Bocar… what is a Bocar you may be thinking? It’s no ordinary vehicle, it’s quite a speed machine.
The Bocars were created and produced by BOb CARnes (do you get where he came up with the name from?) during the late 1950s and early 1960s in Lakewood, Colorado. The vehicles were available in both kit or assembled form. The majority of Bocars were intended for track and competition use, but they could also be driven on the road.
Bob’s first creation was the Bocar X-1, which was built using Jaguar suspension and brakes at the front and a Lincoln live axle at the rear. The powerplant was a 283 cubic-inch Chevy V8 engine. The body was made of lightweight fiberglass.
The X-1 was entered in the 1958 Pikes Peak Hill Climb where it finished in fifth place in the sports car class. The car was promising, but needed more refinement and power. After several iterations, the XP-4 was born (P for ‘production). These were available near the close of 1958 and offered as a kit car or as a complete package.
The fiberglass body sat on a 90-inch wheelbase chassis to which Volkswagen or Porsche suspension could be found in the front, of course given extra modifications by Carnes. At the back was an Oldsmobile live axle with torsion bars. One Bocar was given a set of the latest Jaguar disc brakes, but most were fitted with either Chevrolet or Buick drums. Engines were mostly eight-cylinder units from either Pontiac or Chevrolet and matted to a Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed manual gearbox. A completely assembled example would set the buyer back about $6450.
The Bocar XP-5 (white car above) was very similar to the XP-4. Main changes were to the brakes which now incorporated Buick Alfin drums. Weight distribution was improved; the XP-5 had a 44% of its weight in the front and the remaining in the rear. This was achieved by moving the engine back into the frame and offset to the right. This improved weigh distribution enhancing the vehicles balance and giving it better traction. Several XP-5 Bocars competed in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and proved very competitive in the sportscar class. Bob Carnes himself raced a number of times, competing against local racer Frank Peterson (see image below) for several years.
The Bocar XP-6 (darker car above) incorporated a supercharged version of a Chevrolet V8. The chassis was enlarged by 14-inches to accommodate the supercharger unit. Horsepower was around 400bhp which required changes to the suspension. The suspension was beefed up to include a solid axle with torsion bars in the front and a live axle with torsion bars in the rear. The car was quick, but never really gained much national attention. It seems only one example was ever created.
The Bocar XP-7 was the next evolution of the Bocar racers. It was very similar to the car it replaced and had a Volkswagen front end. At a price tag of nearly $9000, the cars were produced in very low numbers.
Bocar’s last racer built was for the 1960 season, the longer, more streamlined Bocar Stiletto. It would appear that less than four were created and carried a price tag of about $13,000. The car was intended to race during the 1960 season. Power was again from a supercharged Chevrolet V8 engine mated to a four-speed Borg-Warner T-10 transmission, and once again it had a space frame chassis and a fiberglass body.
The early Bocar Stiletto was raced at Pikes Peak by Carnes himself, but it encountered problems. A second example was built and sold to Tom Butz for driver Graham Shaw. This second car had a Hillborn-injected small-block engine. A third example is believed to have been built.
There was one in Shreveport, la. that was modified by Shreve Automotive (1961) to race Dr. L.C. Kirby’s Cad-Bandani in A/mod sports. The car was red and they had cut the firewall to move the mill back. They also had “Hank’s Tank”-I have been looking for it in a weed patch for years as it was no longer a street machine-maybe someone will find it. Mike
If you have anything further on the hunt for this car let me know. I have one of the xp-5’s and
would love to restore another one.
I owned a bocar in 64 it was titled 1960 ser. no. 3542colo i don’t remember the model but it had the 327 with 4 downdraft webers and aluminium flywheel, i was asked what model someone might know, i did not have it very long i wrecked it in denver with 26 cops trying to catch me someone had sprinklers going on a corner so i lost control. I still have the title and id tag.
I am working on one right now and know of parts (door and hood) from a blue one that was wrecked on 6th avenue in Denver. Was that your car? I’d love to talk with you about it. – Chris
wow so cool great cars!
My brother and I lived across the street from Bob Carnes in Wheatridge. We were 5 and 6 at the time, we spent a lot of time in his garage while he was fabricating the X5. Got to go for rides a lot.
His wife was a semi-professional race driver.
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