What People Are Saying About Undiscovered Classics
We’ve honored to be recognized by established leaders in the field, historians, journalists and more. Here are some of the quotes from across the world about who we are and what we do.
Autoweek Magazine’s Thoughts on Undiscovered Classics
Instead of bidding on (or buying) cars that come with a concours invitations attached, Geoff Hacker and his team are finding intriguing, long-forgotten (and relatively affordable) cars and building cases for their historical significance. Time and again, their enthusiasm has opened doors to some of the country’s top concours.
If the concours scene is going to survive in the coming years, it’s going to have to embrace the “Undiscovered Classics” and emerging trends. So go forth and seek the cars you find intriguing, whether or not they’re worth boatloads of money, and you too may find yourself cruising onto the concours green.
If you do end up with something special, Hacker’s model is one that you’d do well to emulate. Unlike the typical, secretive owners, they’re nothing but transparent about what they do, which lets guys like me share every step of the previously mysterious process with all of you.
Their objective is to make the whole process engaging and informative and maybe even fun — not something you usually say about a stranger’s car restoration. They would have succeeded even if they hadn’t let me hop behind the wheel the morning of the concours. Not that I was about to stop them
- Graham Kozak, Autoweek Magazine. From the article “Thrill of a Lifetime: Driving The Leo Lyons Mercury Onto the Lawn at Pebble Beach” September 2, 2015 Click Here To Review Autoweek’s Full Article
In attempting to capture the significance and passion inherent in Undiscovered Classics, I can’t seem to shake the graphic allusion to Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark on the former’s website. Although I would aspire to be more original, that theme absolutely nails the essence of their journey and the value of their achievements.
Geoff Hacker and his crew are indeed scholars who embark on perilous adventures to obtain rare artifacts. Literally. I’ve seen them in action. They’re obsessive and not afraid to get dirty digging. And, by making the liberated treasures universally accessible on the web, it’s like they have given anyone who’s interested a virtual key and detailed map to the implausibly giant warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant was stored.
Their subjects are not only mostly forgotten, but often previously unheralded — allowing us to reconstruct and appreciate what would otherwise be completely lost or conveniently ignored. (I know a venture capitalist or two who could learn a thing or two about “due diligence” from these folks!)
As a beneficiary of their selfless archaeology and curation, I found myself staring in awe at the screen as an inexhaustible series of inventions unfolded — just like the first time I saw the original Raiders movie… Wow!
- Dan Post is the only son of early automotive publisher and historian, Daniel R. Post. He has long had an affinity for glass bodies, learning to drive in a 1958 Berkeley B65 328 well before he hit puberty. “While other kids were admiring rock album covers, I was getting pretty familiar with the Bohman & Schwartz portfolio,” he recalls. Now a 35 year veteran of Silicon Valley, Dan led major advertising, public relations and design agencies, served as CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) for two public companies, edited several pioneering technology magazines, and authored a number of books, including one on Porsches. He continues to work directly with the leaders of some of the world’s most innovative companies, including Apple, Disney, Ford and Google.
Experts and Industry Leaders
Geoff is always in the outer fringes of the automobile culture, finding the weird, rare, and wonderful. He has singlehandedly brought attention to cars that would otherwise be cast off. I envy his ability to find the unusual and exciting design studies and dreams from the 50’s. He is amazing……plus I want a Woodill Wildfire……
- Bill Warner has been around automobiles his entire life. As a teenager he worked at the local VW and imported car dealership. After college he worked for Sports Car Graphic Magazine and Road & Track Magazine. His photographs and writing has appeared in most of the well known automotive magazines and his awards are numerous. In 1975 Bill ran a Porsche 911 in the infamous Cannonball run and has raced in a Brabham BT-8, a Datsun B210, GT3 cars and many others, winning many awards. He’s restored numerous vintage automobiles and in 1996 he founded The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance which is one of the top concours events in the world. In 2002 Bill was awarded the Meguiar’s Automobile Hobby Person of the Year. In 2003 he was inducted into the Road Racing Driver’s Club by Brian Redmond and Bobby Rahal. He is on the Steering Committee of the LeMay-America’s Automobile Museum and his awards and involvement in the hobby go on, and on, and on. Bill also served for 30 years in the Florida Air National Guard retiring at the rank of Major.
