Recent Quote About Undiscovered Classics:
Geoff Hacker and his crew are indeed scholars who embark on perilous adventures to obtain rare artifacts. Literally. I’ve seen them in action. They’re obsessive and not afraid to get dirty digging. And, by making the liberated treasures universally accessible on the web, it’s like they have given anyone who’s interested a virtual key and detailed map to the implausibly giant warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant was stored.
Dan Post, President Duarte, Inc.
A lot has happened in the last 18 months – and more is planned as we move forward with a new name, look and presence for automotive enthusiasts worldwide. First things first – let’s review some of the changes:
A New Name: Undiscovered Classics
When we started Forgotten Fiberglass in 2006, it was singularly focused on handcrafted fiberglass cars built in America. We concentrated on fiberglass because that was our initial interest – based on the explosion of individual and small fiberglass sports car companies in the early to mid 1950s. But things quickly changed for us.
While most of the cars we found, studied, and researched were fiberglass – not all were. Our research revealed many steel and aluminum bodied one-off sports cars built by individuals or small companies. Working in steel or aluminum took both artistic and technical skill, but wartime and postwar skills were abundant and people were eager to try their hands in design and fabrication.
This was particularly apparent when our focus expanded to the earlier Sport Custom category (late 1930s thru the 1950s) which were mostly built from steel or aluminum. But it didn’t stop there. Around 2008 we expanded once again and ended up working with 90 year old Bill Burke in re-creating his handcrafted 1946 Belly Tank Streamliner. Then we moved forward again and focused on researching 1930’s handbuilt streamliners such as the 1937 Gougeon Streamliner.
All of this didn’t fit into Forgotten Fiberglass so we expanded our websites to those for Sport Customs and Belly Tanks/Streamliners. These focused on separate stories and discussions from Forgotten Fiberglass. We also created supporting Facebook and Twitter feeds, and continued to expand these sites with research, study, restorations, stories and more through 2015.
Consolidation of Websites & More:
Since 2015, much has become apparent. While we still felt strongly about the focus on American handcrafted cars of various design, the span of these stories across websites and more had to change. There were too many different aspects of what we were doing to manage various websites and other social media channels.
What we didn’t know was the answer was right at hand. We had created the business entity Undiscovered Classics early on in our history to allow us to “hold” all various aspects of what we were doing under one name. And so early in 2017 we made our decision – one website, one Facebook feed, one social media channel – all under the newly brought forth name of Undiscovered Classics.
Our interest and discussion/promotion of all other items such as Forgotten Fiberglass, Sport Customs, Belly Tanks, Streamliners and more would continue but fall into “categories” under the brand Undiscovered Classics.
Name changes are great – companies do them all the time. Backing it up by meaningful changes and expansion is an entirely different story, and we have not been idle these past 18 months. Let’s review some of what we are doing and sharing with the public.
- Books: In the last few years we created books on specific cars such as the 1947 Kurtis Omohundo and the 1950 Leo Lyons Custom Mercury. While we printed and sold (out) a limited number of each book, you can still view the online flipping book versions of both books here. Click on each image below to open the book:
We are now working on several new books that will feature the story and history individual companies and cars such as MAMECO, Byers, Victress, Glasspar, Wildfire, Allied, Debonnaire and more. Look for these to begin to roll out soon.
Restorations: We are deep into restoration of cars of our own as well as cars owned by our clients. These restorations are now being covered in our website, on our Facebook page and in print with magazines. Some of the cars that will be completed soon and will debut include the 1952 Voodoo Gardner, 1955 Siebler Special, one of the Woodill Wildfire from the movie Johnny Dark, M.A. Adams Meteor SR-1, a Debonnaire designed by one of the Tucker design team, the SWM Gordini race car, the 1959 Cheetah “Moon” Transporter and more.
Car Bodies: We now have molds for six cars of the 1950s and 1960s that have not been available for 50+ years. Our plans are to release these one at a time, and we’ve already started. Our first body/car was announced last week (9/24/18) to the public. It is the 1957 Byers SR100 sports car body with multiple options available with each body purchased. Click Here To Learn More. A limited number of bodies will be produced each year.
