Several years back, one of the fiber-gang out there sent in a reference to the earliest fiberglass car I’ve seen built outside of the USA. I sat on the information waiting and hoping that more information would surface. But alas….nothing new has passed across “ground zero” of fiberglass research down here in Tampa, Florida. That is, until I heard from good friend Wolfgang Blaube about this car last week. More about that in a bit.
The first photo and information I reviewed on the car appeared on a German website called “Prototype.” Here’s the photo:
Here’s what it said about the car:
“VW Prototype: The prototype was designed on a Volkswagen chassis. To be more light weighted and aerodynamic the body was made of riveted aluminum and glass fiber reinforced plastic (GRP). Though, the prototype was never completed.”
The “Prototype” Website:
Click here to review their website – it’s artistically done but can be a challenge to use. Here are some points about navigation:
* Be sure to click on the car in the center of the website to move forward to their main page
* Then, in the upper right corner click the British flag to change the language to English
* You can turn the sound off at the bottom right side of the web page
* To see the 1948 VW, click on the link at the top of the page for “Time Journey”
So “yes” it is a very creative website. “No” it is not easy to use, but it’s fun and worth the time to explore.
The PostWar Classic Website:
The PostWar Classic website covered this car, and here’s what they had to say about the car and its history:
“It looks like an early Porsche, but this experimental GRP/fiberglass body was made by Volkswagen engineers, working under very difficult conditions, just three years after civilian production of the VW Type 1 started in 1945.
Glass-reinforced plastic was developed during the war as a substitute for materials like marine plywood that were in short supply. It found many applications in post-war years, particularly among low volume car and boat makers.
Companies as prestigious as Packard, Daimler and Volvo experimented with fiberglass body construction, and General Motors was one of the first large manufacturers to place a fiberglass-bodied car in production with the Corvette in 1953. This unusual car is, appropriately, part of the collection of the Prototyp Museum in Hamburg. (Story and Photo by Leigh Dorrington).”
Click here to view this story on the Postwar Classic website.
So what else did Wolfgang Blaube share in his e-mail to me about this car? Some very interesting “points” I must say. Let me share part of his e-mail to me as follows:
“Geoff….did you ever hear of the Volkswagen projects Type 60 K11 and 60 K12? Those were GRP (fiberglass) bodied Beetle prototypes built by Porsche in 1938. If you need anything about these, let me know. Wolfgang.
So we’re off again to hunt down a new story on fiberglass and VW – and this one may predate today’s story by many more years – only research will tell. But I think that’s the best part of what we offer here at Forgotten Fiberglass.
Thanks again to Wolfgang Blaube for his help with this story. And for those you wanting to learn more about Wolfgang and his passion for writing about things “automotive” here are some additional links for you to explore:
Click here to review a story (more of an adventure) he wrote about the Portuguese Barn Find in 2009/2010
Click here to review Wolfgang Blaube’s Facebook page
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
Patrick….sounds interesting. Do you have a good source on the internet showing the early Denzel? I only know of the 356 looking car from later years. Thanks! Geoff
You should take notice that the first 6 Denzel were build from fiberglass.
Denzel nr 1 was build in 1948 build on a VW kubel chassis, so that basically is a very early fiberglass car.
The latest British Top Geary spinoff, 1st episode, has James May talking about the origins of cars for the people. Part of the episode talked about the first VW Beetles from the late 1930’s and how they were made of fiberglass.