Florida fiberglass fancier Geoff Hacker continue to amaze with their research and discoveries. They’re resurrecting dozens of long forgotten cars from an exuberant, experimental era. Every week, there’s something new. It’s nothing short of remarkable.
Geoff enthusiasm, dedication, and entertaining yet scholarly presentation makes you want to stop whatever you’re doing and devour the latest installment. “Undiscovered Classics” won’t be forgotten much longer with this intrepid sleuth on the prowl.
- Ken Gross is an automotive historian, author, speaker, former Director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, Californian. Most recently, Ken Gross has been recognized as the co-winner of the 2014 Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism.
I have the utmost admiration, respect, and appreciation for Dr. Geoffrey Hacker who not only brought attention to the fiberglass car era but also other handcrafted cars of earlier and later era’s. All the cars associated with these era’s have played a significant influence on America’s auto history and our social/cultural values.
Not only has Geoff (which we all know him by) brought attention to these cars, but he has also done remarkable research on them, purchased a number, has written extensively on most, and has collected plus shared much information, materials, photos and history. He has significantly helped collectors, enthusiasts and others by sharing all this information through social media outlets, articles, publications and many times through personal communications. Geoff has also shown and/or arranged showing other owners’ vehicles at various car shows and Concours obtaining exposure to these cars and in effect an appreciation for them.
Geoff can be called the “World’s Expert” on these handcrafted cars of many era’s (dry lake cars of the 30’s, sport customs of the mid 40″s, fiberglass cars of the 50’s, as well as other handcrafted creations mainly up to the 70’s.
Through his time, effort, passion, enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment, combined with his academic background skills, extensive knowledge and his outgoing personality/communication skills he has reached many enthusiasts, collectors, and others to learn more (and appreciate) these cars.
His ability to find these one off or very limited handcrafted cars is truly remarkable. Actually unheard of and he has not received his due.
I have had the honor, and pleasure of working with Geoff and greatly enjoy our conversations, debates, but most of all my better understanding of these cars and how they affected America Automobile History and growing up to be a car nut!
- Paul Sable is an automotive historian, author, overall car enthusiast and a fervent collector of hybrid cars of the 1950s such as the Hudson-Italia, Nash-Healey, Facel-Vega, Dual Ghia, etc. His current restoration projects include a 1949 Kurtis-Sport and a 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic. Paul is also currently conducting research on fiberglass cars of the late 40’s and early 50’s, plus information on the Fina-Sport.
I’ve been personally involved with fiberglass car design for more than six decades at levels from do-it-yourself to volume production (specifically Chevrolet Corvettes in the Fifties), so I know a little bit about the subject from direct experience. But I continue to learn more from the amazing revelations that keep popping up in Geoff Hacker’s Undiscovered Classics project.
The constant — one might even say, obsessive — research on the origins and evolution of using fiberglass reinforced resin moldings for car bodies has resulted in a comprehensive history that exists nowhere else. From a personal blog to an almost encyclopedic collection of ancient publications, personal stories, and rare photos, Hacker has created an invaluable resource for both automotive and social historians, a resource that will remain valuable for decades to come.
It’s a little hokey (“Glass on, gang!”) and seems disjointed much of the time, but it’s also accurate, encompassing, fascinating and constantly interesting. No matter what degree of interest you may have, there is something for you in Undiscovered Classics. We should all hope that Hacker’s passion remains at the high level that has brought the concept so far in so short a time.
- Robert Cumberford is a designer who became a writer by accident. His race report on the 12 Hours of Sebring was published when he was an eighteen-year-old Art Center student in 1954. Subsequently he has published thousands of articles on cars and airplanes, in American, Asian, English, European, and South American magazines. He contributed to several books, including the entire text of the well-reviewed Auto Legends, now available in five translated editions — French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Polish in addition to the original English version. In 1985, Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis, Jr., invited him to be one of two executive editors when Automobile was in the planning stages. Cumberford demurred, saying he knew nothing about magazine production and claims he still doesn’t, except that it’s important to meet deadlines. He contributed features from the beginning and began his popular “By Design” column in the sixth issue, September 1986. Click here to learn more about Robert’s background.