Completed Sports Cars: Customers can also purchase a fully-built Byers SR100 sports car and design it the way they want. Our first such sports car is being built for a client of ours now and progress has been shared via our Facebook page for Undiscovered Classics. This car should be finished before the end of 2018.
Fiberglass Parts: Hood, trunks, doors, hardtops and more. We can now produce a great number of parts for cars of the 50s including hoods and trunks for LaDawri, Victress, Wildfire and more. We also produce hardtops for Glasspar G2, Wildfire, LaDawri and others.
Recent acquisitions that have – and will – spark worldwide interest include:
1937 Long Wheelbase Cord Phaeton – with the help of Karl Ludvigsen we have tracked the history of this car back to the early 1950s. This car was built at a very high level – perhaps during the War years and was stretched using a second Cord supercharged body 15 inches at the cowl. Was this coachbuilt? Research will help answer this question
1950 DM Nacional Sedanca de Ville – This was a product of Mexico’s only coachbuilt car company which existed in the later 1940s through the early 1950s. Just 5 distinct cars were built and this is the only known DM Nacional example to exist.
— More one-off and limited production handcrafted cars are arriving each month here at Undiscovered Classics —
A New Undiscovered Classics Store
We have worked with Hemmings Motor News to create the first automotive store designed to focus solely on American Handcrafted cars. You can visit this store by clicking on Cars For Sale at the top of our Undiscovered Classics website or click on the image below to visit our store.
During the past several years, we have worked to explore partnerships on the acquisition and restoration of some of our most special cars. The goal of these partnerships is to both share costs and time with the restoration, and leverage what we do best in terms of finding, restoring and showing these rare cars. Once finished, we share the debut of the car at shows, events, and the media and the partnership continues through the final sale. Our current partnerships include the following cars in restoration:
1949 Sunflower State Speedster
If you are interested in exploring a partnership for one of our limited production handcrafted cars, please contact us here at Undiscovered Classics. We have many one-off handcrafted show and concept cars – and even a few Motorama Show Cars that you might find interesting and beneficial to partner with us. We’ve even used partnerships in creating two of the molds we’ve made for rare sports car bodies – it can be an exciting aspect of the business to be a part of. We can make our current partners and affiliates available for discussion as needed.
Undiscovered Classic Affiliates
In the past several years, we have continued to expand the folks and organizations we work with. Most recently, we are affiliated with four local restoration groups that help both ourselves and our clients with the restoration of vintage sports cars and other handcrafted and rare production vehicles. These include:
- Ralph Smith Restorations (Proprietor: Ralph Smith): Valrico, Florida
- JR’s Speed Shop (Proprietors: John Pascucci, Pete Kenny, Cade Kenny): Venice, Florida
- Dave Warner Service (Proprietor: Dave Warner): Tampa, Florida
Each of these shops have past and current clients of ours and these clients can be made available for discussion as needed.
We also work with Vintage Motors of Sarasota (Proprietor: Martin Godbey) in helping showcase some of our cars in their museum (Sarasota Classic Car Museum) such as our Covington Sharks, Gougeon Streamliner, Bangert Manta Ray, Bill Burke Tribute Belly Tank, and other recent restorations and acquisitions. The folks at Vintage Motors of Sarasota also help us and our clients sell some of our rarest sports cars to a worldwide audience – part of their expertise for over 30 years.
We work with two upholstery shops that provide great service to ourselves and our clients:
- Tom Cook: Based in Weeki Wachi, Florida, Tom and his business partner Sal Puma created the tuck and roll interior for our 1950 Leo Lyons Custom Mercury which Debuted at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. They have also upholstered our Bangert Manta Ray and are working on cars for our clients which include Victress roadsters and Kaiser Dragons.
- Tom Jaudon – Based in Tampa, Florida, Tom continues to impress us having first completed our 1962 Shark Roadster for the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Tom has also upholstered our Meteor SR1, 1955 Californian Sports Special, 1955 Woodill Wildfire and other cars for our clients too.
