The Saga of Spohn – LeSabre Influenced Designs for American Customs

GM’s 1951 Showcar: LeSabre

Hi Gang…

Rear Showing Beautifully Styled LeSabre Fins

A few weeks ago, we discussed the first fiberglass car in Germany which was built by the coachbuilder “Spohn” in 1955.  Spohn was well known before World War II, and has been credited with beautiful automotive designs – worthy of special recognition – for many years.   But I wouldn’t have noticed them as much as I have if not for their work in the postwar era creating custom cars for American Servicemen.

GM’s showcar LeSabre was introduced to the American public in 1951.  What a beautiful design it was.  And for those of us who attended Amelia Island in March 2010, we had a chance to see it directly next to our Forgotten Fiberglass Class.  After the LeSabre was put on display in Europe, it had a profound effect on builders overseas as well, but the biggest impact was on the coachbuilder Spohn.

Spohn decided to offer the rear treatment shown on the LeSabre showcar – on many of their own cars – particularly those designed for American Servicemen.  This treatment was found on many cars that found their way back here to America.  And many of these cars are now surfacing today.  For example, I recently found a Spohn Veritas in the northern Illinois area myself.  See picture below.

Spohn’s use of LeSabre Designed Fins

But how do these relate to fiberglass?  Well…. I’m sure not all of these “LeSabre” influenced designs are just aluminum or metal – some could be fiberglass.  I’ve seen American customs using this same treatment and no doubt some of these customs were fiberglass in construction.  It was easier for the average – yet ambitous – person to use fiberglass in their construction, so this would make sense.  .  So given the number of cars I’ve seen with this “LeSabre” treatment, I thought I would provide a bit of context for those of you seeing these cars – or finding them – for the first time.

The article below appeared in the November 1953 issue of Motor Trend, and reviewed the history of Spohn.  It shows many of the cars they created.  This is the most comprehensive article I’ve found to date on this coachbuilder and the custom cars they produced in the postwar era.  I thought many of you might enjoy reading about this history – and seeing some of these cars.

Also, be sure to checkout out my good friend Sondre Kvipt’s Kustomrama website.  There’s a great feature there on GM LeSabre Lookalike cars that were built back in the day.  Click here for the webpage at Kustomrama.  You’ll love what you see.

Recently Found Spohn Custom in Illinois

I hope you enjoy the article below and I welcome any pictures of other LeSabre influenced custom cars posted in our Fiberglass Forums for this story.

Glass on gang…



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