The Davis D-2 Divan is one of the most bizarre cars ever built, a three-wheeled convertible “roadster” built between 1947 to 1949.
Two interesting videos below; the original 1948 promotional video, and you can take a ride in a Davis Divan with Jay Leno.
As told by driverweekly:
The story of the Divan was a sordid tale of corruption and fraud. Used car salesman and industrial designer Glen Gordon “Gary” Davis was a unscrupulous businessman looking for his next idea when he set eyes on the three-wheeled racer called “The Californian,” built by Frank Kurtis (later the renowned racecar designer for the Indianapolis 500!) Gary Davis somehow believed that he could build and market a three-wheeled car for personal use and wanted to reverse engineer “The Californian.” He convinced the owner to let him take the car for a test drive and, according to some accounts, intentionally crashed the vehicle to lower the price to just $50! With design in hand, the slick salesmen sold 350 dealerships to interested partners and hired Hollywood bombshells to help him advertise the new car. But Davis had promised more than he could deliver.
He hadn’t paid his workers in months and fired his plant manager for spending money on new equipment—naturally, production fell far behind schedule. Facing a series of lawsuits, Davis was arrested for fraud and grand theft and sent to a work camp. Only thirteen cars were ever built and even if Davis had been on the up-and-up, it’s unlikely the unusual vehicle would ever have been successful. Three-wheeled vehicles have never been particularly safe or practical, and the vehicle looked like a bumper car! And, in fact, Gary Davis went on to design bumper cars for amusement parks—which is probably the only place for three-wheelers like the Divan.”
VIDEO: Davis D-2 Divan’s 1948 Promotional Video
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sources: youtube.com, driverweekly.com, wikipedia, Petersen Museum