1953 JSR Ford Special


• JSR Ford “Special”
• Recent restoration
• 4.0 litre Ford Mercury V8 engine
• Offenhauser heads, twin inlet manifold and twin Stromberg carburettors
• 3 speed Ford transmission

The JSR is a one-off Australia “Special” built in the early 1950’s. The car was so named after the initials of the people behind it – Jack and Sylvia Rees, and was first conceived as an idea back in 1930’s when Rees dreamed of building his own car. It wasn’t until 1947 when Rees joined forces with Ern Seeliger that his dream looked like becoming a reality. Seeliger designed the chassis, suspension and the body and after much consternation the car was fitted with a Mercury V8 engine. By 1950 the car was almost complete, however, Rees witnessed a bad accident at Albert Park and subsequently had a rethink about the direction his car was heading. The car was built as an out and out racer, however, following the accident he decided it had taken too much time and effort and the car was far too valuable to risk racing. It ultimately became a sports/tourer and wasn’t completed until 1952.

This Australian Special has to be one of the best looking cars of its type ever built. The inspiration behind the look of the car were period Talbot Lago grand prix cars and the Maybach Special. Interestingly there is also a strong resemblance to the Allard J2.

The car was a star at the 1953 Melbourne Motor Show where it received rave reviews and achieved critical acclaim. Rees then took the car north to the Sydney Motor Show the following year where it again received a terrific reception. But that’s where it all ended, the car remained a one-off and it then sat for many years in Rees’ garage before being sold to his son-in-law Jeff Dutton in the mid 1960’s. At that time the car had only 7,500 miles on the odometer. Whilst the car was still in good condition, Dutton decided to effectively restore the car, stripping it down and repainting it red.

As can be seen from the period photographs (taken circa 1957) the car was originally fitted with bolt on wheels with hub caps, however, these were replaced with wire wheels around 1957. One of the features of this car is the attention to detail of the finishing touches. Even though the car is a one-off “Special” it carries a JSR badge on the nose, the JSR logo on the windscreen frame as well as on the wheels spinners.

The car was featured in the August/October 1980 issue of Sports Car World magazine about the time it was sold to Harold Welsh who was believed to have owned the car for some three years before it passed to its next owner Dr Ewan Lippman. Lippmann only had the car for a short time before it was sold to Peter & Case Cohan in June 1984. The Cohens owned the car for almost twenty years before it was acquired by Oldtimer Australia and then sold to its current owner on the 29th March 2004.

The car was then painstakingly restored over a two year period and ultimately completed in 2006. As part of this restoration the car was returned to its original French racing blue and a new period correct Mercury V8 engine was fitted to the car. Today the odometer reads 22,683 miles (which are believed genuine) and due a change in the current owner’s circumstances the car is reluctantly offered for sale.

The car is road registered (in Queensland) and also has a CAMS vehicle log book and is eligible for historic motorsport in Group L – Historic Racing and Sports Racing Cars.

Don’t miss the unique opportunity to own a classic piece of Australian motoring history.


  • JSR Ford Special
  • 1953
  • Sports
  • Manual
  • 22683 miles
  • 4.0 litre


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