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"History of Dolphin Racing Cars"

Click a minuscule image for one with a long side of 800 or so pels

Dolphin Engineering van and two F-Jrs
Decaying Polaroid™ of the original in basic aluminum

DOLPHIN INTERNATIONAL at the factory door

DOLPHIN F-Jr bearing a familiar number
Manufactured in San Diego By DOLPHIN ENGINEERING COMPANY as established just after the emergence of Formula Junior in 1958.  DOLPHIN racing cars were the product of a partnership between Bud Hull, an aerospace industry craftsman, and John Crosthwaite, an English race car designer who had worked for LOTUS importer Jay Chamberlain after stints with LOTUS and COOPER factories.

This partnership created a space frame on an 85-inch wheelbase powered by Fiat 1100 engines and trannies with Abarth gears.  The finished car came in at 884 pounds wet!  Development continued through nine cars before the design was stabilized in a model of the Formula Junior called the DOLPHIN INTERNATIONAL.

Someone's DOLPHIN F-Jr on a trailer                  KEN MILES hangs A DOLPHIN wheel at Santa Barbara, 1961                L.A. Times photo by Ken Dare
                                                                                                                                L.A. Times Photo by Ken Dare



Lon Knapik in a DOLPHIN INTERNATIONAL              Photo from Motor Racing magazine              DOLPHIN F-Jr at odds with the traffic
See the full Motor Racing page

Here's a 7-19-2004 note from John McCann:

I used to own the only Dolphin F Jr built with a Crosley (ex Frank Fortune) engine. In the mid '60 it was in the process of being converted to a HM sports car - by widening the chassis - when work moved me to Hawaii.

A couple of years ago the current owner called me!!! Wow, nice to hear about it after losing track. I will try to find the contact and send it to you.

I have designed several sports racers in my time, two of them with fellow mechanical engineer Fred Puhn, the Santees (see Tam's Old Race Car site - Santee) plus a CM and a DSR (curently building SN002 DSR for Vintage racing).

Anyway,you might want to add this unique Dolphin to your nice web site. (sorry, I have no pics)

Into 1961 DOLPHIN Juniors were campaigned with moderate success, particularly in the hands of retained driver Ken Miles.  Kurt Neumann had an impressive win at Riverside in June, 1962.

Then Crosthwaite left the company to develop the
Mickey Thompson
Indy cars and eventually back to England to join the BRM Formula One design effort.  He was replaced by engineer Don Maslin, a successful campaigner of a LOTUS 11.
KEN MILES has left Turn One at Riverside International Raceway
Bob Tronolone Photo ©

KEN MILES is leaving Turn One at Riverside International Raceway
Bob Tronolone Photo ©


Ron Cole in the 1100cc DOLPHIN AMERICA at Del Mar

Maslin modified the design by increasing the track from 47 to 51 inches.  A sports racing body was created by taking a fiberglass mold from Maslin's LOTUS rear section and adding fenders to the INTERNATIONAL's nose.  The latter innovation resulted in the somewhat radical FERRARI TESTA ROSA look that excited aficionados of the day.

The sports racer was dubbed DOLPHIN AMERICA and began to be produced along with the INTERNATIONAL.  The first unit was powered by a 750cc Coventry Climax.  An 1100cc Climax-powered car followed which was campaigned with great success by West Coast driver Ron Cole.

The most successful DOLPHIN AMERICA was powered by a 750cc SOHC Abarth.  This car, in the hands of Dan Parkinson, was driven to H Modified National Championships in 1964 and 1966.

Bill Glore on the grid             Bill Glore allows a glimpse of DOLPHIN construction
Bill Glore was a Dolphin America driver from San Diego

After the 1962 season California Porsche Dealer Otto Zipper reasoned that his string of successes with RS SPYDERS was threatened by technical advancements among the competition. He unsuccessfully petitioned the Porsche factory for one of the highly developed Bergspyder hillclimb cars to be driven by Ken Miles. Miles had switched from DOLPHIN factory driver to campaigning Zipper's Porsches.

Zipper commissioned DOLPHIN ENGINEERING to complete an AMERICA model accepting the potent 1700cc RS61 engine and drive train. The result was an 1100-pound special that was 160 pounds less than the R/S! The extremely rigid frame and state-of-the-art suspension struck fear into the competition.

Ernie Buckels' remarkable photo of Miles in the Dolphin-Porsche at Riverside.
Ernie Buckels Photo ©
Ghost rendering of the Dolphin-Porsche  CLICK  TO SEE ARTICLE
Sports Car Graphic rendering

C & D August 1962

Miles took the car to a number of successes in 1963. It is said that the Porsche Factory was unhappy about Zipper fielding this hybrid car. He was pressured into discontinuing the car if he was to continue selling Porsches in California.

Success of their product was not able to negate the financial problems DOLPHIN ENGINEERING suffered from a downturn in the California economy in 1964. They closed their doors. It had been an exciting period of innovation.

Over 40 cars were produced including nine early Juniors and 24 INTERNATIONALS. The total includes 12 or so AMERICA sports racer models.

"History of Dolphin Racing Cars"
as posted at the Dolphin San Diego paddock site, Laguna Seca 2003

^Dolphin Photos © Phil Binks unless otherwise noted

KEN MILES in the DOLPHIN AMERICA PORSCHE at Riverside International Raceway

On the grid at Pomona (L.A. County Fariground)

On the grid at Pomona (L.A. County Fariground) second view

On the grid at Pomona (L.A. County Fariground) third view

At speed,  Pomona (L.A. County Fariground)
Two of the DOLPHIN Americas known to exist
in running condition
were at Laguna Seca for the
August 2003 and again in August 2004
along with another America and the
Restored "Ken Miles" International F-Jr

Dolphin Car Links:
Race Cars dot Com
Tam's Old Race Car Site
Lesco Automotive Dolphin-Buick

Formula Junior Links:
European Car (History)
Vintage Formula Car Association

I'm always eager to include any corrections or comments,
and will add any DOLPHIN material that comes into my hands.

Dolphin History     Laguna Seca 2003     Laguna Seca 2004    
 F-Jr No. 50
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