Here was a website dedicated to these amazing creative efforts with a new material that inspired enthusiasts to strike out on their own, creating new designs that satisfied their tastes and those of enthusiasts who snapped up their bodies and chassis to build sports cars of remarkable ability on both road and track.
From its founding, Undiscovered Classics has spread its wings to cover other early post-war creative efforts. Uniquely it has been able to dig deep into the stories of their creators, unearthing new material about the men and companies that made these bodies and cars. This was of tremendous value to me when I set out to update my early Corvette history, “America’s Star-Spangled Sports Car”.
I wanted to be as definitive as possible about the origins of GRP, the first people to use it and the train of events that led to Chevrolet’s historic choice of GRP for the bodies of the Corvettes. Undiscovered Classics only reminded me just how complex this story was!
Now the website is reorganizing to make access to its million words of information more accessible to researchers and enthusiasts. I commend Geoff Hacker and his colleagues for this initiative, which will make Undiscovered Classics as useful as it is entertaining.
To add to that I can only say, “Keep up the good work!”
- Karl Ludvigsen has received wide recognition for his work as an editor, journalist, speaker, historian and author. Not only has he been employed at senior levels with Ford of Europe, Fiat North America, and General Motors, but he has also been involved in editorial roles with Motor Trend magazine, Auto Age, and Sports Car Illustrated and Car and Driver.
Geoffrey Hacker has created a remarkable and uniquely reliable resource in “Undiscovered Classics”. Their extensive and wide-ranging body of research can be cross-referenced, and is all the more significant because they often track down the original families and sometimes the surviving car-builders themselves, to celebrate and preserve these special cars and the stories associated with them.
“Undiscovered Classics” provides real value and increased preservation and long overdue recognition of these interesting cars and their important place in automobile history and culture.
- Wayne Cherry was vice president of General Motors Design from 1992 to 2004. He was only the fifth person in the history of the corporation to hold that position. When he retired, he left behind a record of bold, innovative automotive designs and get well-deserved credit for having led GM Design into its current renaissance. Click here to learn more about Wayne Cherry’s background.
Despite all of the research compiled on the seemingly countless topics relating to automotive history, there have remained a few exceptionally important areas that have not been thoroughly researched and documented. But thanks to Geoff Hacker, you can no longer count fiberglass cars among them.
Once scorned, fiberglass bodied cars have risen to prominence in the automobile enthusiast community thanks in large part to the authors’ efforts to educate the public about what they are and what makes them special. Geoff has devoted countless hours to compiling the most comprehensive array of material about fiberglass cars that has ever been assembled.
And their enduring dedication to rounding out the historical record has yielded what can only be regarded as the definitive work on the subject. Whether volume produced or one-of-a-kind, fiberglass cars are now being conserved, preserved and restored as never before.
Now all enthusiasts will have the means to understand why.
- Leslie Kendall was born in San Diego, California and has had an insatiable, life-long interest in automobiles and automotive history from an early age. He was invited to join the team responsible for creating the Petersen Automotive Museum in April 1993 and in October 1995 was named curator. He is a regular contributor to automotive media outlets (both print and broadcast), a concours d’elegance judge at events around the country, and frequently consults on automotive history related, public- and private-sector projects.
Geoff has enthusiastically synthesized decades of critical automotive history which, by now, would surely have been long lost had they not secured the living stories, archived photographic and written references, and physically rescued actual cars from extinction. Their combined academic methods and personal “car guy” approach makes them empathetic stewards unlike any other in the collector car world. Geoff has become modern automotive archaeologists detailing historic references and presenting their findings with sensitivity and candor for all enthusiasts to enjoy.
One would be hard pressed in any automotive study to find the amount of detail and thoughtful reference correlations that Geoff has collected over the years. Not satisfied to limit their searches to factual presentations, Undiscovered Classics studies the designs, marketing, publications, relevant social and cultural movements of the times, and fuses it all together in a compelling series of stories where the passionate designers and builders feature as prominently as the beautiful vehicles they constructed.