There are two CNC Machine Shops that we have worked with for many years. Ak-U-Tec in Clearwater, Florida and QTM Inc., in Oldsmar, Florida. Both have created exactly what we need for ourselves or customers time and time again and their work has been seen at both the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
Aluminum Foundry Work: We work with two foundries to reproduce a number of parts for our cars. These parts include Victress hinges for hood and doors, windshield posts for Glasspar, Wildfire and Victress and more. West Coast Castings is located in Bradenton, Florida and Mystic River Foundry is located in Mystic River, Connecticut.
Our most recent addition to our Undiscovered Classics Affiliates is Abington Spares (Proprietors Martin Cooke, Ed Cooke) based in Deep River Connecticut. We are in the planning stage of collaborating on an Allied Swallow MG based sports cars built and offered exclusively from their Connecticut location. We’ll share more about this new project in the near future.
Writing Partners – Hemmings, Old Cars Weekly, RCN Magazine
We’ve always been honored to work with a variety of domestic and international magazines that feature our work and the history of American handcrafted cars. We will be rolling out monthly stories with some familiar names and some new names which include the following:
Hemming Motor News: We’ve always been honored by the team at Hemmings Motor News which has covered us from nearly our inception. Dan Strohl, Hemmings Web Editor, has championed our research since 2006 and we are excited to continue sharing stories with Hemmings as we move forward.
Old Cars Weekly: Angelo Van Bogart, Editor Old Cars Weekly, has showcased much of our research and stories over the past many years. We now are writing a column titled “Undiscovered Classics” for Old Cars Weekly and greatly appreciate Angelo’s support.
RCN Magazine: We have Dean Larson, Digital Editor of “ReinCARnation” or “RCN Magazine” to thank for bringing us on recently and sharing our work with RCN’s readers. Our column is titled “Forgotten Fiberglass” and our first story debuted in September, 2018.
Custom Car Design & Development: 1954 Kaiser “Tahitian Dragon”
Introducing…..the Tahitian Dragon. This has been a project we’ve been working on for several years with three terrific Undiscovered Classics contributors – Raffi Minasian, Dan Palatnik and Rollie Langston. This is the first of several planned 1954 Kaiser customs that are in the works. We’re pleased to say that work on the first Tahitian Dragon has already begun. More about this special car in future posts here at Undiscovered Classics.
Artistry by Dan Palatnik
We’ve been working with Dan Palatnik of Rio d Janeiro, Brazil to create beautiful artwork of all of our cars for approximately 15 years, and we look forward to our continued work with him and his team. Dan is creating an entire portfolio of Undiscovered Classics cars for use in our upcoming books. The end result will be a tribute to the talents of both the car designers and Dan Palatnik’s design acumen. We also use Dan’s work to guide restoration on each of our cars and our client’s cars as well. Using custom designed renderings on our cars allows us to “test” different looks and options with our clients and our restoration teams before implementing them. Great thanks to Dan for being part of our team.
Below are some of the cars he’s modeled in 3D for us. These include a 1953 Glasspar G2, 1954 Chicagoan Lightning, 1952 Voodoo Gardner, 1955 Siebler Special and a 1958 Alken Speedster. Can you match the cars to their marques?
Model Car Expansion – 1/43 Scale
Victress and Glasspar and Kurtis – oh my. Add to that the Leo Lyons Custom Mercury, the Cheetah “Moon” transporter and even more. Yes we’ve been busy working with three different companies to produce a wide array models focused on American handcrafted cars of the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s.
Sizes start in 1/43 scale and get larger from there. Our favorite – the 1/32 Cheetah Transporter ready to race on the slot car track against its arch nemesis – the Mercedes Transporter. Check out some of these models in the photos below. And “yes” more models of different American handcrafted cars are being released to the public soon.
Research Into Automotive Magazine Postwar History
More than 10 years ago we led a project that spanned the country and combined the indexes and archives of research libraries and prominent automotive magazine collectors across the country. Our focus was to establish the most comprehensive list of postwar automotive magazines from 1946 to 1960 – and we did just that.
