Bocar XP-5 | Showpiece of the Week


The story of Bob Carnes will be familiar to many a motorsport enthusiast - or, rather, the general plot points will be. An engineer by trade - aeronautical, in his case - Carnes was also an avid racer, though he quickly decided that the cars available direct from showrooms just werenโ€™t quite enough for him. So, having finished second in the Pikes Peak Hillclimbโ€™s inaugural Sports Car Class in 1953, it didnโ€™t take him long to start tinkering. A more powerful Cadillac V8 soon found its way beneath the bonnet of his XK120, which he dubbed the Jagillac. That wasnโ€™t to be his last noteworthy portmanteau, though, with Carnes soon set to begin production of his very own racing machines.ย 

Bocar - see what he did there? - was founded in 1957, with the aim of creating road-worthy vehicles which focussed on racing performance. His initial design, the X-1, paired a custom chassis with the Jaguar suspension and brakes with which he was familiar and added a lightweight fiberglass body and a Chevrolet V8 engine. It finished fifth in class at Pikes Peak in 1958 - finishing at all being a rather respectable achievement for the fledgling manufacturer.


Over several months and multiple revisions, Carnes perfected his design. He used components from Volkswagen and Porsche, Pontiac and Chevrolet, Girling and Borg-Warner, and eventually settled on a combination with which he was satisfied. This he dubbed the XP-4 (P standing for production) and made available to buyers in either fully-assembled or kit form.ย 

It was with that carโ€™s successor that Bocar would finally go toe-to-toe with Carnesโ€™ former manufacturer of choice, though. The XP-5 featured the same tubular space frame and fibreglass body as the XP-4, but the relocation of its 290hp Corvette V8 improved weight distribution and uprated brakes increased stopping power. In much the same way as modern equivalents, the track-focussed XP-5 was available with or without multiple mod-cons including a radio, heater and hardtop roof, while seven different suspension setups, a selection of wheels and tyres and a choice between carburetted or fuel-injected engines were also available.ย 


In January of 1960, driver Art Huttinger finished second at Daytona behind only the D-Type Jaguar of Ed Rahal. The XP-5 would go on to set a speed record of 175 mph at Daytona Beach, proof of its staggering capability, but with its Chevy engine often proving a weak link, Huttinger soon made the switch to a Lister Knobbly, dubbing his unreliable Bocar the โ€œBlowcarโ€. Several owners persevered, swapping in powerplants with as much as 400hp, however, following the manufacture of just 15 XP-5s and with development of his new โ€˜Stilettoโ€™ racer well underway, a fire destroyed Bob Carne's workshop in 1962, effectively ending the Bocar story.ย 

This weekโ€™s Showpiece looks to be a fantastic example of Bob Carnes ambitious creation. Built bespoke to its original owner, it stands slightly wider than standard to accommodate larger wheels; probably for the best given stability at its 180mph top speed will likely be at a premium. With Porsche 356 underpinnings, Jaguar wheels and FIA approved safety systems, the car is ready to compete in a variety of historic events, adding another chapter to the Bocar story long after it seemed to have drawn to a close.ย 

See the full ad here.

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Comments (6) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Nerdherder 12 Aug 2019

    There was talk of this on the forums a while ago iirc. Interesting bit of car history, more like this please!

  • mekondelta 12 Aug 2019

    Loveit! But if that thing does 180mph I'd want to tick the ejector seat option...

  • Turbobanana 12 Aug 2019

    mekondelta said:
    Loveit! But if that thing does 180mph I'd want to tick the ejector seat option...
    Why? It's on a par with the D-Type Jaguar at Le Mans, so nothing exceptional for the day. Different times...

  • Paulo_G 12 Aug 2019

    Sold for just under £80k at auction in July. For such a rare machine, given values of better known contemporaries, and that (according to the ad at least) one sold in the US for $400k, that sounds like an absolute steal!

    https://www.historics.co.uk/buying/auctions/2019-0...

  • LordMekanicus 4 days ago

    Carnes admitted to a production run of sixty-two cars total, most of them XP-5's. Over the past thirty-some years we have found half of them. My congratulations to the new owner! I hope the car scares you just enough to keep you coming back for more! Sn. 007 certainly does with us.

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