Recently we wrote about the Tornado cars here at Forgotten Fiberglass – click here to review that story – and comments came in from all ‘round in the Forgotten Fiberglass world. It’s great that the story attracted so much attention – the Tornado cars (Thunderbolt, Tempest, Typhoon, and more) are quite well known in the UK and even in other parts of the world. But they are still gaining ground in terms of people’s knowledge of them here in the states.
Dave Perry and Alden Jewell are helping to celebrate their knowledge of these cars and share with others. Let’s see what they have to share today.
Dave Perry and Old School Restorations:
Dave Perry runs the highly respected Old School Restorations in North Alabama, and as his home page states…
“Vintage Sports Rods and Race Cars Return to the Real World Through This Shop in North Alabama”
Dave’s shop is one of the few places which focuses on vintage sports cars with an emphasis on the fiberglass handcrafted cars we have come to appreciate. Click here to visit the website for Old School Restorations.
When Dave reviewed our story about Tornado cars mentioned at the beginning of this post, he jumped in and shared information about it via e-mail. Here’s what Dave shared with me at that time:
A couple of points about your post regarding the Tornado (click here to review that story)
The Typhoon is not a body that will fit on the long chassis of an MGA. It is for an 86″ wheelbase – more like the TR3. There may be some confusion caused by the pictures of my Typhoon that are on the MGA guru’s website that have been repeated elsewhere. Click here to review the story on the MGA Guru website about the Typhoon.
I bought that Typhoon from that ad mentioned in the story, and the ad/ebay claimed it was for an MGA frame…but it was NOT. The MGA wheelbase is 8 ” too long. I later sold it in Europe with a TR chassis.
Hope this helps.
You’ll notice that Dave also commented at the bottom of the MGA Guru website – he’s doing his best to get the right information about these cars to those interested. Much appreciated Dave!
Alden Jewell Shares Another Piece of Tornado History:
Alden Jewell’s automotive literature archive is like the warehouse in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” He sent me a photo of his literature warehouse recently – see below.
From this vast archive comes a great article on Tornado and the Typhoon, and while we know the magazine, we don’t know the month or year it was published. Perhaps one of the Forgotten Fiberglass Aficionados can help out there. In the meantime, let’s check out what Alden has shared with us about the Tornado Car Company and the Typhoon.
Build Your Own Car:
Mechanix Illustrated (unknown month and year)
Over in Blighty the growing demand for a sporting rig that won’t cut too deeply into the owner’s shillings and pence has resulted in a number of “you-build-it-kits.” A very classy example is the Typhoon. Designed and built by a very new corporation, Tornado Cars, Ltd., the Typhoon is a chassis-and-body kit job that goes with Standard English Ford parts.
The Ford parts should cost about $85, the kit $570 and you will need some extras such as tools and Band-Aids. The body is laminated glass fiber and is styled just right for men who like Limey looks with somewhat swashbuckling overtones – a bit of the old Allard or D Jaguar.
Without overstatement, the maker claims the Typhoon has been pitted against a late-model sport car and more than held its own.
Given the language in the Mechanix Illustrated story above, this might have been in a UK-version only that was published of the magazine. Or….it could have ran in the states but with some language modification. Time will tell and I’m sure we’ll find the reference with month and year soon – from the world-wide fiber-gang.
Thanks again to Dave Perry and Alden Jewell for making today’s article possible.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
I’m pretty sure this was the United States version of Mechanix Illustrated. For one thing, I remember seeing the article. The second is at the the bottom of the page it says “Mechanix Illustrated,” and does not identify it as a British or U.K. version. The one in the photos appears to have a Ford flathead 4 cylinder. I’ll bet many owners used a larger Ford 4 cylinder engine.
As an aside, there were many cottage industry car builders in England in the 1950’s and ’60’s using fiberglass 9GRP) bodies. These were available in the U.K. as kits to avoid tax. Makers included Lotus, Marcos, Tornado, Peerless, Turner, TVR and others. There were others like Blakely and Arkley who made parts to customize other British cars. Lotus is the only one still with us, but some of the others, like TVR hung around for decades and made lots of cars, both in kit forma and fully assembled. Almost all borrowed there mechanical bits for the big british manufacturers, which weren’t that big by U.S. standards. Lots of things, like brake and electrical components came from only a couple of manufacturers for the entire industry, so fiberglass car manufactures had there pick of the same parts that the big companies were using. Most used standard BMC, Ford of Triumph/Leyland running gear. The fiberglass scene in the U.K. was much more developed than in the United States and lasted longer.
I love the shape of this car, great lines, looks fast just sitting there.