Why Buy An Undiscovered Classics Car?
It’s All About The Dream
- Who built it and how
- Who designed it
- These cars epitomized later American sports car design
- Achievements in design/styling at Motoramas across America
- Success at racing such as 1953 Guy Mabee 1953 Allied Swallow coupe Bonneville Glasspar and Wildfires and Allied, drag cars allied glasspar and wildfires, drag racing Byers, Meteor on one race course, Edwards fiberglass race car with Chrysler, many Glasspar race cars in 1952, one LaDawri conquest in 1960s?, many Devin race cars / moonbeam, Kellison ? Bocar? Not much in the 1960s – more of a 1950s racing phenomenon
“Undiscovered Classics” represents an era where taking your dream and making it a reality was possible. It’s the idea that more than 60 years after these cars were inspired, designed and built, we can share the previously untold story of the individuals who conceived these cars, took their passion, put pen to paper, plaster to forms, fiberglass to shapes and created a car. Here at Undiscovered Classics we celebrate their dream, how they did it and the beauty of what they created. And remarkably, this is just one part of the story.
Original Sports Car Designs Emerge in Europe and America
The postwar era of the 40s and 50s brought forth some of the most creative automobile designs the world has ever seen. In America cars were becoming more stylish, glamorous and in some cases outrageous while over in Europe some of the most beautiful sports car designs were being turned out in Italy, Germany, Spain, France and England. It was the small entrepreneur in America who was inspired by these foreign designs and wanted to make their own designs here in America – a combination of European styling elements and pure American design. And throughout the 40s, 50s and early 60s, original sports car designs abounded across America.
California’s “Little Detroit”
And while original sports car designs were being hammered out in aluminum in Europe, Americans were building their cars not just from steel and aluminum but predominantly the new wonder material – fiberglass – the “carbon-fiber” of its day. Back then, people would flock to car shows to see fiberglass bodied sports cars. These cars garnered attention and accolades much like their carbon-fiber counterparts of today. In America, the companies creating original sports car designs out of the new “wonder-material” were celebrated in magazines, newspapers and car shows everywhere. And so many of these new sports car designs were being built in southern California that the press began to refer to this part of the country as “California’s Little Detroit.”
Designers Later Success and Fame
The designers of these original bodies were impressive people. Some came to the table with impressive careers in place. Others went on to significant achievements in the automotive field. Still others went on to build impressive businesses or achieve creative accolades from the own field. The skills, talents and later accomplishments of these individuals helps to better understand why the design and styling of many of these cars were so good. Click here to learn more about the designers, their cars and their careers.
Land Speed Record Achievements
- Victress 201 mph
- Allied Swallow: 167 mph
The Art Center School of Design
Given that the majority of the original sports car designs came from southern California, it makes sense that a large number of the builders and designers were students at the famed Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles, California (now Pasadena, California). At the time, this was the center of automobile design in America, and designers would travel from all parts of the globe to learn from their instructors. Students highlighted in the list below created their own designs and cars and most went on to significant careers in the automotive world:
- Hugh Jorgensen and the Victress S1A and S4 roadsters
- Chuck Pelly worked for Victress and designed quarter-midget race cars. He later designed the Revenlow Scarab race car
- Ed Monegan took Strother MacMinn’s LeMans Coupe design and with his team members made this car a reality
- Ray Cannara was a Fisher Body Guild winner and created his own car design in the 1960s – now recognized as one of the first wedge cars at the beginning of the wedge sports car movement in America. The car he designed and built is called the “Cannara I”.
- Ken Eberts designed, built and drove his own sports car – the Ocelot
- Jim Webb designed, built and drove his own sports car – the Savage (later called the Centurion)
- Kerne Erickson designed, built and drove his own sports car – the Erickson GT
- Barry Malone – need more information
- Merrill Powell designed and built the Victress C2 and C3 coupe
- Stewart Reed – Meyers SR Manx
American Sports Car Design Expectations Take Shape
It was in the early 50s that expectations of American sports cars began to take root. America is known for the Corvette, Thunderbird and Kaiser Darrin, but few know that over 50 small companies were producing sports cars and “build your own” bodies in the postwar era before the Corvette was available in 1953. While exceedingly rare, a small number of these cars have survived over the years and it’s these cars and their stories that Undiscovered Classics seeks out, saves, restores and celebrates.
The common characteristics in all handcrafted American sports cars of the 1950s were:
- Substantial horsepower
- Simplicity in design
These three elements – consistent in each of the handbuilt sports cars of the era – is what makes American sports cars – “American.” What we know celebrate as the American sports car of the 1960s (Cobras, Cheetahs, GT40s and more) started with the fiberglass sports car designs and “builds” of the 1950s.
Undiscovered Classics and You
We take the story of each of the cars – many which were “one of one” designs – and weave it back into the threads of automotive history. We’re not just restoring a car. We’re taking someone’s long-lost dream and bringing it forth a second time to a brand new audience. And this time the world is waiting for the car and the story to emerge. You can now do this, too.
Here at Undiscovered Classics, we’ve paved the way for you to buy one of these cars, restore it and show it to an enthusiastic crowd which will celebrate the car and its story. Undiscovered Classic cars are now embraced across the world at the best concours, exhibitions, museums, rallys, tv shows and magazines that the automotive industry can offer. No matter where you go, you’ll be the rock star on the field – a true “one of one.”
For all the reasons above and more, we want you to be a part of what we now call “The Greatest American Car Story Never Told.” Buy and restore your first Undiscovered Classic car and you’ll be able to share your story for the very first time with the world.
Geoffrey R. Hacker, Ph.D.