As we continue the “march” of our specials…how ‘bout one that appeared in April 1955 Road & Track? Namely, the Glasspar Ascot. We’ve seen this car before. It first appeared on the streets in the February 1955 issue of Motor Trend. Click here to review that story.
Glasspar’s New “Ascot” (Road & Track, April 1955)
The Latest Model From A Pioneering Fiberglass Firm
Photographs by Rolofson
Nearly everyone has his own ideas about what he would like in a sports car :
- some want them larger
- some want super-streamlining
- some want a complete enclosure
- some like being exposed to the elements
- some demand a foreign-made engine
- and some prefer a domestic powerplant
The Glasspar Company, of Costa Mesa, California, pioneers in the construction of fiberglass bodies for boats and cars, have listened to a lot of opinions on the subject during their last four years of experience in the field, and their second model available this spring represents something of a new approach for the firm.
The body of the “Ascot”, as the car is to be called, requires a 94 inch wheelbase with a tread of about 50 inches. Styled on rather classic lines, it departs even further from the Mark I body in that it is composed of a number of separate panels instead of being in one piece.
The panels are held together with nuts, bolts, and lock washers, a type of construction offering the obvious advantage of facilitating repair of damaged sections.
Shown here is the prototype car, which utilizes a special frame with many Studebaker components. Ultimately Glasspar plans to use their own suspension and a domestic engine of about 170 cubic inches (such as the Willys F-head) for class D competition, and all parts are to be U.S. made.
Final plans for merchandising have not yet been completed, but Glasspar anticipates selling the car, complete with cloth top and roll-up windows, directly from the factory to the buyer. In this way, it is hoped the price can be kept “just under $2500”, and with a wet weight of only 1750 pounds, the power-to-weight ratio should be favorable enough to make the “Ascot” a sports car to watch for this summer.
The Ascot was a beautiful car, but was destined to fail – for all the wrong reasons.
During interviews with Bill Tritt several years ago, he shared with me that when the car was finished and promotion began – he took a vacation with his family. And when he returned, the Board of Directors had scrapped the mold, destroyed cars in the process of being built, and ended all future dreams of Glasspar building cars. And that story – along with Bill Tritt’s recollections – is for another day.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
Click on the Images Below to View Larger Pictures
I once owned a vehicle that was identical to the Ascot only it was metal. I owned it for about 15 yrs sold it in the mid eighties and have been looking for it ever since. It’s title name was Hemshaw Special registered as 1954 I knew about t the fiberglass Ascot so I always figured mine was the prototype And know it came from CA and made it to the East coast in the late fifties I have many pictures and would love to share them with you plus more of my knowledge of the cars history You can get in touch with me at email@example.com
At least one “Ascot” survives in finished condition. It is the car I am most proud to own at this time. I showed it last summer( June 2018) at the Petit Jean Arkansas car show. Some of the information
I have indicates they made five bodies,but only assembled one maybe two cars. Mine shows to be serial # one. The car is mostly in it’s original configuration except for being modified with a roll bar for racing. I would like to hear from anyone who has other information or knows the location of the
unfinished cars. Thanks! Clifton Hill firstname.lastname@example.org 405-214 8812
I’m wondering if any “Ascots” survived ? I owned and drove what seems to be the steel prototype. It was registered as a 1954 “Hemshaw Special”. I owned it from the mid 60’s thru the mid 70’s. At the time I tried to research its history and could only discern it was built in Ca. Its been lost for over 40 years, but I can’t believe someone would have crushed it. Welcome any/all info, thanks Bob Kraus
WOW,I wonder what the board of directors where thinking ????
beautiful car, great story, til i got to…
And when he returned, the Board of Directors had scrapped the mold, destroyed cars in the process of being built, and ended all future dreams of Glasspar building cars.
Hope you enjoyed the story,
feel like i did the first time i saw ‘old yellar’. real punch in the gut!
what’s opposite of LOL? CIMP? crying in my pillow?
thanks again, geoff.