Sports Cars Illustrated published annual “Directories” from 1958 thru 1961. In the summer of 1961, they changed their name to “Car and Driver” and ceased publication of annual directories from that point forward. But the “Directories” spanning 4 years are an interesting glimpse into the world of building your own fiberglass sports car.
Today’s story focuses on the ads for the companies that were in each of these magazines. The front cover and all ads that appeared for fiberglass sports car body companies appear below – separated by year. In addition, we present the one-page overview of plastic bodies that appeared in the 1959 issue.
In the 1958 issue, Sports Cars Illustrated dedicated 4 pages to this section and included pictures. In 1959 only one page was used, and just 4 companies shown. Missing were successful companies such as LaDawri and Kellison. Perhaps if you paid for advertising – they covered you – but the reason for such small coverage may be lost to time.
Or is it?
Here’s how many pages each of the directories dedicated to plastic bodies for building a sports car:
- 1958: 4 pages – 4 ads published: Devin, Sports Car Engineering, Almquist, Victress
- 1959: 1 page – 2 ads published: Alken, Devin
- 1960: 0 pages – 2 ads published: Victress, Kellison
- 1961: 0 pages – 0 ads published: 3 spaces were dedicated to Bocar specifications
I raise this point because what I believe what we are we’re seeing here is where the attention of the public was heading. Magazines often do NOT create the trends – they “mirror” them. By 1960 forward, buying your own sports car was a very feasible enterprise – especially if you bought one used. You could even affordably purchase a used Ferrari from the early to mid ‘50s.
So why build your own sports car?
The late 1950’s was the “swan song” for building your fiberglass car from scratch, and companies like Devin, Kellison, LaDawri, and Bocar were making the task of doing so much easier – if you were still one of the determined few.
So let’s have a look – year by year – of the ads from the annual “Directories” of Sports Cars Illustrated. And as you review the ads below, check out the prices of the Bocar Stiletto, XP-5, XP-7, and Devin as they appeared in the ’61 issue. Breathtaking….
Off we go!
1958 Sports Cars Illustrated Directory Cover and Ads
1959 Sports Cars Illustrated Directory Cover and Ads
1960 Sports Cars Illustrated Directory Cover and Ads
1961 Sports Cars Illustrated Directory Cover and Ads
In today’s story we see how the emphasis of building your own sports car changed over 4 years of Sports Cars Illustrated Annual Directories. These cars – once stars of their era – began to be considered the “Forgotten Fiberglass” cars as the ’60s rolled forward.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
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