Here’s another great article about a beautifully built Spohn custom car. There has been some discussion about where the styling came from in terms of “timing.” Who did what – when, where, and first?
So far, we have found no truth to the rumor that Harley Earl saw what Spohn was doing and copied those features for both of his showcars – the GM LeSabre and the Buick XP300. The evidence in terms of timing in magazine articles as well as Josef Eiwanger’s (who owned and ran Spohn Coachworks in the ‘40s and ‘50s) participation in an article about Spohn in the ‘70s, confirm exactly where the styling came from – GM first; Spohn second.
What’s interesting about the car in today’s story, is that it is the earliest documented (so far) with the styling features discussed above. In fact, it may have been the first one. Let’s see what the article had to say 🙂
Eleven years ago the underpinning of this slick and different custom car was a stock and very ordinary Ford. That was before it went to Germany with Major Jack T. Chandler of the USAAF by way of Huntsville, Texas. Influenced by the Buick XP300 and the Le Sabre, Major Chandler did the designing but turned over the building to Ravensburg Gaerm, a company that had customized cars for Herr Goebbels in the Hitler era.
Unlike many custom jobs, the Major’s design features normal road clearance and window height. Hood and rear deck lids are double steel. Although all parts are hand-formed, the fit and contour are remarkably smooth. The quick release top is formed of steel, covered with fabric and padded.
The hood follows the pattern of the German Veritas racing car and features a ram scoop which feeds air directly into the single carburetor. Body structure is of welded tubular steel and the bumpers are also hand-formed.
Interior is finished in heavy plastic, tan and green. The front seat is divided with a radio enclosed in the center section. Power plant, while the Major was in German, was a ’41 Ford. However, now that he’s home, Major Chandler is planning changes under the hood.
His Spohn…..trade name of the German firm….may soon sport a new overhead valve power plant, Major Chandler says.
As I mentioned before, this is the earliest article that Wayne Graefen and I have found yet showing the styling taken from both the GM LeSabre and Buick XP 300 show cars. And, the Chandler Spohn may be the prototype for all Spohn customs with this front and rear end treatment – based on what is shared in terms of the article above.
The earliest article about Spohn ’50s customs that we have been able to document was printed in June ’52 Motor Trend, and these GM styling features were NOT exhibited on this car.
More research, more documentation, more work, and more fun with researching Spohn custom cars remain!
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…