The Atlas / Allied Fiber Glass Company: America’s First Production Fiberglass Coupe Body – Brochure #1

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Note:  The next series of stories here on Forgotten Fiberglass are going to focus on the brochures and associated customer communication of the Atlas / Allied Fiber Glass Company.  We’re lucky here at Forgotten Fiberglass to have become friends with Darren and Julie Crispin whose family created the “Multiplex” line of cars back at the turn of last century and resurrected the make in the ‘50s as well (some using the Atlas / Allied body).  

In addition, we’ll be featuring some of the historic Atlas and Allied documents from Dennis and Brandon Kunicki (father and son) who have owned an Allied Sports Car since the early ‘60s, as well as materials from automotive historian and good friend Alden Jewell.

Thanks to each of these families and folks for their support of Forgotten Fiberglass!
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Hi Gang…

Most of our favorite fiberglass sports car companies of the ‘50s produced a few “factory cars”, a limited number of bodies, and then moved on to the great ‘glass of beyond.  A few notable exceptions existed in the early ‘50s including Glasspar, Woodill, and Victress – all who built more than 100 bodies (estimated) each.  However, most other companies in the early to mid ’50s produced less than 25 bodies, and perhaps a few factory cars too.  Some companies produced as few as 3-5 bodies.

It’s for these reasons – the scarcity of the cars, the short timeframe that the companies existed, and the bare-bones budget – that the “paper trail” concerning brochures and other marketing materials for these fiberglass cars and their companies is so scarce.

With time, effort, collaboration, and pure luck, we’ve been able to pull together examples of nearly all known literature, and we are always excited to share these materials from our personal collection and items from collectors and historians across the country.  For these reasons, I thank each of you who have helped us find and share these rarified materials – across all of our stories.

Today’s is the start of several stories that will focus on the materials of Atlas / Allied Fiber Glass Company.  These materials are shared from both the Crispin and Kunicki family archives in a collaborative effort to both establish and highlight information known about the Atlas / Allied fiberglass company.  Alden Jewell also provided some key materials, and great thanks goes out to each of these folks and their families for their help and support.

In addition, in the near future, we will be providing more detail and a historical narrative of the Crispin family’s own automobile manufacturing endeavor – Multiplex – from Berwick, Pennsylvania – who’s company used Atlas / Allied bodies in the production of some of their ’50s Multiplex sports and race cars.

So without adieu…. onward and upward…. and let’s talk Atlas and Allied!

Atlas / Allied’s First Known Brochure and Instruction Manual:

I’ve found 4 early sets of Allied brochures among collectors an enthusiasts.  Added to the Crispin and Kunick collections are copies owned by Alden Jewell and myself.  Across all of these collections, 4 pieces of paper emerge as being the first set of complete sales sheets, brochures, and instructions sheets sent from “The Allied Fiber Glass Company.”

All of these materials use the name “Allied Fiber-Glass Incorporated,” and none use the name “Atlas Fiber Glass.”  In our research, we still see the name “Atlas Fiber Glass” being used as late as February, 1953 (Road & Track Magazine).  It’s possible that all sales sheets were produced after this time, and so far all materials we’ve found are dated from late ’53 forward.

Let’s take a look at what we have identified as the first “Allied Sales Sheet or Brochure /Instruction Set” provided by this West Coast fiberglass company.

Thoughts On The Allied Brochures:

You’ll see as you review the materials that several pieces of information are of note:

  • They used the advertising slogan “America’s First Production Fiberglass Coupe Body” – and they were right!  Victress Manufacturing would later be the first manufacturer in the world to release their own original design for a fiberglass sports car coupe body.  This car was the C2 94″ wheelbase coupe designed by Victress Vice-President, Merrill Powell.  Congrats Merrill!
  • Three models were available varying from $585 to $785
  • The “convertible” model noted on the first page is assumed to be the 100” wheelbase model (none have ever been found or known to be built).  This 100″ convertible model had been announced as being in development in December ’52 Motor Trend Magazine.
  • The body kit was well thought-out and included grille, headlights, taillights, hinged hood, front windshield, roll-up windows, and acrylic rear window
  • You could order just one door – if you wanted.  And Stan Crawford’s Allied he is currently restoring had just that – one door.  Stan has added a second, though (which makes perfect sense).
  • Options included fiberglass dashboard, firewall, wheel wells, and mounting brackets
  • Allied was one of the few – if only manufacturer – to reinforce the body throughout with steel tubing for added strength – talk about strength and stability!

