Fascinating American Special, Originally built in 1963 by Dean Fredericks. V8 Power, 4-wheel independent Suspension, Porsche 4-Speed Transaxle. Over 30 Years of Historic Racing History, Titled for Street Use.
1963 Concours USA Mark 1
White and Burgundy with Black Interior
Automobile history is filled with passionate entrepreneurs seeking individual expression by building their own specialty sports car. Stories of great independent builders are well known particularly throughout the 1960s when American sports cars, hot rods, and performance-oriented customs were viewed at Motoramas, Custom Car shows, and featured in specialty magazines. While many of these cars were loosely formed over existing and often burdensome production ladder frames using backyard fabrication and derivative body designs, a few were quite remarkable both in build and design. Such is the case with the Concours USA Mark 1.
Designed and developed by the popular and successful 50s and 60s television and screen actor Dean Fredericks, the Mark 1 was a dream come true for the budding automobile enthusiast who long imagined what his own sports car might be like. WITH HUNDREDS OF SCREEN ROLES TO HIS NAME and many future roles ahead, Fredericks used his substantial acting earnings to set up Dean Fredericks Enterprises in Los Angeles, CA as a means to build his dream GT sports car. Like Shelby, Fredericks wanted a low-profile roadster body with tight dimensions and a powerful V8 engine mounted up front with mid-bias for better weight distribution. Unlike the Cobra however which relied on the production AC Ace, Fredericks designed his own body. Beginning in 1963, the first car was constructed using a uniquely designed box steel frame using state-of-the-art heliarced welding, which offered superior construction and torsional rigidity. The fiberglass body was constructed using techniques used by Italian coachbuilders but instead used lightweight fiberglass material, which had found favor especially in LA where both marine and aviation industries were leveraging the material for a range of applications. The final body shell was both lightweight and featured bonded mounting brackets for added durability when mating to the frame. Throughout the car, handmade features were specially constructed, while the interior was finished in leather, with the dashboard offering full instrumentation and comfortable seating for two. Mechanicals were quite advanced for a car offered in 1964 including Airheart front disc brakes, finned aluminum rear brakes, and unique suspension engineering. Underneath the car the front end was supported using Corvair front suspension, while the rear relied on a Pontiac Tempest swing axle. A Tempest four-speed manual transmission (later updated to a Porsche four-speed transaxle) was mated to a potent and also lightweight Buick aluminum 215 cu. in. V8 engine. Hoping to build his cars in series production, Fredericks promoted the car in various magazines (“Cars” June, 1964) while showing it in local shows and driving it extensively throughout the LA area. By 1964 the car was offered for sale to individuals but with a high price ($7,000.00), few buyers, and limited marketing funds, only three cars were ultimately constructed before Fredericks called it quits and shuttered the enterprise.
Having built the car as his personal dream, Fredericks consoled himself by retaining the first one built as his personal car and attending LA events including showing it at the 1966 Le Cercle Concours d’Elegance in Santa Anita. Fredericks licensed and drove throughout Southern California and over the next seven years amassed a remarkable 68,000 miles, proving how well the car had been conceived and constructed. In 1969 the car was featured with Batman TV star Adam West in the movie “The Girl Who Knew Too Much”. By 1971 Fredericks had decided to store the car, putting his dream once again on hold. In 1989 the consigning owner approached Fredericks with the idea of campaigning the Mark 1 as a vintage racecar. Excited about the possibility of bringing the car to a new level of performance and competition, the two set about their build plan with a team of professionals. According to the long-term owning family, the crew had access to many of the original molds, Fredericks himself, and reference materials for the original construction, all of which gave them a big advantage configuring the car for competition events, modifying it for track duty with modifications that could very well have been done in period. The changes to the original design included a low-profile windscreen, side exit exhaust, air intake improvements, and the addition of ventilated disc brakes on all four corners – all quite similar to how a factory campaigned competition car might have been constructed.
