The Grantham Stardust is one of my all-time favorite American Boulevard Cruisers. After the Covington Tiburon, the Stardust was the second fiberglass car I ever acquired – and that was with the help of my new fiberglass friend at the time – Jon Greuel. What an adventure that was back in the good ‘ole days of 2006. You’re right – not that long ago.
The Stardust is a big car – it sits on a 110” wheelbase and is as long and luxiorious looking as a Boulevard Cruiser could be. It’s only outdistanced by the size of the Victress S4 (and its knockoffs), and the Maverick Sportster. Perhaps throw in a few Navajos and Gazelles too – which have a longer wheelbase than the standard 100” back in the day – but there aren’t many longer than the Stardust. One long, low, cruiser…
In researching the Stardust, I’ve had quite a bit of help. Both from the Grantham family and from Jeri Clark – who worked at Gene Schneider Plastics and produced the Stardust bodies. The full history of this car and it’s later fame is now known, and we’ll be writing about this car time and time again here at Forgotten Fiberglass.
Today’s story focuses on one of the several brochures they produced – this one from 1953. Their slogan on the brochure was “Pioneers in Advanced Custom Styling.” And I love how they characterized the styling of their car. Here’s a part of what’s written in the brochure below:
“Advanced Styling: The public finally got tired of the big clumsy Detroit car that resembled a bath tub turned upside down on wheels, and for several years it has been ordering the small foreign cars for performance and pleasure. Now we give you something better: foreign lines with an American chassis; comfort, pleasure and economy. Drive these cars anywhere in the county, and mechanics in any small town can service them.”
Sounds pretty exciting and smart to me gang. Let’s have a look inside the brochure. And while you’re reviewing the brochure, click on the small black triangle below and listen to “Stardust” – a song written by and made famous by Hoagy Carmichael:
1953 Grantham Stardust Brochure: Folded 4 Page Brochure With Insert
Brochure Insert Card/Paper:
Some of the brochures printed at the time contained the following insert for purchasing a car – not a kit. Remember…all fiberglass sports car companies back then built a few or many factory cars – along with the kits – which were the volume of their sales.
I’m not the only one who noticed the Stardust back in the day.
It was picked up for the 1954 movie “Johnny Dark” and played a leading role as the “Tomahawk” sports car driven by Indianapolis Race Car Driver Louis Tomei. If you’ve seen the movie “Johnny Dark” …the Stardust is the largest race car that appears. And it didn’t do too bad in the movie either. A definitely fun 90 minutes on the screen. If you need a copy of the movie, let me know. Thanks to good friend and Victress aficionado Alan Emory, I can help.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
Click on the Images Below to View Larger Pictures
Really happy to see this reposted. Been collecting parts Stuff etc. Still chasing the Dream. Dad and I have bought a 1953 Mercury 150 hp Flathead with a Hydromatic Transmission
Talked to a lot of your followers at Hershey PA. We wish you the best. Clyde’s. Thanks
Good to see the Stardust article. The Petty’s are still gathering parts and looking for info about the car they have owned 45+ years. Went to Hershey this year , picked up some good stuff and are in the process of starting the project fall 2012. Looking for the history that has come with this car from other Stardust owners or Racers of this time frame. Car was used as a race car for Fireball Roberts in the early 50’s [Road racer, hemi motor] We removed all the paint about 40 years ago. Didn’t think it was important at that time, just a neat old car. Thanks to Mr Hacker for all his help on this long term project. Any info or history/ pictures on this or others built would help. They just didn’t build too many 13. Contact e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 309-472-2001 Thanks for any help. Clyde Petty/Clyde Petty jr