You may remember last fall when we shared a 3-part story on the building of a Woodill Wildfire in 1955 by the father-son team of Ed and Phil Cox:
I’m pleased to say that this 3 part story has now been annotated with additional information and is available in book form on our website. And best of all, it’s free 🙂
Let me first share part of the background of this story taken from an interview this year with Phil Cox – Woodill Wildfire Employee From 1956-1957. Then, at the bottom of today’s story is a link so you can review this story in book form on the web or…download it as a Adobe PDF file to your computer and review it at your leisure.
And off we go 🙂
BACKGROUND FROM PHIL COX INTERVIEW: FEBRUARY, 2015
At the time of this photo shoot in 1955, Ed and Phil Cox were well on their way to completing their first Wildfire—a sports car that was being built and kept by Ed Cox (Phil’s father). Ed had originally seen some of these being built at the Post Body Works in Orange, California and fell in love with the sports car. Soon thereafter when Woody started his operations in Downey, California Ed purchased a kit including a frame to build his car.
And…although the last photo in the story shows and attributes both Wildfires to the handiwork of the father/son “Cox” team, only the sports car shown next to Ed Cox was really their own. The other sports car was a “stand-in” for a car that 18 year old Phil had just begun to build—a full-blown race car not intended for street use as a sports car.
In 1955 when these photos were taken, Phil was 18 years old and his father (born in 1907) was 48. And both were extraordinary Wildife enthusiasts for each later invested in the Woodill Fiberglass Body Corporation stock issued of 1956. Phil purchased 200 shares and Ed 500 ($1 per share) —quite an investment for a father/son team.
Seen in the photos are barns, buildings, and an orange grove that was Phil’s Uncle’s house (mother’s side) Kenneth Cawthon. This was located at 1001 Willits Street, Santa Ana, California. This includes the last photo showing two cars and Phil and Ed next to each.
In June, 1956—just before his 19th birthday—Phil decided to join Woodill Enterprises. Although hired by B.R. “Woody” Woodill, he worked directly for Howard Miller laying up bodies (about 8 were built during his tenure), building/welding chassis/frames, assembling kits for shipment, and other assorted non-automobile projects that Woodill was tasked with. Phil left Woodill in February, 1957 when the sports car company was going out of business. During his time at Woodill, he received $1.85 an hour for his services, and he worked full time—40+ hours a week.
Phil Cox and Howard Miller remained lifelong friends and Phil worked again for Howard in the years following his departure from Woodill Enterprises. In the early 1960s, Phil found his calling and entered law enforcement where he served with distinction and honor for his career and beyond.
Where are these cars today? Ed Cox passed away in 1958 and their family sold his Wildfire shortly thereafter. As of the date of this writing, we continue to search for Ed’s Wildfire. The best clue on finding this car is the fuel door at the rear driver’s side of the car. And although Phil’s car is not pictured in this story, we will soon share photos and a short video on the later building of his car which may reveal ownership within the Forgotten Fiberglass community.
Let’s Review The Book Online:
Click on the image / picture of the cover of the book below to open the book on your desktop and begin your review. Once the book opens on your computer, be sure to explore the icons/buttons on the bottom of the screen. These give you greater control in viewing the book. One of these buttons allows you to download the entire book to your computer in Adobe PDF format so you can review it at your leisure.
We hope you enjoyed the book and share it with your friends. It offers a rare glimpse into the build of a sports car – taken and written in period and shared with your first here at Forgotten Fiberglass.
Great thanks goes to Jim Potter’s son, Jim North, in sharing this collection with us as well as slighter older now Phil Cox for his insight into this car and the build with his father – Ed Cox – completed 60 years ago this year (2015).
And remember gang….Phil Cox will be joining us at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance this year – just 30 days away. And…honored guests and cars include two original Woodill Wildfire owners and builders – Ted Griffin and Dick Foster. We invite you to join us at this festive gathering of historic automobiles and the men who built them.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember gang…
The adventure continues here at Forgotten Fiberglass.