The Bocar XP-5 was the fifth experimental prototype design developed by aeronautical engineer Bob Carnes of Denver, Colorado. Bob was an engineer first and foremost, and as is the case with most engineers he was a decidedly logical man. The name of his new racing car company was derived directly from his own name for the sake of simplicity – BOb CARnes, and the model names he used were derived from eXperimental Prototype – followed by the model number.
With his background in aircraft design, Carnes focussed on reducing weight and improving aerodynamics. Each of his designs were notable due to their sleek fibreglass bodies, chromoly space-frame chassis, and their American V8 engines.
The Bocar XP-5 was the most prolifically produced of all the Bocar models, though it’s thought that just 15 were made – although Bob insisted that he made at least 30. Depending on specification, the XP-5 sold for approximately $8,700 USD – which was a king’s ransom at the time, but the performance abilities of the model more than made up for it.
The parts list for the Bocar XP-5 must’ve been challenging to source, especially in low volume numbers. The car used torsion-bar suspension from a Porsche 356, Buick drum brakes, a Borg-Warner 4-speed manual transmission, Corvette posi-traction rear-end, Borrani wire wheels, and a 283 cubic inch Corvette V8 with Rochester fuel injection.
With an acute understanding of the importance of weight distribution, Carnes installed the V8 behind the front centre wheel line and slightly to one side to off-set the weight of the driver.
Weight was considered all-important with the XP-5 so few considerations were given to driver or passenger comfort, the seats have padded bases but not padded backs, twin perspex bubble shields were used in place of a glass windscreen, and fibreglass was used for the body rather than steel or aluminium.
The car you see here has a remarkable racing history in the hands of future SCCA champions Augie Pabst and Harry Heuer, and it’s well worth a read. If you’d like to learn more about the XP-5 or register to bid on it you can click here to visit RM Sotheby’s.
Darin Schnabel ©2016 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s