I love the “promise of plastic” in postwar America – and clear tops seemed to be the rage. I think one of these tops might look great on the convertible Shark from the early ‘60s I’m working on now:
The history and use of these Plexiglas tops was covered recently in a wonderful article by good friend Glenn Brummer. Click here to review Glenn’s article on Plexiglas tops.
Today’s story focuses on a recent press photo I found from early ’48. Let’s see the top and what they had to say about it back then.
And remember you can click on each image here at Forgotten Fiberglass to make it appear larger on your computer screen.
Auto “Bubbles” (March 17, 1948)
Wide World Photos: A-80016
Los Angeles – “Glass” tops for convertibles, similar to the “blisters” and “bubbles” made by the same company for war planes, have been introduced in Los Angeles. The tops fasten at the same points as regular canvas tops, and are easily removed for storage in the family garage.
Although colorless at this time, a choice of ‘tints’ is planned for the future. The tops are said to be easy to clean and that scratches on the surface of the quarter-inch Plexiglas can be removed by polishing with auto polish or wax.
Made by Fabriform Corporation, of Bayseville, Ohio, they are being distributed by a local Ford agency. Shown here in a convertible equipped with a ‘full view’ top are:” Wilda Eggert (left) and Val Eckolt, in front seat; and Jim Dypuy (left) and Sally Hamblin, rear seat, all of the auto agency.
I think these tops sounded more fun then they would have been in practice – particularly in sunny Southern California. I think a clear top in California – or most places – as an “easy bake oven.” But you know…. if I lived in Seattle – Wow! These would be “the bomb!” And fun to have too 🙂 Perhaps it was the right solution in the wrong location. A clear top in Seattle WOULD BE the closest practical solution to a convertible.
How many of these ‘glass tops survived? Very few if any, I imagine. Hopefully we’ll hear from someone out there who has an ancient one they sport on their postwar car for fun. If you are out there ‘vintage glass top owner’ …let us know. We’d love to feature your car and its clear ‘glass top here on Forgotten Fiberglass.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
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~ In the late ’50s, at 9 or 10 years of age, i spent a good deal of time staring out the window of the Des Moines Art Center at my instructors 1st generation Corvette which sported a clear plastic top. The only time i was inside the car was one afternoon in heavy rain when the gentleman offered me a ride to my folks. Side curtains leaked. Had no luck finding an image of similar car but sending Geoff a link to Plasticon ad for Corvette top. Web address is a couple hundred (197) characters so i’ll ask him to scan & include in future article. sc
In the 1950’s and 1960’s Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth and Daryl ‘The Bubble Roof King’ Starbird were the two leaders in custom bubble top cars.
Geoff – Neat story and swell pictures! Of course, Rohm & Haas, the maker of Plexiglas, is gone now, through an acquisition by Dow Chemical some years ago. The trade name Plexiglas lives on, but now owned by a French company. Your Shark convertible would look good with a ‘bubble’ top, however, you’ll need a double-duty air conditioning system to keep that Flodida sun from baking your brain!