November is going to be great fun this year – for us and those of you who are fans of Undiscovered Classics. The Cigar City Concours d’Elegance has officially accepted the 1949 Panache Sport Custom for presentation on their field next month – November 10, 2019. We at Undiscovered Classics are excited to be showing the car with its owner – Guy Dirkin of Clermont, Florida – and look forward to sharing more of its history with those interested. Let’s learn a bit more about the Panache and the class of cars it belongs to – “Sport Customs.”
History of the Panache and Sport Custom Cars
Sport Custom cars appeared as a postwar car movement where the design and build of the car was the result of a talented and skilled individual(s) or small company. These cars were often larger than an American sports car of this era which typically used a 100 inch wheelbase (about the size of a Corvette).
This type or car is sometimes referred to as an American Boulevard Cruiser, and they are all of original or near original design. This movement lasted approximately from 1946 to 1959, with earlier cars being built from steel or aluminum and later ones typically in fiberglass. John Bond, owner and editor of Road & Track magazine in the 1950s thought approximately 1000 of these cars were built across America during these years.
The 1949 Panache is a unique example of one of the more intriguing designs of this era. Only one Panache was built (typical of Sport Custom cars). The Panache was most likely built early in this movement and is based on a 1939 Nash Ambassador – chassis, drivetrain and front clip. The cab and rear fenders/trunk area of the car is a 1938 Plymouth and has been highly modified. The builder spent a great deal of time chopping, channeling, zeeing and extending the lines of the car. The design of the Panache is unusual in that it is European in character versus the more common hot rod or sports car.
Guy Dirkin has owned the Panache since 2013 and over the past several years has restored the drivetrain, chassis and suspension/braking. Additional work has been completed to allow more leg room – a problem that has to be overcome during restoration of many of these vintage sport custom cars.
The Panache is being shown at the concours as a “survivor” which is a popular class on many concours fields of late. Restoration of the body and interior is scheduled for the near future. With the help of Dan Palatnik, our artist “in residence” who helps us envision many of our restorations, you can check out some of the different looks and potential color schemes of the Panache below.
We want to thank Vic Piano, founder of the Cigar City Concours d’Elegance, for his invitation and support. For those of you wanting to learn more about this event and Undiscovered Classic cars that will be attending, click on the following links:
So come on down – less than 30 days from today – and join us at the Cigar City Concours d’Elegance. We’ll be showing the 1949 Panache above and Brian and Sue Ford’s Glasspar G2 sports car – it’s first public showing too. And…just think of what other sport customs and specials you might have a chance to see so close to the home of Undiscovered Classics 🙂 All you have to do is ask (and maybe help move cars that Sunday back to my house *wink*
Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember…
The adventure continues here at Undiscovered Classics.