I wish I could have been there – the last Petersen Motorama of the 1950s.
The actual name was “The 6th Annual International Motor Review” but that was the name change forced on Petersen in 1954 by an overly aggressive General Motors. Few people have compared and contrasted the two Motoramas but GM and Petersen were going head-to-head in the 50s – at least in Los Angeles.
GM Motoramas were held from 1949 through 1956 skipping years 1951 and 1952. Petersen Motoramas were consecutive from 1950 through 1955. After ’55, Petersen wouldn’t hold another Motorama until 1966 – nine years later.
And the Petersen show in ’55 was amazing. This was the last big year of of the early fiberglass specials. Names such as Victress, Bangert, Sorrell, Viking-Craft, Woodill and other luminaries of the fiberglass world were there to amaze the audience – for 10 days straight. However, starting in 1956 these names would begin to fade into history and new names would begin to appear such as Devin, LaDawri, Kellison, and Bocar. This year – 1955 – was the last big year for what we now call “First Generation Fiberglass Sports Cars.”
If I could go back in time to this show in 1955 with my digital camera….what amazing sights I would bring back for all of us to see 🙂
Such as the debut of Hank McCormack’s custom car – the “McCormack.” Yes, you can add his name to the list above of fiberglass sports cars that appeared in ’55 at the Motorama, and today’s article is the earliest in print that we’ve found so far showing the McCormack to a wide-eyed public.
Although it’s just a short note and photo, here’s what the photo showed and the caption shared:
Hank McCormack produced these cars though about 1960 when he sold the molds to “Track Kraft” who continued to market the McCormack under a new model name – the “TK-103.” However, by the summer of 1961, the molds and company were for sale again, and no further information of these cars was ever seen.
And as for the other fiberglass cars that appeared at the 1955 Petersen Motorama….Victress, Bangert, Sorrell, Viking-Craft, Woodill and others….. you’ll read about those and how they fared at the ’55 Petersen Motorama in future stories here at Forgotten Fiberglass.
In the meantime, you can check out this same show in 1955 by reading the the full story below – covered in 6 glorious pages of Car Craft Magazine from January, 1956 – ready and willing for your eyes to behold. Just click on each picture below to review the full story on an enlarged image on your screen. Scroll down to the bottom of the page now to begin.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
Click on the Images Below to View Larger Pictures
i remember the mccormack family i grew up with them and played in that car and road with my brother don around orange Ca. I would love to find one and restore it to the way hank had it.
i did find one in austraila but could not get in contact with the owner.If you hear of a body of the sporty car ,i would call it to hank was hanks hot wheels , let me know ,
The first time I saw this car on the cover of a magazine I never dreamed it was fiberglass, I thought it was a” Barris Kustom” or a G.M. dream car. Hank did a great job!
No question the McCormack is impressive, backyard built or not… A real shame there were not more of these. The true definition of good design is how well it holds up over the years, and this one clearly does.
One of the “other” fiberglass cars at this show was the ’53 Cadillac LeMans that was customized by George Barris for Harry Karl’s ex-wife. I’m fairly certain that this car still exists.
It burned to the ground in the 80s. Two of the four still exist, one in private hands and the other which was modified in 1959 by GM and is still owned by them.
“If I could go back in time to this show in 1955 with my digital camera….what amazing sights I would bring back for all of us to see.”
Sounds like the makings of a great Dr. Who episode!