Sports Car Illustrated started out with their first issue in July of ’55 and met with great success. One year later they released a special edition (one issue only) titled “International Auto Salon.” While I’m still researching if they published something of an “annual edition” in ’57, the answer is clear from ’58 thru ’61. In these 4 years they published an annual “Sports Car Illustrated Directory.”
In the first issue of this Directory published in ’58, they included a 4 page detailed overview of the fiberglass sports car bodies you could purchase and build yourself. Today’s story focuses on the 10 fiberglass sports car companies they reviewed in this section. As you review this article, there are several interesting points to note about each of the companies discussed:
- Almquist was on the verge of producing more than two body designs and may have already been offering additional wheelbase options.
- Darrin: Howard Dutch Darrin was apparently still selling some of the ’54 Kaiser Darrin sports cars from his Santa Monica location – later than I would have thought. They also correctly identified his latest model – the Flintridge DKW Darrin Sports Car. Interestingly, they refer to the DKW as a “six passenger body.” It’s a rather small car gang.
- Devin is nicely reviewed with excellent detail.
- Glasspar: By ’58 they were not offering cars or bodies at all, and they correctly note that the Ascot is no longer available. From what I can tell they are identifying what a used body shell would cost – and some of the accessories. It’s a stretch, though, since by ’57 all car-related production was shut down at Glasspar.
- McCormack has a new twist. Apparently you could order a body from Hank McCormack or you could rent the molds from him. Unless you really knew what you were doing, you could ruin the molds in just a few hours. Henry McCormack was one brave entrepreneur!
- Meteor information was right on track and you could buy fully built cars too. Dick Jones only built a few complete cars and just for himself.
- Sorrell information shows two models including his SR-190 Coupe – we’ve never found a 190 coupe – what fun that will be if it surfaces some day gang!
- Sports Car Engineering was the second company owned by Bud Goodwin who later created the Fiberfab company. The “Spyder” was his name for a car he previous sold called the “Mistral” from the UK.
- I love how they present Victress as “one of the most active and aggressive American auto body firms.” Quite a testimony to the guys at Victress including Doc Boyce-Smith, Merrill Powell, and Bill Quirk. In the article they incorrectly identify the C-3 Coupe as the C-6 Coupe.
- Interestingly they review the Wildfire that originally debuted in late ’52. This was a nice car but with an older styling from ’53 forward, it would have lost its popularity. Now in ’58 they were offering a “Wildfire Midget” car – later called a “Brushfire.” How fun that would be to find one gang!
In April ’61, Sports Car Illustrated began using their new name – one familiar to each of you – “Car and Driver.” The rest is magazine history.
In the near future, we’ll review the ads published by the fiberglass companies in each of these 4 directories from ’58 thru ’61. It’s always fun to see how the cars were marketed, so get ready for more fun here at Forgotten Fiberglass!
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…