The 1952 La Saetta by Testaguzza: The Tasteful Custom Sports Car

Hi Gang…

In Italian, “La Saetta” translates to “The Lightning” or “Lightning Bolt” and it was in late 1952 that Gino and Cesare Testaguzza debuted their “La Saetta” – a 110 to 116 inch wheelbase sports car / boulevard cruiser –  in Oxford, Michigan (near Detroit).

Both Gino and Cesare had worked in the automotive industry for at least 15 years and had been stylists for various automotive manufacturing firms.  But now, with their newly introduced “Lightning Bolt” sports car, they were going to be on the forefront of the new fiberglass sports car revolution sweeping the country in 1952.

Back in November 2011, I had the honor of meeting David Greenlees at “The Old Motor” when he ran an article about a special “electric” or “hybrid” car that used a La Saetta body .  Here’s the link to review David’s story:

Today’s article on Forgotten Fiberglass is the first of several on the “La Saetta” and is a follow-up to David’s request concerning more information about this car.

La Saetta Brochure: 1952

Recently, I was speaking with noted automotive historian and literature collector Alden Jewell about the La Saetta, and he shared with me that he had a brochure on this car – something I had not seen before.  Much thanks goes to Alden for sharing this piece from his collection, and it’s with this literature that we begin our series of stories on the La Saetta fiberglass sports car – designed and built by the Testaguzza brothers of Oxford, Michigan back in 1952.

Thanks to David Greenlees and Alden Jewel for this initiative, and away we go….

The Tasteful Custom Sports Car
Testaguzza Brothers and Company, Inc
3685 Drahner Road, Oxford Michigan

Side 1: Highlights

This is what qualified observers said about the La Saetta in an introductory analysis recently.  We think it fits our model to the letter.  Considered from the standpoint of aesthetics, craftsmanship, practicality or pure pleasure, you will quickly see what we mean.

Not only does it have the beautiful low sweeping lines of the continent, but these outstanding features as well:

  • 110” wheelbase
  • 76” wide
  • 37” high at cowl
  • 2 large doors
  • Trunk Space
  • Spacious hood opening
  • Wrap around windshield
  • Removable top (at extra cost)
  • Price: Approximately $3500 F.O.B Factory

La Saetta is sold as a complete car with choice of motors such as Ford, Olds 98, Hudson Hornet – hydramatic or standard transmission – or with other motors on special order.

The La Saetta fiberglass body can be sold alone for $1250, ready and simple to mount on buyer chassis after necessary modifications are made on the frame.  The body consists of:

  • Wrap around windshield
  • Lights
  • Hinges and locking mechanism on hood
  • Doors
  • Trunk lid
  • Back floor pan
  • Splash pans
  • 8 body mounts
  • Primer coat on body

Address All Inquires to:

Testaguzza Bros. & Company, Inc.  3685 Drahner Road, Oxford, Michigan.  Phone: Oakland 8-3308

Side 2: Highlights


Many La Saetta Sports Cars have surfaced over the years, and the most recent discoveries have been in Florida and in California.  Approximately 15 were built, and about half of that number survives today.  More about the La Saetta sports cars in future stories here at Forgotten Fiberglass 🙂

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…

Click on the Images Below to View Larger Pictures


The 1952 La Saetta by Testaguzza: The Tasteful Custom Sports Car — 6 Comments

  1. I trained With Gino and Ceaser Tesaguzza in clay modeling and worked on the
    Holand-Dozer-Holland Sculpture’s. Also the repairs on the Jesus statue that was damaged by vandals!
    The Siatta mold was still in the rafters!

  2. Wayne. i knew that junkyard very well it was called Obars truck and auto salvage
    the owners son eventually lost
    the yard due to a serious crack addiction.
    The car was badly checked and cracked ,i tried for a decade to buy it.
    the last time i saw the car it was being loaded up on a trailer bound to who knows where?

  3. I will never forget pulling into a hotel in Tucson, AZ, in 1998 and noting across the street in sort of a truck salvage yard seeing what I thought was a Packard concept car (due to its ’52-53 Pack tail lamps). The yard had already closed and was not open in the a.m. before I had to leave but I did get pictures of what I later was able to identify as a La Saetta. On a follow-up pass through the city I made sure to be there when they were open and got more photos and information. That one was on a Jaguar chassis, presumably XK, and the engine, though out, was at a known location nearby. Yard owner was not willing to sell then but nine months later the car had been removed.
    Wonder who got the car. Photos available.

  4. The variation in prices for early fiberglass bodies is interesting. Some were around $500, this one was $1250. That was a strong price in 1952 for the average backyard guy. It would be interesting to look at prices top to bottom sometime.

    Happy new year all!


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