Plastic Cars Are Here – Westways Magazine: July, 1952


“The other day I had a thrilling ride in an amazing car.  The car was the Lancer, built in Costa Mesa by Eric Irwin.  We scooted around 90 degree corners at 50 miles per hour with negligible side-sway, over railroad tracks without a quiver, and over washboard roads that would have shaken our eye teeth had we been in most automobiles.”

Joseph Wherry: Westways Magazine – July, 1952

Hi Gang…

There’s a lot going on in this article and it makes sense to take a minute and explain why

  • The article is dated July, 1952.  That’s significant.  The first fiberglass sports car appeared in public just months before at the November, 1951 Petersen Motorama.
  • The author talks about the “history” of fiberglass cars in California – wow!  From my perspective, this article was published just months before when the “history” of fiberglass sports cars started
  • Cars covered in the article included the Glasspar, Lancer, Imp, Wasp and Skorpion
  • The “debut dates” are established for Glasspar (June, 1951) and Lancer (May, 1951)
  • The author, Joseph Wherry, was a well established and respected author before and after this article was published giving added credibility to all assertions in the article.

Let’s Take A Look at Some Photos

One of the nice things about today’s scanners is their optics.  When we do close-up scans of photos in magazine, the resulting images seem better than I could have hoped.  Of course you have to have good equipment and we use a mid-level or “pro-sumer” grade scanner to share images with folks here at Undiscovered Classics.

The images below are from the spring of 1952 or earlier – some of the earliest images shared of fiberglass sports cars in America.  So let’s have a look 🙂

The Lancer was America’s First Fiberglass sports car beating Glasspar by one month. But did you know that Eric Irwin and Bill Tritt were friends?  They worked next to each other on Industrial Way in Costa Mesa, California from 1950 thru about 1955.


I have to thank Tony St. Clair who is a magazine historian and collector for finding not just Westways Magazine for us but other key magazine articles in magazines I had never heard of.  Thank you Tony for your work and diligence in sharing these with us and our readers.

We have to remember that learning about a fiberglass sports car in the 50s can be compared to learning about a carbon-fiber sports cars in current times.  It grabs our attention.  And for this very reason, fiberglass sports cars made into all sorts of magazines back then – even the movie trailers or newsreels that played at movies.  Check out this one-minute newsreel that hit movies in England about Glasspar G2 sports cars (a similar newsreel showed in America too).

And another piece from today’s article is the author – Joseph Wherry.  He has written several key articles and books that bear mention in the future and we’ll be focusing on his authorship of these pieces soon.  So stay tuned gang.  There’s much to share and appreciate.

Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember…

The adventure continues here at Undiscovered Classics.



Plastic Cars Are Here – Westways Magazine: July, 1952 — 3 Comments

  1. The article states that Lancers can be ordered with modified Mercury engines. Is there any record of how many of these were produced?

  2. re the old pictures looking surprisingly good: research was done at least 40 years ago that showed–and I know this sounds really odd–that people could somehow ‘see’ more information than the pixels in the picture could hold. apparently each pixel had enough unanticipated variation in itself somehow to let people kinda read between the lines.

  3. This story is priceless. Sums up the firsts days of revolution in fiberglass, and lays out the timelines of how it all got started. Love the imagination and talent of those who jumped into the field. Cheers.

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