Something Special – 1955 Swartley-OSCA

ken miles osca race carIn the early 1950s, SCCA racer Skip Swartley had been campaigning an Allard, but in 1955 he took a delivery of a tube-frame, aluminum-bodied, OSCA-powered one-off special to race in the G-Modified class. It was reportedly designed by Jim Troy of Burbank, California. Swartley debuted the pretty little car at the Pebble Beach races in April of that year, and after many impressive performances, including victory at Torrey Pines and the Bremerton Cup race, he and the OSCA special were National Champions. Comparing pictures of the car today to photographs from the period, it’s obvious that a lot has changed, and not just in terms of condition. The rake of the grille is different, the cutouts on either side of the grille are new, the head fairing is more pronounced, the sides are rounded, and the headlights are more smoothly integrated into the body. The original engine is also gone, and a later 1,600 cc Fiat-OSCA unit sits in its place.

This car isn’t just now resurfacing. It came up for sale in 2009 for a time, and Auctions America reports that it sold for $11,500 in 2012. Its condition hasn’t perceptibly changed since then, and it is therefore still a hefty project, but this is a significant car and the bodywork could likely be reworked into its original shape for the most part. A unique and successful little race car, it deserves to be brought back to life. Now, if only someone could find a 1,092 cc OSCA motor, it could be perfect.

Check out the 1955 Swartley-OSCA here on eBay, where the reserve is not yet met at $20,700.

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