- Raffi Minasian is a designer, professor, and journalist focused on the intersection of Design and Culture. He’s a frequent speaker and panelist for automotive themed conferences, concours d’elegance judge, and a vintage sports car enthusiast. Over the past 30 years, Raffi has designed and built several award-winning show cars, hundreds of scale model cars, thousands of automotive accessory parts, and worked in partnership with a wide range of fabrication studios building custom cars, hot rods, and concours restoration projects.
Jules “J” Heumann
Fiberglass has shrunk from view as a new car component but it was paramount to the development of early car bodies during the fifties; witness the Corvette, starting in 1953. Thanks to Geoff Hacker and his research, we can access their website Undiscovered Classics and feast upon the many splendid examples of this early plastics material as employed primarily for sports car bodies.
- Jules Heumann – “J.” to his many friends throughout the automotive world – has been a guiding light to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for over four decades. J. and Lorin Tryon served together as Co-Chairmen of the event from 1972 through 1998, elevating the Pebble Beach Concours to its premier status. After Lorin’s death in early 1999, J. continued to serve as Chairman for another year, then added the word Emeritus to his title. Within the early postwar fiberglass sports car world, “J’s” accomplishments are legendary. Starting in 1952, “J” spent nearly 3000 hours designing and building a unique one-off special based on Singer (UK) running gear. He completed this car in 1955 and kept it for several years before moving to his next sports car – a Jaguar. Click here to read more about “J’s” handcrafted one-off 1955 Singer Special.
“Geoff Hacker has been the king of automotive snipe hunters for the past many years, bringing back to life dozens of rare and historically interesting cars that most enthusiasts either never knew existed or had written off as extinct.” – Quote by Harold Pace from chapter in Tom Cotter’s 2010 book “Corvette in the Barn” on our work as Undiscovered Classics.
When I first became interested in fiberglass kit and specialty cars way back in the 1990s, the world was a lonely place. The fledgling internet was poorly stocked with accurate information, and meeting fellow enthusiasts was difficult and time-consuming. Suddenly, Geoff Hacker showed up and the flood doors were opened!
Thanks to Undiscovered Classics, not only is locating information on rare American specialty cars a snap, but the forums make connecting to kindred spirits easy, fun and informative. By giving these cars the attention and respect they deserve, Geoff has also taken them from ridicule to trophy winners at some of the most respected concours events in the country.
Thanks, guys, and keep up the good work!
- Harold Pace is an award-winning photojournalist who scours the globe to bring back images and articles for the automotive publishing industry. His extensive knowledge of the automotive scene makes him one of the world’s top experts on American and European limited-edition automobiles, historic racing cars and hot rods. Pace’s personal research library includes over 4,000 magazines, 500+ books and hundreds of historic catalogs and sales brochures.
Merrill Powell – Victress Manufacturing
On September 19, 2006, I received a life-changing telephone call from Dr. Geoffrey Hacker, a Florida college professor, inquiring as to whether I was the Merrill Powell who had been involved in the manufacture of Victress fiberglass sport car bodies in the 1950s. I answered in the affirmative, and thus began what has become a treasured friendship, and an opportunity to recount my recollections of people, conditions, and events in those early fiberglass years.
As one of the “living artifacts” dug up by automotive archaeologist Geoff Hacker, I am continually amazed by the breadth and depth of their explorations, and the organization and presentation of their findings. The ever-expanding product of their efforts is filling a void in the history of American automobile development that few people even knew existed.
Their research has resulted in, and benefited from, an ever-growing network of like-minded car buffs. Most importantly for me, they have created new and renewed friendships, and an immensely satisfying opportunity to contribute to the search for Undiscovered Classics.
