Note: This is the fifth and final article in a series of articles here at Forgotten Fiberglass that showcase a story called “The Glassmakers 1960” published in Sportscar Graphic in May-June 1960. In this 1960 article, Almquist, Devin, Kellison, LaDawri, and Victress were showcased. We have separated the full article into “five” more readable stories – one for each of the car marques discussed.
Click here to review all articles published in this series.
If only we had an article in 1960 that told us what fiberglass companies were in business and going strong…..
Wait! We do! This 12 page tome appeared in Sportscar Graphic in June 1960 and included two pages or more on each of the following cars: Devin, Kellison, LaDawri, Victress, and Almquist. And those were the “Big Fiber Guns” of fiberglass then, and it’s a very respectful review of each of these companies and what they had to offer.
I’m going to break this up into 5 separate articles with each one focusing on a specific fiberglass sports car company from this article. Today’s story, the fifth and final in the series, will focus on Almquist Engineering.
So sit back, grab a coffee, turn on some music, and let the fibers fly free…
Off we go gang!
The Glassmakers…1960: Almquist Engineering
Sportscar Graphic, May-June 1960
By Bob Rolofson
Photos by Rolofson, Bob D’Olivo and the Inman Co.
Want A Sportscar? Have Budget Problems? These Fiberglass Companies Have Economy-Minded Answers That Range From Bodies Fresh From The Mold To Completed Cars Ready For The Street Or Race Course
Almquist Engineering, of Milford, Pennsylvania, has a fiberglass shell to fit practically any chassis in the United States, and most of the foreign makes. In the past year they have extended their line, adding a rear drive version of their Sabre shell, a long, low, finned job called the El Morocco, and the El Deuce, a glass roadster shell for the hot rodders.
Their bodies come ready to install, complete with integral reinforcing, built-in dash, headlight receptacles, boxed doors, molded hood cover, hanger kit, and instructions. Almquist’s leader, the Sabre, comes in four versions, all priced at $295. Sabre I is for a 72-to 82-inch wheelbase. Sabre II uses an 82- to 92-inch wheelbase, Sabre “750”, with a higher rear deck, comes in two models, one for the Volkswagen, and the other for the Renault.
Headlight mountings for the Sabre series are in the grille, but glass adaptors are available for fairing lights into the fenders, changing the appearance considerably. The Speedster series is offered in three versions, all priced at $495. Number I fits wheelbases from 94 to 106 inches, and number II takes any 106- to 116-inch wheelbase.
Both are offered with optional headlight mountings; either in the fenders, or in the grille. Speedster III is identical to model II, except that it has modern dual headlights in the fenders.
The El Morocco is a Detroit-sized shell fitting wheelbases from 108 to 118 inches, and tread widths from 52 to 60 inches. Priced at $495, it has been designed to drop onto a Ford, Chevrolet, Studebaker, Plymouth, Dodge, Willys, Mercury, or DeSoto chassis.
Since the older rodders have pretty well cornered the market on the ’32 Ford Roadster, Almquist has reproduced the famous Ford deuce body in glass. Featuring a built-in dash and integral skin-frame, the shell has been engineered to fit either narrow or wide frame chassis by trimming a section from the bottom of the body.
The door area is smooth, giving the builder a choice of square or “pod-shaped” cut outs. The rear deck has two large, projecting pods for “thru-type” exhaust pipes, or vertical tail lights. Weighing in at only 45 pounds, and including a fiberglass installation kit, the El Deuce is priced at $175.
In addition to their shells, Almquist stocks a sizable list of optional accessories to fit their cars, from hood blisters (optional on Speedster I and II) and air scoops, to windshields, grille and bucket seats. They are also one of the nation’s leading speed equipment supply houses.
Thoughts On The Article:
In 1960, Almquist was on the prowl. We’ve talked about their El Morocco fiberglass sports car in an earlier story here at Forgotten Fiberglass – click here to review the story on the Almquist El Morocco. And I’d love to find the Renault based “Sabre” that is mentioned above. I’m still a Renault crazy guy after all these years 🙂
Maybe good friend and Clearfield Plastic confidant, Clark Mitchell, will post some of his thoughts on the Almquist offering below. Click here if you haven’t had a chance to check out Clark’s car – fresh from its appearance last year at the Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours d’ Elegance.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
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I have acquired a saber body that has been sitting for 20 years never assembled on a frame or painted. I believe it was the Crosley automobile size I might be number 2 or number 1. I owned a favor back in late seventies early eighties with a Crosley drivetrain so I’m somewhat familiar with them. I would like to pass this two-piece shell on to another enthusiast. The nose piece is very good but needed some patching. Both doors are good. It has the optional headlight pieces that attached to the front fenders. But the rear clip forward of the wheel wells has been broken off the pieces are missing. Some damage also to the rear bottom area. Let me know what you think I’m in Illinois 100 miles west of Chicago.