The Portugals Dolphin

Peter Portugal is an architect and artist, living in Eureka, California. About 5 years ago (around 1990) he decided its time to build his own dream-car. The Dolphin is the realization of that dream. It is a combination of the wooden bodies used on some of the great early racing cars, with the style of the mid-1930's as it was refined by such coachbuilders as Figoni&Falaschi.
The donor of the car is a humble Datsun 280 ZX. But to call this car a rebody is a devaluation.
The body was made from redwood milled from a 250 year old tree that fell in a windstorm in 1981 and landed nearby Portugal's office. It is cut into 3/16" by 2" strips that have been tapered with custom made hand planes and glued together over white oak bows. It is then sealed with "West System" epoxy and reinforced with "S glass" fiberglass cloth. Then it's finished with Diamont urethane topcoat.
Dolphin - front view Dolphin - rear view
The dashboard has Walnut burl inserts. The seats are Windsor style buckets with leather seat bottoms and wicker over maple backs.
Dolphin - the seats
The luggage is made from hardwood:
Dolphin - the boot lid
After many kitcar shows the car was introduced to the wider audience at the Monterey Bay Rolling Concours in August 1995.
The price of the prototype is $65000 and You can order similar cars as long as there are any pieces of the redwood.
More info: Peter Portugal: 474 Redmond Rd, Eureka CA 95503, USA.

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Copyright October, 1995
Paul Negyesi
Budapest, Hungary.
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