- Merrill Powell started working at the Boyce-Smith Company in late 1953, and by early 1954 he had invested in – and became partners with – Doc Boyce-Smith. The newly formed company was incorporated as Victress Manufacturing Company, Inc. His activities at Victress over the years included design and development of the C-2 and C-3 coupes as well as tool design and prototype development for a variety of commercial, industrial, military, and aeronautical products. Following the sale of Victress to LaDawri in 1961, and a brief foray to the fringes of the motion picture industry, Merrill entered the aerospace world as a human factors engineer working on Titan II, Project Apollo, hospital systems analysis, Panama Canal marine traffic control, and finally Apache and other helicopter development before retiring in 1993.
When Geoff Hacker came to visit me and my fiberglass concept car, the TDX, I was amazed at their passion and commitment to the work they were doing. They were in the midst of traveling thousands of miles to interview people and retrieve cars from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey before they returned to their base in Florida.
Although I too had been involved with fiberglass cars in those early days, I could not believe how many cars Geoff had discovered, documented and sometimes actually recovered. They have devoted a great deal of their time and personal resources to telling the story of these cars and the people who built them. Some still have their creations. and they make use of the latest technology to ferret out the cars and their history.
Unlike auto enthusiasts who create car registries, Geoff builds an in depth history backed with facts, photos and even interviews with friends and families of the original builders. Thanks to both of these “car guys,” a forgotten era in Americas sports car history will now be remembered.
- Pat Amendolia was good friends with Jim Rockefeller who designed what would become one of the earlier fiberglass sports cars in 1952 – the Rockefeller Yankee. Pat continued working with his friend Jim and started a fiberglass company called “ANROC” – a combination of his and Rockefeller’s last name which produced smaller versions of fiberglass cars for children and other industrial ‘glass products too. In the 1960s, Pat created one of his most famous works – the TDX sports car which was all plastic composite down to the material used for the drive shaft. You can learn more about Pat’s work at his website: www.plasticautos.com
Handcrafted Car Experts
What a resource……… “Undiscovered Classics” by Geoff Hacker et. al., is unquestionably the most significant resource for those interested in the early fiberglass cars, since Harold Pace wrote “ The Big Guide to Kit & Specialty Cars “
Having owned over a hundred of these cars since the early-mid 50’s, and as I continue with OldSchool Restorations of North Alabama USA, I have a close connection with much of this industry’s Generation1 and Generation 2 cars – the designs built before the 1970 kit car revolution.
Since my first emails with him in 2006, Geoff has gone beyond my expectations in researching these early cars, and without doubt, has become THE authority on Postwar American Sports and ‘sporty type’ cars, most of which were built in Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic.
To say I am glad he became interested in these cars would be an understatement. Whereas I am interested in preserving the cars, Geoff is focused on the History, and his results are outstanding. He will be referred to and enjoyed by many – long after we are gone.
I am sure that anyone with an interest in the American Automobile will find the results of his efforts informative, and interesting…..since Geoff’s writing style also shows his charismatic love for the cars.
- Dave Perry has done it all with handcrafted cars. Historian, restorer, and owner of “Old School Restorations” which focuses on restoration of vintage handcrafted cars from the ‘50s and ‘60s, Dave has been in the business concerning handcrafted cars for over 50 years. Click here for more information about Dave Perry.
Designers and Builders
Your website, Undiscovered Classics, is a masters work of automotive history….
- Chuck Tatum started his racing career in Stockton, California in the late 1940s rising to prominence in race car building and driving through the 1950s west coast racing scene. Friends with well-known builders and designers of the day including Bob Sorrell, Jim Kellison, Chuck Manning, Jack Hagemann, and others. Chuck was also a stunt driver of his own car – the Tatum Special – in the 1954 movie “Johnny Dark” which starred Tony Curtis, Piper Laurie, and Don Taylor.
Collectors and Enthusiasts
It’s unusual for a couple of guys to accomplish something no one else has done and help thousands of people while doing it. That’s what Geoff Hacker has done. They have collected arguably all available information about all early fiberglass bodied sports cars and made it available to all of us. It’s all on their exceptional website: Undiscovered Classics – it’s impressive.
Here’s what it’s about: enterprising individuals built their own sports cars, custom assembling them largely from all sorts of available components. Cars were simple then. Basically, they would take an existing “donor” frame, bolt on an engine on it and mount an attractive fiberglass body over it. The result: unique and extraordinary sports cars. They turned out well, too.
