When I first started researching the McCormack sports / custom car, I found a website maintained by Rich McCormack – Hank’s younger brother. Rich had put together a short history on his brother’s car with family photos. It was great to see these images and even more exciting to know that Hank’s family was still with us and had some important items and memories to share about his fiberglass sports / custom car.
However, the website is no longer available.
I’ve started to work with the McCormack family to more fully document the history of both the car and the man – Henry “Hank” McCormack. In the meantime, I offered to repost the family’s original website here on Forgotten Fiberglass. They agreed and I’m honored to share with you Rich McCormack’s original story about his brother’s car – posted on the internet until just a few years ago.
Take it away Rich 🙂
A Personal Recollection: Hank’s “Sporty” Car
Hank was drafted into the army at age 18 years old. He went through bootcamp at Fort Ord in Northern California and spent the rest of his two year hitch as a tank mechanic in Texas. I’m not sure, but I think the 2 dimensional drafting part of the development of his custom car took place while he was in the army.
From Scale Model to Finished Fiberglass Body
After his two years were up, he moved into a house on Pepper street in Orange, CA, a couple houses down from where I lived with my parents. I’m not positive, but I think he built the scale model, shown in the photo, in the garage behind his house on Pepper street.
The full size plaster mold from which the female fiberglass mold was taken was definetly built at the house on Pepper street. The brick building in the background of the photo of Hank and the plaster mold in the driveway is West Orange School, the elementary school I attended while living on Pepper street.
Motor Life Article: February 1956
I think the photos featured in Motor Life (February, 1956) magazine were taken in front of the Anaconda Wire Company office building in Orange. As I recall, the car wasn’t finished at the time and had to be trailered to the site for the photo shoot. I scanned the photos from a borrowed (from my mom) copy of the magazine several years ago. I don’t know what happened to the magazine, it wasn’t with her personal belongings I found in her mobile home after she passed away.
When I scanned the photos, the magazine was missing the cover. I found the photos of the magazine cover with Hank’s car on a website dealing in old magazines, and in an Ebay auction. Not knowing if I’d ever find the copy my mom had, I bid on an Ebay auction and now have a somewhat tattered issue of the Motor Life magazine featuring my brother’s “sporty car” on the cover with accompanying descriptive article inside.
Finished and Fully Functional
I believe the last set of photos showing the finished car Hank made for himself were taken in front of the building where Hank was on the team that made the fiberglass body(s) for Andy Granatellis’ 1967 turbine Indy race car. That’s Patti’s and my old Opel station wagon parked next to it and that would be about the right time.
Hank sold the mold after making the body for the car shown in the photos. I know at least two “McCormack Coupes” were made but don’t know if any more were made or what happened to the molds. I also don’t know what happened to the original car he made for himself. I assume when he passed away, his wife at that time inherited the car. As I’ve had no contact with her or know where she is, the current condition and whereabouts of the car is unknown to me.
Additional Info and Photos
Sports Cars Illustrated Directory, 1958
McCormack Plastics Sales Brochure
This photo appears to have been taken at a Los Angeles auto show:
I can’t remember seeing this car before, it looks like a metalic blue, soft top version of Hank’s Car. The photo appears to have been taken in front of Hank’s home in Dana Point. CA., probably some time during the 1970s.
This photo appears to have been taken in the driveway of Hank’s home in San Clemente, CA., probably sometime in the 1980s.
Copyright © 2008, by Rich McCormack
Thanks again to Rich McCormack and the McCormack family for their support in further documenting the achievements of Henry “Hank” McCormack. What a great car he designed, and I’m looking forward to sharing more about his history here on Forgotten Fiberglass.
Here are a couple of more pieces of information I’ve found concerning the sale of Hank’s car and the his molds.
The molds were for sale in the July ’61 issue of Hot Rod:
The car was for sale in the July ’69 issue of Hot Rod.
This may have been the original car – the rear wheel opening is more shallow on the original car than any others we’ve found in recent years and any pictures of vintage ones we’ve seen being built back in the ’50s and ’60s:
And of course….like many of the fantastic fiber-cars we write about here on Forgotten Fiberglass, the car and the molds are still “missing.”
Will you be the one to find the molds and/or the original car and bring them back to showroom shape? How fun that would be…..and a great story here, too, at Forgotten Fiberglass.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
Click on the Images Below to View Larger Pictures
I lived down the street from Henry McCormack spent a lot of time at his house, What 16
year old kid do you know that drove that car, Well I did and Henry let me drive it to
Orange high school. Henry also had a nice Garwood boat both the car and boat where
painted by Larry Watson. I also knew his younger brother Rich, We went to Mexico in
Dennis here. I read your story about Henry McCormack’s car. Just wondering what colour the car was when you drove it? Were the rear wheel arches rounded or flattened off? Also, at the rear of the car were they tailpipes or just a cosmetic feature of the car? The front ones were obviously just a feature. Or are the photos above not his original car? Do you recall what engine he had in the car? Interesting car. Thanks for your time.
Kool Kar and Kool Photos.I like the version with the round wheel opening in the back..
I love this car ! what a great design, it looks like a custom from the 60’s , something Barris or Windfield would have done, and to see it with complete roll up windows.
KOOL MAN! I hope this is next on the list of restorations for Geoff
Great story! Any idea if the green one I shot at the swap meet was the original?
The green one does not have all characteristics of Hank’s original car – but it may have been modified over the years. We’re still researching and will have an answer on this in the near future.