The Designers

The  Designers
Who  They  Were  and  What  They  Accomplished

Design Veterans

  • Ralph Roberts and the 1951 Skorpion:  Roberts worked for Chrysler in the 1930s and 1940s and created cars and show cars such as the 1941 Chrysler Newport Dual-Cowl Phaeton
  • Phillip Egan and the 1954 Debonnaire:  Egan was one of the designers who worked on the famed 1948 Tucker Sedan.
  • Gino and Cesar Testaguzza and their LaSaetta:  Veteran Detroit designers who created their own limited run 2 seat fiberglass car in 1952 – one of the earliest built in America

Veteran Boat Designers and Builders

  • Bill Tritt and the 1951 Glasspar: Veteran boat designer and builder – builder of one of America’s first fiberglass sports cars
  • Ray Greene and the 1952 Frazen: Veteran boat designer and builder
  • Eric Irwin and the 1951 Lancer:  Veteran boat designer – builder of one of America’s first fiberglass sports cars

Fiberglass Pioneers

  • John Wills and the Skorpion:  Wills created one of the first fiberglass cars in 1951, and wrote one of the first books on building your own fiberglass sports car too – builder of one of America’s first fiberglass sports cars
  • Paul Omohundro and the Kurtis Sports Car:
  • Leslie Dawes and LaDawri:
  • Doc Boyce-Smith and the Victress S1: Hot rod builder and racer of the 1940s and graduated UCLA in 1952.  Then took a job with Lockheed for six months to learn how to build fiberglass aircraft components.  He took these skills and built the first Victress with Hugh Jorgensen.  Doc had the engineering background and Hugh Jorgensen had the artistic talent.
  • Jim Byers and the Byers 1955 SR-100:  Most prolific fiberglass designer and builder in the 50s having worked with the team at Victress, Meteor and then creating his own fiberglass sports car company.  Byers learned his fiberglass skills from Doc Boyce-Smith.
  • Hank McCormack and his 1955 McCormack:  Early fiberglass pioneer of automobiles
  • Ed Tifft and his cars:  1953 Meteor SR-1 (2), 1953 Manning Special, 1958 LeMans Coupe


  • Ed Almquist and the 1955 Almquist: Engineer and creator of one of America’s first speed shops for parts and performance enhancement
  • Stirling Gladwin and his 1952 Maverick Sportster: Engineer and business entrepreneur
  • Bill Grantham and the 1953 Grantham Stardust:  Engineer and holder of over 100 USA patents
  • Bob Sorrell and the 1953 SR-100: Engineer
  • Dick Jones and the 1953 Meteor SR-1: Engineer
  • Frank Hinger and the 1954 Chicagoan: Engineer and business entrepreneur
  • Frank Kurtis and his 1955 Kurtis KK-500 sports car:  Famed Indy 500 car designer who later went on to build a limited run of aluminum and fiberglass sports cars throughout the 1950s.
  • Chuck Manning and his Manning Special:


  • Chris Bohman (son of Maurice Bohman):  Designed and built 4 sports cars – one for the movie Johnny Dark
  • Jerry Sutton
  • Hegemann
  • Vonn
  • Dietrich – Timbs Streamliner (get coachbuilder article from 50s)


  • Vale Wright and his 1953 Vale Sports Car:
  • Carl Luckenbach and his 1954 Luckenbach Special:

Record Land Speed Record Holders

  • Bill Burke and the 1952 Allied Swallow: Land speed record holder in the 1940s thru the 1960s
  • Denny Larsen:

Artist / Sculptor

  • John Bucci and his Porsche Trieste: Bucci was an Italian artist who came to America and built a futuristic car for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.  He then went on to build other “one of one” cars including a Porsche based sports car, a futuristic RV as well as sculptures, paintings, home design and more.
  • Henry Covington and his 1961 Porsche Tiburon:  Noted industrial designer who successfully designed watches, flatware and other household items.  Worked with famed aerodynamist Augustus Raspet to create one of the most streamlined cars in the world.

Automobile Dealer Owner, Promoter and Master Publicist

  • B.R. Woodill and the 1953 Woodill Wildfire: Successful car dealer who took an opportunity to build a fiberglass sports car and made it the most famous car of its era starring in several movies and other promotional tv shows
  • Kjell Qvale and the 1952 BMC Singer: He created one of the first west coast foreign car sports car dealerships and went on to expand his offerings several fold including building a sports car in his own name several decades later

Designer, Talent Agent and Executive Producer (Movies)

  • Noel (Marshall) Bangert and the 1955 Manta Ray:  He designed and built 3 cars in the 50s which were offered to the public as complete cars or bodies.  In the 1960s he became a successful Hollywood talent scout and married actress Tippi Hedren known best for the Hitchcock film “The Birds.”  Marshall/Bangert is best known as the Executive Producer of the 1970s hit horror film “The Exorcist.”

Business Entrepreneurs

  • Wally and Harry Hansen and their 1955 Cobra:  Later founded Angeles Steel Company in California – still operating today.