Now we’re talking!
A Sorrell SR-100 with a powerful GMC six cylinder….Kurtis 500KK chassis….flip front for easy access….who could ask for more? Not many. And I’m sure this would have been considered an idea build in all the right ways and inspired countless young men across the country to press forward with their dream of building their own fiberglass bodied sports car.
And….it’s a “magazine cover car” too. Bob Sorrell was at the top of his game when this article appeared in the Fall of 1955.
Bob’s first fiberglass body debuted in ’53 and here it was late in ’55 and he already was on the cover of a magazine. In fact, as you’ll read below, Car Craft Magazine used Bob’s work and expertise in the creation of another article – one that appeared over 3 issues of Car Craft starting in October 1955 – and we’ll feature that series of articles in the future here at Forgotten Fiberglass.
Now….onto the eye candy for the day – the Sorrell SR-100 sports car built by Dick Lane.
Go get ’em gang!
GMC Under Glass: Car Craft, October 1955
Racing Chassis, Hot Rod Power Plant and Modernistic Styling Make Up Dick Lane’s Fiberglass Sports Roadster
Photos by Bob D’Olivio
When we gathered together all of the material for the “Building a Fiberglass Car” story which starts on page 18, we decided that it would be a good idea to show just what kind of results could be obtained using a fiberglass body. Since the above mentioned story is a start to finish operation on Bob Sorrell’s body, we went to Bob and asked him where we could find a good completed car using his body.
Bob sent us over to see Richard Lane of Los Angeles and we had to admit that his car was good – in fact, it was sensational. Dick used one of Frank Kurtis’ 500 KK tubular frames with full torsion bar suspension. The 500 KK frame is, except for size, the same basic framework which has been under the winning car for the past three years at Indianapolis.
In keeping with the Indy theme, Lane used knock-off hubs, magnesium wheels and spot brakes made by Halibrand Engineering for race cars. The torque tube rear end also has a Halibrand quick-change center section with a 3.78 ring and pinion.
In the engine department, Lane took a 302 cubic inch GMC, bored it 1/8 inch and left the four inch stroke stoke so that it totaled about 320 cubic inches. A special twelve port Fisher-Horning aluminum head with large valves was bolted on and the compression checked out at 8.5:1.
Frank McGurk ground a billet cam and also took care of the piston, tubular push rod and flywheel department. Six Amal carburetors on the left side of the engine and the six chrome headers into a large collector tube on the right side give the engine an unmatched potent appearance.
Unfortunately, the engine was never dyno tested so no figures can be given but to quote Lane, “It really scares you when you get on it.” Future plans for this roadster call for competition at some of the Southern California drag strips and also a little closed course competition in sport car events.
We bet that this car will also be seen in a lot of automobile shows in the next few years. It’s a beauty.
Pictures From The Article:
There were so many pictures in the article, it was hard to squeeze them in the story, so let’s look at each below. These same pictures also appear in our photo gallery below. And now…for the pictures:
Mike and Jim Larkin were good friends with Bob Sorrell and may be able to add some of their thoughts in the comment area below. I’m sure they have some great stories about Bob and his sports cars.
And…what’s great about the Dick Lane Sorrell SR-100 is that it was recently found – in great condition – and the owner is part of our group. Hopefully we’ll get some photos of what it looks like today, and I’ll share them here with you at Forgotten Fiberglass. Should be neat!
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
Click on the Images Below to View Larger Pictures
And look at that straight six with six coils,just another way he was ahead of his time..
For photos of the restored version of this car:
Custom Auto in Colorado did a super job on this car, as they always do.
Tom in Detroit
Sorry, I jumped the gun. This is not the featured car, but a different hemi powered Sorrell-Manning Special.
To simply say the car is incredible is a gross understatement. There are so many things to like, the tilt front that takes the windscreen with it (race car style) is sensible and gets it out of the way for servicing the car, the engine details with the straight 6 is not only a neat choice but an intelligent one as well and should move the light weight car quite spiritedly, making wonderful mechanical sounds and lots of usable torque.
Using a Kurtis chassis again drawing on track experience not only makes sense but is wonderfully exotic. The engine is clearly front mid engine so the weight balance should be excellent. You can’t go wrong with Hallibrand wheels, period.
Then there is the shape, truly inspired, vintage sports racer, and street elegant. A fair weather car but then who would want to drive something like that in bad weather any way. Terrific story about an amazing automobile.