As you scan the instruction sheet discussing “mounting brackets” you’ll see that the brackets were installed – if requested – to exactly match up to the MG frame.  That’s impressive pre-planning and forethought!  Kudos to Roy Kinch, Bill Burke, and Mickey Thompson who owned this company.  Also, the small “L Mounting Brackets” are shown on the photograph at the top of the second page with annotation to the exact location of the 10 brackets across the car body (two are also at front and rear of car).

The final piece or fourth page of materials showed a crude drawing of an “Allied Swallow” with a wheel base of 9’6” (nine feet, six inches).  This is a mistake.  On a later drawings which  you’ll see in future stories, this has been corrected to 92” to 96” wheelbase showing a 12’4” overall body length – which is an exact match to this early instruction sheet.

Also discussed on the final page are more specifics in terms of what you can order – or delete from the order – as well as detailed information about a special firewall that can be ordered with your car.

Interestingly, there is no mention that you could order a frame with your car.  During interviews in 2006 and 2007 with Bill Burke, he mentioned that he would build frames if a customer wanted one.  His first frames were very light and based on Ford Model T channels – his later ones with Air Force surplus PBY tubing.  More about the building of his chassis in future stories here at Forgotten Fiberglass.

Finally, I have to reiterate what is shown in the last paragraph at the bottom of the page as in terms of detail:

“The headlights, tail lights, door lock, push button opener and window mechanism are standard automotive parts of late manufacturer and can be obtained from dealers anywhere.   The windows and windshield are made of flat safety plate glass.  The door has a window crank handle on the inside of the panel.”

Pretty sophisticated build for ’53 gang!

Instruction Manual:  How To Assemble / Build Your Allied Fiberglass Sports Car

These 4 pieces of paper were all you got in terms of instruction when you purchased your Allied fiberglass body.  But that’s not a bad start for the guys of the ‘50s – I’m sure they were off and running with their “build” as fast as they could go.

This was typical of the early fiberglass sports car companys in terms of materials.  Woodill Wildfire probably had the best set of instructions, but they were limited to just a few pages too.  We’ll feature all of these sets of instructions here at Forgotten Fiberglass in the near future.

Summary:

While their early materials did not showcase their 100” wheelbase car, that would change in the near future – as you’ll see in future stories on Allied here at Forgotten Fiberglass. 

Thanks again to the Crispin and Kunicki families as well as Alden Jewell for helping make this story possible.  And…we’ll be on a roll for a few more stories about Allied Fiberglass and the brochures and sales papers utilized to market their cars and company in the near future.

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…

Geoff
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* Click on the following link to view all stories on:  Atlas / Allied Sports Cars
* Click on the following link to view all stories on:  Multiplex Automobiles
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Comments

The Atlas / Allied Fiber Glass Company: America’s First Production Fiberglass Coupe Body – Brochure #1 — 1 Comment

  1. Hi- just discovered your website quite by accident, mentioned in an article in Sports & Exotics, I believe. Amazing! I have recently purchased an Allied “Cisitalia” body by Mickey Thompson etc. and it’s a roadster. Don’t know of any others that exist- but a friend has the coupe too.

    I would appreciate any information I could get on the car, history, etc- can share pictures if you’d like- it’s a barn find- the body put on an MGTD chassis in say ’52 then left unfinished- the body is in near perfect condition. Am aking a race car out of it, which was what it was made for.
    Thanks for any help!!
    Bob

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