Road & Track asked it’s readers in 1957 about the Byers SR100: “Is this America’s most beautiful sports car?” Hello, Corvette and Thunderbird! There are countless other interesting and little known marques awaiting you on their website.
Geoff has shared that over 1,000,000 people have visited their website so far. It’s great stuff. Go there.
- Phil Fleming is an arudent enthusiast, collector, restorer, and Devin sports car owner. Having grown up in the 50s in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, (near Detroit) Phil had a ringside seat to the cars, designers, and trends from those that worked and lived nearby. Phil’s Devin has won numerous awards – most notably from Amelia Island Concours e’Elegance, Greenwich Concours, and the Hemmings Concours d’Elegance.
If it’s glass, automotive and American you can bet it has been covered thoroughly by Geoff Hacker and their fabulous site Undiscovered Classics. I am blown away at the amount of new knowledge and history these two guys have dug up over the past several years.
I am thrilled to see American cars once again at the forefront of the vintage car hobby and the Lions share of the credit goes to their efforts. This has been my dream for the past 60+ years. Keep up the good work, guys.
- Fred Roth along with his wife Deanna and son Christopher have a remarkable collection of American sports cars from the early 1950s. They maintain the website www.AmericanSportsCars.com that shares their collection and the history of these cars with a worldwide audience. Fred was also one of the first to recognize the importance of limited production handcrafted American sports cars, and the first article he assisted with about these cars appeared in a 1974 issue of Special Interest Autos Magazine.
Undiscovered Classics has been a huge inspiratio
- Joel Driskill is passionate about all of his interests from vintage cars, to early rock n’ roll, and his profession in the aerospace industry. You can follow his progress on building a faithful recreation of the Chuck Manning Special by clicking here.
Kenneth Brosk (Germany)
Hi Geoff. I really need to tell you that you have created something that I enjoy so very much! I am sure I speak for many others in our hobby. Your enthusiasm, devotion et. al. really shines through in the articles you are constantly putting on the site.
It’s easy to see that much effort is being expended in the development of material. I just prioritized my hobby activities in that I read HMN, SIA and now Undiscovered Classics and the rest of the US stuff I just let slide as I need room for the French, Italian and German stuff too.
Sure wished the day had more hours in it!
- Kenneth Brosk is a collector and enthusiast from Germany currently restoring a sample of Foreign Fiberglass – an Ockelbo sports car sold/built in Sweden in the 1950s.
Authors and Historians
What Geoff does is highlight and document a forgotten, yet significant, slice of automotive history: backyard carrozzeria. Americans of modest means designed, built and sometimes raced home-built sports cars, comprised mostly of junkyard parts and covered with sleek fiberglass bodies.
To have witnessed these Specials competing against and occasionally beating “proper” European machines from Jaguar, Aston Martin and Ferrari would have been a priceless experience. The hard work and research these two enthusiasts accomplish deserves nothing less than the automotive equivalent of an Academy Award.
- Tom Cotter is a regular contributor to Road & Track and the New York Times, the author of several best-selling automotive-rescue books, The Cobra in the Barn, The Hemi in the Barn, The Vincent in the Barn and the Corvette in the Barn. He has also authored two biographies – Dean Jeffries, 50 Fabulous Years in Hot Rods, Racing and Film; and TV Tommy Ivo, Drag Racing’s Master Showman. He also co-authored an award-winning history of the legendary race team Holman-Moody. Before focusing on writing, Cotter built one of the most successful PR and marketing agencies in motorsports, with a client list that included NASCAR, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Dodge, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, SPEED Channel, Lowe’s, McDonald’s, Sears, General Foods and dozens of others. Cotter teaches at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina, runs marathons, races vintage sports cars and lives in Davidson, N.C. with his wife, Pat, and son, Brian.
To most people, the cars that Geoff Hacker researches, chase, rehabilitate and restore really are “Undiscovered Classics.” Thanks to this pair the profile of unusual and often unloved limited production cars and fiberglass bodies has been raised to a new level. The research is terrific, the cars are fun and innovative and, often, without Geoff many would be lost forever.
