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The Davis was first introduced in 1947 by Glenn Gordon "Gary"  Davis in the United States of America. Just after World War II, Davis bought a small racing car that had been converted into a 3-wheeler and named the "Californian".   Believing it would make a good economy vehicle Davis built his first prototype which he nicknamed "Baby" (or Davis D-1). The second Davis prototype D-2, (or Davis "Delta") was also built in 1947. From 1948 the Davis Motor Company then produced 11 Divan models that all featured a removable top. 

The Davis is possibly the largest production 3-wheeler ever made being 14 feet in length and wide enough to sit four adults abreast. It was powered by a 2,600cc four-cylinder Continental engine (whilst the first two prototypes used a Hercules engine) and had an aluminium body that was attached directly to a steel chassis with normal cushion body mounts. Davis also produced a military 3-wheeler that used the same chassis and was in effect a 3-wheeled jeep.  It is not know for certain but it is believed that only two of these were made. In total only 17 Davis vehicles were made of which a number still exist in the United States. 
 The 5th Davis that was made was later shipped to the Reliant Motor Company in Tamworth (UK) for "engineering evaluation" and upon its return, never actually left the UK. The Customs Officers demanded that the customs bond be paid for the car to be sent back to America. At the time the company who owned the rights to manufacture the car were not willing/able to pay for return shipment and as Reliant did not want to pay the customs bond, Reliant was required to  "destroy the car under the eyes of the customs agents."  Davis ceased production in 1949.

My personal thoughts:  Living in Tamworth, UK, I'm amazed that the only Davis to come to the UK was literally just a 5 minute drive from my house.  If anyone invents a time machine I know of one vehicle I shall be saving!!

My thanks to Thomas Wilson of the Davis Registry for helping with the data on this page.

The 1947 Davis.  (My thanks to Hal Schmidt for sending in this photo taken by his Father in law)

The 1949 Davis Military Vehicle. (My thanks to David Suarez for allowing me to use this picture from the Davis Registry web site.)

Related pages on this web site:

3-wheeler Triva Facts

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