basic design remained fairly unchanged throughout its production life. It only got refined over the years.
In 1980 The Mk 8 appeared, advertised as a competition-bred sports car based on the Chrysler Imp.
This Davrian was sold as a full body/chassis unit (1430) to road, race or rally specification. It had the glassfible monocoque construction with integral seats, fuel tanks and roll-over protection.
For competition use it was available with or without a sprayed finish and upholstery. Rolling units to various stages of completion could be specified, but the company did not supply complete cars.
Primarily the car was based on Imp components: front and rear suspension wishbones, engine, gearchange, foot pedals and handbrake. (other units could be fitted on request).
Evans tried to expand in other directions. The 'Dragon', an up-market Fiesta-powered version of the Mk B, had to fetch £5,322.
Things did not work out. Davrian Developments ltd. went into receivership at the beginning of 1983. Voluntary Liquidation on 2nd February.
Will Corry (Corry Car Company) in Northern Ireland bought the assets. It was managed by Tim Duffee and Gareth Atkinson, who were right away busy completing the many outstanding orders for the Mk 8 (Dragon).
Corry Cars did not produce anything Impish other than the Mk 8.
The Davrian was commercially produced from 1967 to 1983, with a total production of 500 cars.
Adrian Evans is no longer among the living.
The New Davrian Register which includes the Davrian Register for The Imp Club is run by John Rawlins.
"The 'New Davrian Register' is intended to provide a link between Davrian owners and now has about 150 owners and enthusiasts listed from as far afield as the USA, Sweden and Indonesia. A fair number of Davrians have been exported to Japan in recent years but as yet I have not managed to make contact with any Japanese owners."
The 'New Davrian Register' also welcomes 'Darrians', the Darrian T9 effectively being the Davrian Mk9, although no longer utilising Imp components. It does however still feature rear-trailing arm and the front swinging arm configuration of the Imp, although of Darrian construction.
Second website: New Davrian Register (NDR).
The original Davrian Register of The Imp Club was held by Bernard Porter. (1981 - ....) He did not run a sort-of 'sub' of The Imp Club, but just registered.
11-13 Gloucester Place, Briston, Melton Constable, Norfolk NR24 2LD.
Tel: 01263 860525
Don't know if that address is still correct nor if Mr. Porter is still active as registrar.
Martyn Jones wrote a book on the Davrian through to the Darrian, published by Bookmarque.
Davrian's Imp / Mark Cole. - Hot Car 1972, May. - p.65
HC testers take a trip in Clapham's kit-car sportster EMK 313J