This period (1946-1960) experienced explosive growth in automotive magazines – nothing like which has been seen since. When searching for documentation and history on Undiscovered Classics which we focus on, it’s the rare magazines that often hold the key to the history of a “mystery” car or two.
The result of our efforts was called “VAMI” – The Vintage Automotive Magazine Index. We continue our search to this day and share the results of our finds on our Undiscovered Classics website. Others such as Joel Driskill share our passion for this history and most recently Richard Carroll shared his project with us too:
So stay tuned and if you enjoy history and research – Undiscovered Classics will be one of your favorite places to visit.
Our Own Dedicated Touring Van – The Ferber!
Ok….it may not be there yet but we’ve had a team working on this vehicle – the Ferber – for over two years. And they’re still going strong. The Ferber Motor Coach company produced the most expensive coach / motor home during their tenure which was 1968 through 1975. Each was custom built to the owner’s specifications and took nearly six months to complete
At a time when fiberglass was the chosen material for motor homes, Ferber built each using 1/8 inch plate aluminum. They advertised the Ferber as the safest motor home on the road. Their tagline was “Ferber….The Aristocrat of Motor Homes” with most of their vehicles costing between $20,000 and $30,000 to build (remember this was the early 1970s). During their history, the Ferber Motor Coach company built approximately 10 motor homes of which just two are known to exist today.
When the restoration is complete, we are planning to use our Ferber as a dedicated truck for transporting our show cars and other projects via trailer across the southeast USA. Rollie Langston, an early Undiscovered Classics supporter, has strongly suggested that we badge our Ferber with the following moniker on both sides:
Undiscovered Classics & Forgotten Fiberglass
Mobile Command Center
And Don’t Forget Our 1959 Cheetah “Moon” Transporter
With the help of Hemmings Motor News, we recently announced that our 1959 Cheetah “Moon” Transporter has entered restoration at one of our Undiscovered Classics affiliate restoration shops – JR’s Speed Shop in Venice, Florida. We will be reporting on its progress in upcoming stories in Hemmings and on Undiscovered Classics.
What an attention getter this great piece of racing history will be when its back on the road again and heading to shows and races. Vrooommmm!
It Takes A Team:
We have many people to thank for their support, contributions and hard work in helping us reach the point where we are now with Undiscovered Classics. These are some of the individuals who helped us grow throughout the years and there are many others out there who have contributed quietly – or anonymously. A great thanks to all of these folks who are on the list and beyond – Undiscovered Classics will always be a team effort.
The list below is ordered by last name alphabetically:
- Randy Abernathy
- Ron Baldwin
- Phil “Phoon” Barry
- Bill Bicknell
- Nate Bowne
- Mark Brinker
- Pete and Nick Bujnowski
- Scot Carr
- Bob Cunningham
- Guy Dirkin – Supreme Strategist
- Joel Driskill
- Jack Farr
- Kyle Feller
- Van Fenstermaker
- Phil Fleming – Supreme Strategist
- Art Flores
- Brian Ford
- Stan and Ann Fowler
- Marshall Foxworthy
- Dennis Gerdes
- Martin Godbey
- Ken Gross
- Jon Gruel
- Susan Gunn
- Ruth Hacker
- Ray Hansil
- Alden Jewell
- Craig Johnson
- Dennis Kazmerowski
- Ted Kempgens
- Nancy Kent
- Tom Kubinec
- Brandon Kunicki
- Rollie Langston – Supreme Strategist
- Peter McKercher
- Raffi Minasian – Sage and scholar
- Tim Masters
- Jon Phillips
- Jean Poirier
- Merrill and Gerianne Powell – Guide and Inspiration
- Jim and Leanne Robinson
- Paul Sable – Fellow Traveler
- Erich Schultz – Historian, Artisan, Poet
- Jim Simpson – Designer extraordinaire
So let me be the first to welcome you to the newly structured and designed Undiscovered Classics. We’ve accomplished much in the past under the rubric of Forgotten Fiberglass and more, but we’re poised to bring greater variety and a wider array of products and information as Undiscovered Classics. And a more amazing experience understanding, learning about and celebrating the history of handcrafted cars from America and beyond.
The Adventure Continues…