Photos without captions are like finding Indian arrowheads at the flea market. Little is known of what, when, why, and where concerning the history. Surely more would be known and confirmed if we could examine where the arrowhead was found and the context surrounding it. But….stripped from its last location means it becomes a neat artifact, but devoid of meaning.
That’s what almost happened with this photo – but not today due to the automotive historian heroics of good friend Alden Jewell.
Time after time I have shared with Alden my quests for information. Each time he delivers – and more. Recently, I shared with him the plight of this photo of the Yankee Clipper with its missing caption. The photo is easy to find on the internet and eBay. Just no caption. I’ve looked and looked to no avail.
Alden found it in his collection in just a few minutes.
Let’s have a look at what the photo and caption – and what the original 8×10 glossy looks like – here in our story. Remember…you can click on pictures in every story here at Forgotten Fiberglass and they will enlarge on your screen.
Off we go…
Automobile Topics: April, 1953
Yankee Clipper – Photo and Caption
Paul Strassberger, sports car manufacturer, demonstrates his new “Yankee Clipper” to United Airlines Stewardess Ruth Roberts at San Francisco. The new model will be produced at the rate of 40 a month and marketed for approximately $3,400. Mounted on a 1953 Ford chassis and powered by a Ford or Mercury engine, it has a body made by combining sheets of fiberglass with vibrin plastic.
So now we know that the proprietor of the Yankee Clipper – Paul Strassberger – was the gentleman in the photo. Also shown is a San Francisco based United Airlines Stewardess Ruth Roberts. Very neat to know the background of this photo. Looks like this is more of a publicity photo for the Yankee Clipper and less of one for United Airlines. As always, more research may reveal additional detail.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
I have the last Yankee Clipper built. My father owned Del Rae Garage in Redwood City. Pal brought it in to have work done. My father got it because Paul did not pay his bill. My father gave it to me when I was 8 years old. I moved it with me to Ashland Oregon. It has a flat head v-8. It will go to my son when I pass it on.
It would be great to see the utube video.
Can you email me back with the name or title of the video.
Best Regards, Dennis Gerdes. Idyllwild, California
Paul Strassburger had a daughter named Sue…she eventually married a man named Richard Tomlinson. He tracked the above photo’ed car down back in the mid 90s, it was featured in an auto magazine under the title “rare finds” If I recall, the car was inside a basement in Tennessee, under an old farm house. Nobody could figure out how it had ended up down there, fully assembled. They removed the car, he spent four years restoring it. The car ended up painted red with tan leather interior. There are photos of the car on the mecum auction page, has a round blue sticker with an “L” on it, I placed that sticker on the windshield.
The car had a Ford 312 Y block, and a C4 or C6 automatic. It was built on a 1953 Ford police car chassis. The car was absolutely amazing, and was flat out scary fast.
I have photos of myself with the car somewhere, sadly, Richard died of cancer back in 2008. There are videos of him with the car on youtube. As far as I know his widow is still alive.
FWIW, my father was a salesman (maybe the only one?) at Strassberger Motors at the time I was born. He was always interested in powerful, fast cars and getting involved in a speculative venture like this one would have been just like him. I suspect he ran into Paul Strassberger in the Bay Area and one thing led to another. From a little research I did a few years back I found that Paul had at least one child, but I never tracked him down. Perhaps he (or a sibling) would have more info about the Strassberger Motors adventure.
40 cars a month for $3500…Whatever happened to all our drreams ????…..
The glasspar was how i became interested in fiberglass auto bodies from an article in Science and Mechanics magizine from around 1952 (as i remember)..
He produced at least two cars. I have photos of both and receipts from the family that several others were in the works – but most likely just 2 were built. More to come in the future Jean. Geoff
I noticed on your site’s inventory page you have a Strassberger Motors brochure and a business card. Is there a name on the card?
@John: Paul Strassberger’s name – the President of the company.
Does anyone know if Paul produced more than the one car? , at forty a month he probably would have been Bill Tritt”s best friend.