The Meteor SR 1 is simply a beautiful sports car.
Although the initial car was built by Dick Jones with Jim Byers and debuted at the 1953 Petersen Motorama, today’s story in Road and Track was published about a year and a half later. This article shows Dick’s personal car – a car he owned when he moved to Denver, Colorado in the mid 1950’s. And what a strikingly beautiful design he chose to design and build – and offer to others for their sports car specials as well. John Bond from Road and Track seemed to think so too!
During my interviews back in 2007-2010 with Dick, he shared with me a story about his first car as follows:
“After we completed the first car and debuted it at the Motorama 1953, Lester Niehampkin who was a photographer for Car Craft, had a surprise for us. Lester had worked with the race promoter for the Torrey Pines Race in 1954 and secured our Meteor for use by the Course Marshall. The Course Marshall would drive around the race course prior to the commencement of each race. As I recall either myself or my wife drove the car for the Course Marshall at the time.”
We’re still looking for pictures of this event. What fun it will be to find them and share these pictures when we do!
Rick D’Louhy and I are still assembling complete lists of all published articles on each of the fiberglass cars of the 1950’s, but this is one of the first – if not the first – that highlights the Dick Jones Meteor SR 1 car in an article all its own.
So….let’s dig in and see what John Bond and Road and Track had to say back in ’55 about this Italian inspired American designed sports car.
Dick Jones Meteor SR1 (Road and Track, April 1955)
Photographs by Rolofson
Dick Jones Offers a Stylish Plastic Body For Your Special
Scarcely a week passes that the mail does not bring photographs of some new fiberglass body. Wherever there is interest in cars, it seems that eager entrepreneurs foresee a bright future in establishing a small but active business in this relatively new field.
Sometimes the styling end of these bodies leaves much to be desired – is, in fact, so atrocious that we cannot but wonder at the source of inspiration. But other styling efforts – many others – show much original thought and good taste. And more than a few frankly derive, in varying degree, from the work of Italian coachbuilders.
Among the last group is this handsome body created by Dick Jones, an enterprising young man from Compton, California, who is a capable engineer as well as designer. Without publicity or advertising, he has sold half-a-dozen bodies, hopes to sell many more.
If comparisons must be made, the Jones body looks more like a Ferrari than anything else, and is, of course, designed primarily as an answer to the problem of obtaining a low-cost body for a competition special. It fits any chassis having a wheelbase of around 100 inches and a tread of 55 to 58 inches.
The car shown here has a special frame, uses 1935/1940 Ford front and rear suspension assemblies. The engine is a ¾ race flathead (Ford) V8, but any other V8 type engine can be accommodated. With a body as pleasing as this readily available, it is hardly carping to suggest that there is little excuse for some of the “nuts and bolts” currently being seen in competition.
So where is this gem of a car today?
It has not been found with any certainty yet. Mike Wittman owns what perhaps is one of the most original Meteors ever found (originally found in a junkyard in Irwindale California by Erich Schultz). We hope Mike is able to debut his Meteor this year at the Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours d’ Elegance. Another Meteor with vintage roots has been found up in Minnesota, but research remains to confirm if that’s the missing Dick Jones Meteor too.
If found, this car is Meteor number 1 and would be a stellar addition to any American ‘glass collection out there gang so go forth and search – and what a magnificent find this would be.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…