And this doesn’t even take into account the entertainment factor of their website “Undiscovered Classics.” If you haven’t seen it yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out and see what all the noise is about.
- Jonathan Stein is an automotive historian and writer, and the Associate Publisher of Hagerty’s magazine. He may be best known for his 12 years at Automobile Quarterly.
Only someone with a sincere and long-lasting dedication could examine the history of the hundreds of little-known cars which have sprung up across North America since World War II. Geoffrey Hacker has proven to be such a person. With the necessary time and wherewithal, he tenaciously checked the story of each car, by directly contacting the constructors and their associates, where possible, to get the exact story. Not only has this revealed the truth, but also corrected dates and other past information, which may have been in error, or misleading.
Thanks a million Geoff for preserving an area of automotive history, which has been too often ignored, or totally forgotten. R. Perry Zavitz
- Perry Zavitz is an author who has had a 50+ year career writing articles for automotive magazines across North America, and has also authored several books many focusing on the Canadian automotive industry. In the 1970s, he wrote a series of articles published in Car Classics magazine that became recognized as the first and most complete chronology and history of postwar automotive marques. For this effort, he was recognized by the Society of Automotive Historians (SAH) with the “Best Article Published” award (co-winner) in 1974 for his “Quarter Century Chronicle.” Perry work currently appears bi-weekly in the Canadian automotive magazine “Old Autos.” Click here to read more about Perry’s work.
Geoff….I’m honored to recognize the excellent and compelling job you’ve done researching and writing about these lost cars. For a writer-editor such as myself to be recognized for his work to the extent that you have praised my books, it’s really heartening. More so, to have one of the best collectors of odd/old plastic cars credit my research adds another star to my life. That you claim my book was part of your incentive to find these cars is a huge compliment. Then, to actually have found so many of them is truly amazing. Geoff….I thank you!
- George Dammann was the publisher of Crestline automotive book—a series of leather-bound books published from the late 1970s thru the 1990s. His collection is often considered one of the standard collection of books (Crestline Series) to have in any automotive library in the world. sis a automotive writer for Sports Car Digest and other e-magazines and websites. The specific book George was referencing in his quote was published in 1978 and is called the “Encyclopedia of American Cars: 1946-1959”.
Geoff Hacker, Ph.D. has launched a massive campaign to keep the brief but important era of fiberglass-bodied custom cars alive. Their sustained enthusiasm plus the thoroughness and accuracy of their research sets the standard for this fascinating period of automotive history.
- Michael Lamm, co-founder and first editor of Special Interest Autos, is also the author of many well-known and “must have” automotive books such as A Century of Automotive Style (co-authored with Dave Holls in 1996), The Fabulous Firebird (1990), The Great Camaro (1991), and most recently Cars I’ve Loved and Hated (2012). He is known and respected for his carefully researched subjects, detailed analysis, and very readable, enjoyable, and enlightening prose.
Geoff has been my friend for more than ten years. He has zealously documented and shared the history of previously little known and underappreciated vehicles. I am envious of his ability to research the background stories of these Undiscovered Classics in depth, including tracking down the builders and their families and telling their stories. He has saved innumerable interesting and often historically important cars, trucks and trailers from their demise. He has been the major force in keeping alive the history of this otherwise obscure genre of automotive history.
- Alden Jewell Alden Jewell was born on August 11, 1937 and began collection automobile literature in 1948 – when he was 11 years old. By 1950 when he was 13 years old, Alden began started writing to automobile manufacturers for literature and information – as well as visiting dealerships for information. He even asked dealerships to look in the attics for older literature and at least twice he was rewarded with pre-war literature. Just our kind of researcher here at Undiscovered Classics. Over the years, Alden has amassed one of the largest most impressive literature collections in the world.
It’s wonderful to see Hemmings covering these fiberglass American masterpieces of the 1950s. I have had the honor of knowing and working with Geoff Hacker and the team at Undiscovered Classics over the past few months and can say that there is no one site, or group of enthusiasts for that matter, that hold so much information and are so incredibly passionate about cars like that made by Victress.
