Not many people know that several of the fiberglass sports car companies of the 1950s sold smaller versions of their cars – typically for the younger set of the owners of these same cars. Smaller versions of the Kaiser Darrin, Almquist, and even the Meteor (this version was called the Meteorite) were promoted, and in some cases true working models were seen. But no one did this better than Woody Woodill when he created a mini Woodill Wildfire called the Brushfire.
And…while you Woodill Wildfire aficionados out there may have heard or seen photos of Woodill’s Brushfire, I bet you didn’t know there was an article about it! Indeed, it was written by Jim Potter and published in the Trend Book of the same year. Let’s have a look at what Trend had to say about his mini Woodill Wildfire – the Brushfire.
1957 Cars of the World: Trend Book 142
The Woodill Brushfire
Woodill Fiber Glass Body Corporation., Tustin California
The Woodill Brushfire is a minicar that is patterned along the identical lines of the Woodill Wildfire full-sized sports car, built by the Woodill Fiber Glass Body Corporation of Tustin, California. This trim little two-eseater is large enough, however, for a full-sized grownup to drive the car in comparative comfort, though the intention, of course, is an automobile for the youngsters in the six to 12 year old bracket.
The Brushfire is powered by a one-cylinder side-valve engine. Bore is 2.31 inches while the stroke is two inches. With a compression ratio of 6 to 1, it develops 3 horsepower at 3800 rpm. Torque is 4.5 pounds per feet at 3000 rpm.
The Brushfire is equipped with a clutch and one forward gear. Top speed of this minicar is about 35 miles per hour, while the fuel consumption is expected to be about 85 miles per gallon of gas. Built on a 63 inch wheelbase, the tiny vehicle has a tubular frame and a reinforced fiberglass body.
Total weight of the Brushfire is only 215 pounds. According to the designers and builders of the Woodill Brushfire, the small car is suitable for popular small-fry sport of quarter-midget racing which has gained many enthusiasts in the past couple of years.
At least, Junior can now own a car that looks just like dads.
More Photos From the Jim Potter Collection:
As I announced recently, through the generosity of Jim Potter’s son, Jim North, we have on loan much of Jim Potter’s photography concerning Woodill Wildfire. Among the collection were two photos of a Wildfire and a Brushfire side by side as shown below. Pretty cool fibergang!
And…some of you may notice that driving the Brushfire is none other than the young actor in 1956 – Robert Stack. That Woody Woodill sure was the consummate promoter 🙂
More About These Special Cars:
One of our fiber-gang, Lee Exline, is a wealth of knowledge concerning this class of cars, and maintains an excellent website dedicated to vintage promotional cars of the ’50s and ’60s. You’ll be amazed at the history he’s collected and shared with those on the web, so be sure to plan for some time when you visit Lee’s website below:
Click here to visit Lee Exline’s “Junior Central” to learn more about these cars
Click here to visit lee Exline’s Facebook page to learn more about these cars
Another good friend, Pat Amedolia, created several versions of these smaller production cars back in the 50s and 60s too.
Click here to learn more about Pat Amendolia’s small production cars for children
Click here to learn more about a fiberglass special Pat Amendolia built back in the 1950s – the Pat Amendolia Special
In the near future we’ll share a bit more about this car – the Brushfire – as well as some color photography of it from the Jim Potter collection. Much to share and fun to have so…
Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember gang…
The adventure continues here at Forgotten Fiberglass.
I have been looking for one of these for years and never saw one it would be nice to have one with my woodill wildfire my dad told me about these when i was a kid when we got our wildfire
The Brushfire was stored in Howard Miller’s back yard under a tarp for years. He showed it to me when we me after we had done the Special Interest Autos article which was written about my type one Wildfire. He offered it to me for $800 at the time but simply didn’t have the room. Apparently Woody built some small cars for Autorama in Disneyland but not sure if they were identical to this Brushfire.
Great little car , but I was hoping for a GLASSPAR.
In that Brushfire .. you’d be UNTOUCHABLE.
I actually saw one of the ‘Brushfire’ cars for sale at Hershey, years ago. I told the seller that he had a miniature Woodill Widfire and he said “no” it’s a one-off special. I didn’t know the Brushfire name at the time. It was mostly a raw fiberglass shell sitting on axles with wheels – no engine, no windshield, no steering wheel, etc. The seller had some other miniature cars for sale also, but the ‘Brushfire’ was the largest of the group.