Psssst…Wanna Build a Victress? Doc Boyce-Smith and Ted Kelly Want to Teach You How! (1953)

Hi Gang…

Actually, Doc and Ted were going to show you how to build any fiberglass body of your design – and the molds to make more than just one of them!

Talk about giving away the house! (trade secrets, in this case).

This is a remarkable booklet, first published in ’53 by Doc Boyce-Smith, president of Boyce Smith Company (later Victress Manufacturing) and Edmond “Ted” Kelly, President of Allied Products Engineering Corporation and primary supplier of resin and fiberglass materials to Victress.  (Note: In later years after Ted Kelly’s company, Allied Products Engineering Corporation closed (around 1955), Victress switched to Thalco for their supplier of everything fiberglass).

Hugh Jorgensen illustrated the near 40 page booklet with some beautifully illustrated and annotated work.  And remember…Hugh was co-designer of the Victress S1 with Doc as well as chief designer of the Victress S4 sports car.  The drawings in the Victress book are fantabulous! (yes that’s a word…I just made it up.)

This was quite a team gang!  Very special folks at Victress.

Here’s A Great Photo From the ’53 Petersen Motorama Showing Doc Boyce-Smith and Bill Quirk Inside The Victress Mold. Outside is Ted Kelly – Wearing Glasses. The Other Two Folks Near Ted Kelly May Be Celanese Representatives (Manufacturers of Resin Sold By Ted Kelly’s Company, Allied).

In The Beginning….

Think about how early this was….1953 was at the beginning of when it all started with Tritt, Irwin, and Wills/Roberts in 1951 at the Petersen Motorama.  In fact, Doc Boyce-Smith recognized this and noted it in his dedication of the book as follows:

Dedicated To: A Young Industry

How true those words were in ’53.

Boyce-Smith and Kelly went on in the “Foreword” of their book with this same theme.  Let’s review what they shared in their “Foreword.”

Foreword From Victress Booklet (1953):

Throughout the United States, from home garages to the great auto centers in Detroit, fiberglass cars are being built.  A natural outgrowth of the steel or aluminum body, fiberglass allows a freedom of design never before available to the body builder.  Probably the greatest single advantage of fiberglass is that any one with ingenuity and perseverance can build a car body according to his own ideas without expensive tools.

This booklet is offered with the idea of describing the general methods of fabricating glass car bodies to the end that the means and the materials are made known to everyone interested.  By the application of this information and the combination of effort and ingenuity, fiberglass car bodes can be built by the average person without previous experience.

It must not be expected that a car body can be made without a certain amount of determination.  The use of fiberglass is a matter of technique which is readily acquired but not without some actual experience of handling the materials involved.  It would be impossible to expect to build a house from directions received in a book if the individual had no knowledge of the use of a hammer or saw.  

But the advantage of fiberglass is that where the building of a house is far more complex than the ability to use the hammer or the saw, the use of fiberglass on the other hand is relatively simple and when the minimum techniques have been acquired great progress can be made without the necessary assimilation of still further techniques.  The main thing is to know the materials required and the mistakes to avoid.

And Now…On To The Victress Booklet:

So let’s have at it gang.  I’ve reproduced the entire booklet below for your review.

And check out those letter “V’s” on each of the hubcaps shown on the Victress illustration that appears on the front cover of this booklet.  Which of you Victress guys out there will be the first to emulate that!  You’ll also notice that on the first inside page of the Victress Booklet, Doc Boyce-Smith added the following next to his name as co-author:

W. I. Boyce-Smith, Manufacturer of the Victress – at 203.105 mph, The World’s Fastest Sports Car

Victress had just been awarded that special title in August ’53 at Speed Week in Bonneville – months before this booklet debuted in the Fall of ’53.  Quite an accomplishment for the design and build of this special sports car body 🙂

While you’re “chewing” over the details in the Victress booklet below, keep in mind that the guys at Victress “walked their talk.”  Here’s a picture from the Doc and Patricia Boyce-Smith Collection showing the initial mock-up of the Victress S1 design using “stations” as one of the first steps of making the S1 design on paper a three dimension reality – exactly as they show how to do this in their ’53 booklet.

Circa 1952 – The Victress Build Begins. Doc Boyce-Smith and Hugh Jorgensen Were The Builders And Designers – With Help From None Other Than Jim Byers of Later “Byers SR-100” Fame.

Off we go…and as with every image here on Forgotten Fiberglass, remember to use your mouse and click on any image to make it appear larger on your screen.

How To Build a Fiberglass Car (1953)
Boyce-Smith and Kelly



And the Victress legacy lives on.

In ’54 Doc Boyce-Smith and Ted Kelly sold the rights to their book to Clymer who reproduced and sold their book with very few if any changes through the early ‘60s – perhaps later.  And recently Veloce Press re-issued the Clymer version of the Victess book and added Hellings and Victress brochures too.

It’s quite a book and a great value for any vintage ‘glass aficionado out there.  Click here to learn more about the re-issued Victress book and how to purchase it.

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…


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