The 1952 Yankee Clipper Debuts in San Francisco – A Glasspar G2 Bodied Sports Car

Here The Yankee Clipper Appears On The Cover of the December 5th, 1952 Issue of Motor Sports World. The Only Mention Of It In The Magazine Was About The Cover Photo As Follows: “Cover photograph of this issue of Motor Sports World is the “Yankee Clipper,” an excellent example of custom body work using new fiberglass materials.”

Hi Gang…

Think back to the golden era of fiberglass sports cars…..

Anything was possible.

Enterprising young men could look to the future with a gleam in their eye and see so many possibilities.  So could older and more experienced men like Paul Strassberger who saw the Glasspar G2 body as his opportunity to satiate America’s appetite for Sports Cars in a very big way.

Paul wanted to build a sports car and sell it – from soup to nuts – in his factory.  There weren’t many bodies to choose from in early to mid 1952, so he must have contemplated the classic “build or buy” decision.  That is, do we design our own body adding months to the process of building a car.  Or…do we choose one of the finest fiberglass bodies available in mid 1952 and beat the competition to the punch and bring out a brand new sports car to the public.

He chose the latter.

Already in 1952, Allied, Frazen, LaSaetta, Maverick, Sportstar, Vale, and even Victress were bringing sports car bodies to market.  And that wasn’t all – full sports cars were being built and sold too.  Kjell Qvale in the Summer of 1952 had debuted his own BMC fiberglass sports car based on a Singer chassis.  And even earlier in the year, William Vaughan in New York put together a Glasspar G2 based Singer that debuted at the International Motor Sports Show in New York.   The market seemed ready to explode, and the public seemed willing to buy.

And it was most likely Vaughan’s Singer based Glasspar G2 that was the inspiration for Paul Stassberger’s idea.  That is, to bring a sports car to market as fast as possible in 1952 – and use the nicely designed and professionally built Glasspar G2 sports car body.   Paul described his car as:

“All New!  All-American Sport Car With A Smart Plastic Body!”

And he named it….

“The Yankee Clipper”

To learn a bit more about Paul Strassberger’s Yankee Clipper, let’s take a look at a 1952/1953 newspaper article.  Here it is for your review (the original article appears in the photo gallery below):

Great Publicity Shot Of Paul Strassberger And His Yankee Clipper From United Air Lines. We’re Still Researching The Connection Between These Two Companies.

Palo Alto Vet To Turn Out New Plastic Sports Car

Plant Planned At Menlo Park

Production Soon For The Yankee Clipper

By Dick Harris

A young Navy veteran from Palo Alto has set out to cut himself a share of the rapidly growing U.S. market for sports cars.

Unawed by such distinguished competition as Jaguar, Allard, M.G., and Lancia, Paul Strassberger, 38 year old car dealer, has assembled a fiberglass body on a Ford engine/chassis.

Strassberger, who commanded an armed guard crew on merchant vessels during the war, presently is in the process of establishing an assembly plant in Menlo Park where the Yankee Clipper will be put together.

Shows Pilot Models:

Caption Of Photo In Newspaper Says: “FANCY – Onlookers Take A Good Look At Paul J. Strassberger’s Pilot Model Sports Car, The Yankee Clipper. He’s Establishing An Assembly Plant In Menlo Park (near San Francisco) To Put The Car In Production.”

He already has assembled four pilot models.  He exhibited one at the National Automobile Dealers Association show in San Francisco last week and had another on display at the San Mateo County Auto Show at the Fiesta Building this past weekend.

Actually, Strassberger claims no credit for developing the car.  He says he’s merely exploiting it.  The body, the car’s most striking feature, is of fiberglass and plastic and molded in a single piece.  It was designed by William Tritt of Santa Ana.

The Clipper is powered with a Ford V8 engine.  In fact, its entire mechanical installation is supplied by Ford.  Only things Strassberger has to furnitsh to produce the finished product are frames, paint, and upholstery.  Frames are being built by Ray Wright of San Carlos and upholstery is is provided by Custom Craft Upholsterers of San Mateo.

Summary:

Rick D’Louhy and I have collected quite a bit of information about the Yankee Clipper from the Strassberger family and are looking forward to sharing this information in future stories.   As you’ll soon find out, the story about the Yankee Clipper makes great reading, and Paul Strassberger was quite an outstanding entrepreneur.

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…

Geoff

Note:

Click on the following link to view all stories on:  Glasspar G2 Sports Cars

Click on the following link to view all stories on:  Yankee Clipper Sports Cars

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Comments

The 1952 Yankee Clipper Debuts in San Francisco – A Glasspar G2 Bodied Sports Car — 1 Comment

  1. Great article! I was a neighbor of Mr. Strassberger’s in Palo Alto back in 1958-62. I was just a boy but was good friends with his son John. I remember one of his cars and talked to him a couple of years ago about an article I had seen lately about The Yankee Clipper. Always a gentleman, he sent me a thank you along with an original sales brochure from 1952. Great piece of Bay Area History.- Jim Johnson

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