In 1990 Fredericks transferred his partnership in the car to the second and current consigning owner. By 1991 the Mark 1 was registered and titled for street use and issued a California Certificate of Title. Intent on racing the car, the car debuted at its first vintage racing event, June 1991 at Willow Springs. The car would continue to race in a wide range of events as documented in the logbook that accompanies the car. In 1999, with the owner at the wheel, he misjudged a corner while on the track, spun, and damaged the nose and hood section of the car. Although the bodywork was deemed repairable the owner had wisely purchased the fiberglass body molds from Fredericks and thus decided to pull a new front body clip from the cowl forward. The new front fiberglass body section was pulled from the original tools and hand finished by a professional shop specializing in top level Corvette restorations. At that time, the car was finished in the current paint scheme. The car returned to racing with active and regular event attendance up to May 2013 as the owner aged and became unable to compete with the car. Regularly serviced and diligently prepared for racing duty, the car has been stored indoors with limited use over the past few years. In July 202o, service and inspection totaling $2,200.00 was performed including brake fluid exchange, coolant exchange, battery replacement, carburetor rebuild, and an oil and filter change.
Today this attractive and uniquely designed racecar depicts the original features of this one-off body design with upgrades for vintage racing. Built and refined for racing with consultation from the original designer Dean Fredericks, the two-tone finish is glossy and smooth showing typical but generally mild stone chips on the front fascia and rocker panels. Various upgraded components mixed in with period correct details include the roll bar, modern wheels and Hoosier tires, and side exit exhaust, all of which complete the purposeful look without significantly modifying the earlier street roadster design. The overall presentation is honest and raw, ready for the next chapter either as a continued vintage racing participant, restoration to the former street configuration, or as a great starting canvas for a newly revised iteration. Throughout the bodywork, functional details include the uniquely blended headlight fairings, central hood scoop and cowl louvers, and handsomely trimmed tail lights as part of the low tapered rear deck. Even the purposeful low cut plexiglass windscreen adds to the hunkered down racing stance of the Mark 1.
The cockpit is all business with a smooth dash section partitioned into two areas, one for gauges and the other containing fused rocker switches labeled with key features. Seating for two along with Simpson harnesses, halon fire suppression system, and modern profile driver’s seat make for confidence at the track. The padded roll bar proudly displays many of the races this car has completed from 1991-2013. In addition to the welded in roll bar constructed when the car was built, it was also upgraded with ventilated disc brakes front and rear. Underneath the lift-off hood, the potent Buick V8 engine is easily accessible and is reportedly the original engine block according to the long-term family. The engine has been upgraded with finned aluminum valve covers, Edelbrock aluminum intake manifold, tube header exhaust, and is coupled to a Porsche four-speed gearbox. A lightweight Griffin aluminum radiator and other more recently upgraded mechanical features finish off the engine compartment. The car starts and runs smoothly, displaying a preference for racing fuel. During operation of the engine, we discovered the fuel cell has been compromised, likely due to age. We recommend that the next owner replace the current fuel cell as it appears to have failed and will not safely retain fuel.
The car is accompanied by copious notes, detailed history on the car, period photos of the original build, copies of articles featuring the car, reference materials, photos, various correspondences on the subject of the car, various relevant performance literature for much of the racing parts used to construct the car to the current condition, and hand-written notes on the build and refinements performed during the transformation to vintage racing configuration.
The subject of a passionate and unique build from 1963 first as a proven streetcar with the provenance of being one of three ever built, the Concours USA Mark 1 set a stylish bar for early 60s sports cars. With a unique early history and singular designer/builder ownership, the baton was handed off to the second passionate caretaker who worked closely with the original builder to see his dream repurposed as a high-performance vintage race car. Still titled in California and now ready for the third chapter in its performance and ownership journey, this car is poised for the next vintage race, restoration, or further refinement as a unique statement of California sports car and racing history.
Please note: Although this car has been prepared for vintage racing, we highly recommend that the next owner commission a reputable and experienced racing establishment to review the car and prepare it for racing before engaging in any competition events.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608