The 1953 Don Jones / Don James Special – 1953 Pebble Beach Road Race Participant

Here’s The Best Close-Up I Could Get of the Donald Jones Special From the 1953 Pebble Beach Road Race (photo courtesy of Eric Irwin Collection/Brian Jennings)

Hi Gang…

Short story today – I don’t know much about the following car except what I’ve found below.

Recently, Brian Jennings contacted me, and shared the picture I have of this car with me.   These are from his uncle, Eric Irwin, who built the Lancers of early fiberglass fame, and was at the 1953 Pebble Beach Road Race and Concours d’Elegance in 1953.  One of the photos shows a neat car, that looks like it was most likely built from fiberglass.

1953 Pebble Beach Road Race:

I cross-referenced the number on the car with the 1953 Pebble Beach Road Race Program and checked other numbers of other cars to make sure I had the right location, year, and race.  And I found out the following information:

Car #164: FORD SPECIAL: Class C.  Owned and driven by Donald E. Jones of San Bruno (California.)  A novice entry.

And that’s all I know at this point.  I think I’ve seen the car before in vintage magazines, but I thought I would share a few “mysteries” with each of you during the holiday school break I’m on.

Glasspar’s Race Car:  The Mameco Ardun Special:

Some of you may recognize this race for other reasons related to fiberglass specials.  This was the inaugural run for Glasspar’s Ardun powered race car, built by Mangles and Martindale of Mameco, and driven by Warren Gerdes.  It was during this race that the Glasspar racecar received rave reviews.  It was in first place until the last lap when the engine caught fire.


Here’s a Great Shot of the Glasspar Racecar Taken by Mike Wittman in 1953. Mike Noted on the Back of the Picture, “Warren Gerdes Drove the C.T. Glasspar Special, Ardun Mercury. Best Acceleration of Day, P.B. 1953”

So gang….this one’s for you.  Who of you out there knows more about this car?

I did a cursory look for Donald E. Jones but if he’s with us he’s most likely in his 80’s or 90’s.  But perhaps his family can be found (and there were tantalizing clues for those of you who use Intelius or Peoplefinders as part of their search strategy).

And of course, the venerable Tony St. Clair  (Glasspar G2 and LaDawri Conquest owner) may find this in his amazing magazine collection.  Tony has found the most important details in magazines and has shared these with us in his near weekly postings in our “Fiberglass Forums.”  He has quite an eye for spotting the important and unusual.

Or maybe Mike Wittman who took the picture of the Glasspar race car back in 1953 when he was watching the race at Pebble Beach might have snapped a pix of this “mysterys” car too.  Check your photos Mike?  It would be great to see other images and history of this nicely done special.

So…go get ‘em gang and let’s see what you find.

Until next time gang….Happy Holidays and…

Glass on….


Note: Hi gang…we have some quick researchers here.  On the  same day I published this story, several people wrote up the history of this car in our Fiberglass Forums.  Special thanks to Peter McKercher, Francesco (Paul Jaray), and Harold Pace  for delving more into the history of this car.


Click on the Images Below to View Larger Pictures



The 1953 Don Jones / Don James Special – 1953 Pebble Beach Road Race Participant — 1 Comment

  1. Hi All !!
    I’m Larry E James; son of Donald E James and I remember this car well. If anyone has any info on where this car may be I’d be super interested. I can be contacted at larryejames at gmail dot com

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