These folks provide a reliable resource and database for the often overlooked fiberglass specials that were so abundant on the American motoring scene over 50 years ago. If only we could get that scene revived again today. Geoff and the gang do a great job keeping the resin fumes aloft, that’s for sure!
- Will Silk is a automotive writer for Sports Car Digest and other e-magazines and websites.
John Wheelock Freeman
It’s a comfort and an inspiration to know that thanks to Geoff’s work, a lot of our automotive history doesn’t have to be lost.
- John Wheelock Freeman update info here
TV, Radio and Website Personalities
I was so impressed with the passion that Geoff Hacker has for preserving the history of the fiberglass sports cars and the effect it had on American culture that I was compelled to tell their story in an episode on the AmeriCarna television series. It continues to appear on Velocity TV and now Motor Trend TV.
- Ray Evernham, driven by a passion for automobiles, started working on short track race cars at age 15 and never looked back. Since then, he has designed, built and driven some of the most advanced race cars known to man. In 1983, Evernham worked with Roger Penske and Jay Signore to resurrect the International Race of Champions (IROC) series. The opportunity offered Ray the chance to work with the world’s best racers, including Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip and Bill Elliott. In 1993, Ray was offered the opportunity to team with, up and coming driver, Jeff Gordon as his crew chief at Hendrick Motorsports. He would go on to revolutionize the crew chief role at NASCAR’s highest level of competition, as leader of the Rainbow Warriors. In 2006, the media voted Ray the greatest crew chief of all time, an honor he believes to be his highest recognition to date. In 2014, following a five-year absence from the competition side of NASCAR, Ray accepted a consulting position at Hendrick Motorsports. Now through his TV show AmeriCarna, Ray gets to share his passion for automobiles and reveal the untold stories of cars that have so heavily influenced American culture as we know it today.
It seems there is no barn too far away, nor any old blue tarp too shabby to be pulled back for Geoff Hacker to discover. Their never ending quest to find, research, reunite, and educate the automotive enthusiast seems to have no bounds. Undiscovered Classics is that place on the web where you can go and find yourself deep in the attic, uncovering long lost automobiles that you never knew existed or that you have heard about but want to know more.
Like Sherlock Holmes, they don’t simply show you their finds. They thoroughly explain the reasons, the history, the people, and their motives when it comes to limited production, hand made fiberglass cars. Without the spirit and tenacity of Geoff, most if not all of these wonderful vehicles would be lost to time and never be discovered.
- Mark Greene is the producer and host of Cars Yeah. A website and podcast where inspiring automotive enthusiasts share their passion for automobiles and how they have turned their avocation in the car hobby in to their vocation. You can find his interviews on line at www.carsyeah.com and on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and YouTube.
I want to start out saying I love this site! (Undiscovered Classics). Geoff Hacker does such a great job of gathering all the available information, as many related pictures as are known to mankind and then writes an easy to follow storyline sharing the story behind the car, sometimes the company and always the people. Great job!
You’re a great writer and a new evolution of Historian; the Online Automotive Historian. So much better than print, your work building this website is by default, the largest depository of “knowledge” about the true American Sports Cars with pictures, video, documentation, facts, contacts, and growing resources for even more information. Pretty cool.
- Mike Phillips is the host of Autogeek’s detailing how-to videos and Autogeek’s detailing tip segments featured on the My Classic Car TV show. In recent years he has also been featured in tip segments on the TV shows Two Guys Garage and Motorhead Garage.Mike also hosted Autogeek’s What’s In The Garage? TV show which saw a successful two-season run on the FOX Sports Network.
One of the most disturbing websites on the internet is Undiscovered Classics. There’s no weird porn, just the stories of hundreds of nearly successful-to-completely failed automotive projects built after WWII.
What makes it so unsettling is that you can see how many hours people put into these handmade cars. They used fiberglass because it was the simple, lightweight way to build small batches of intricate body panels. People built their own personal Ferraris in their garages, and there is little to show for them today.
- Raphael Orlove is a writer for the internet automotive website Jalopnik.
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