The Ads of Sorrell Engineering: Selling Bob Sorrell’s Sports Cars, 1955-1956

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Hi Gang…

I keep searching and searching and searching….but I’ve only ever found one ad for Sorrell Engineering – until today.

Good friend and automotive historian Alden Jewell sent me a second ad – a nice one that included a picture and more detail.  So now we have two ads for Sorrell Engineering.  Not many for a company which started in ’53, but let’s look at what we’ve found so far.

Ad 1:  1955 – Unknown Published Reference

This is the ad that Alden sent in to me earlier today.  It shows a picture of Denny Larsen’s Streetliner Sorrell bodied car, and a statement that should have read:

“Akton Miller and Mickey Thompson Using Sorrell Bodies in 1954 Mexican Road Race”

The Mexican Road Race ended in ’54, and Alden’s ad is hand-dated ’55 – so the reference above should be correct.  But we still don’t know where the ad appeared.  The paper is glossy and not magazine-like, so it’s probably from a race program.  Based on information on the back side of the ad, the location of the ad was in the Los Angeles, California area.  Research continues to correctly identify the printed reference for this ad.

It’s also neat to see Sorrell Engineering was advertising fiberglass and aluminum bodies – Sorrell was the only fiberglass manufacturer offering bodies of both materials that we are aware of at this time.

The first Sorrell body was made of aluminum at California Metal Shaping according to a conversation in 2007 with Dick Jones (Meteor) who was a friend of Bob Sorrell.  One day in ’53, Dick joined Bob and they went down to check on the progress of two Sorrell bodies being made.  By ’55 and/or ’56, Bob may have had the skills to start offering aluminum bodies himself – that certainly was the case many years later.

Ad 2:  Car Craft Magazine: March, 1956

The provenance of the following ad is known, and again Sorrell Engineering is offering aluminum or fiberglass bodies.  Pretty impressive!  In this ad he is offering additional styles with model specificity (SR-100 and SR-190) so it appears that this ad was printed after the first – as the handwritten date on Alden’s ad confirms too.

Sorrell Ad That Appeared in The March 1956 Issue of Car Craft Magazine

Summary:

So….how many more Sorrell Engineering ads will we find?

I hope many more, and each of you can help.  Check your magazines and send in the ads that you have for Sorrell Engineering and other fiberglass body manufacturers.  We continue to compile these for a complete listing, and make these available to everyone here at Forgotten Fiberglass in our Vintage Fiberglass Ad Gallery.

Click here to review our Vintage Fiberglass Ad Gallery

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…

Geoff


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Comments

The Ads of Sorrell Engineering: Selling Bob Sorrell’s Sports Cars, 1955-1956 — 5 Comments

  1. Hi Geoff, just clicked onto your vintage ad section , I didn’t know you had one! WOW! what great information, and when you roll your mouse over the picture it tells you what magazine its in, another great feature. I’m just pointing this out so that others don’t miss out. I’m always impressed with all the thought you put into everything you do!
    Thanks for bringing all us fiberglass nuts together!

  2. Bob Sorrell was also very gifted as a metal fabricator. He worked as part of our casual crew building the 1965 Halibrand Shrike Indianapolis Race Cars. Our 1964 cars sported all metal bodies and for 1965 we used metal as the engine covers and front cowling but the nose and tail were moulded of glass fiber.
    These cars had intrecral fuel bladders that were housed in the chassis torque boxes on each side of the monocoque chassis. metal external tanks for oil (on the left side of the chassis) and an auxillary fuel tank was added to the right side for the race. The fuel tank also used an enclosed bladder.
    The external oil tank on the 1964 Shrike that was driven by Eddie Sachs was fabricated by Bruce Bromme of aluminum then gold anodized. Sorrel fabricated the iol tanks used on our 1965 production run of seven cars that were manufactured between mid-January and the delivery date of mid-April.
    All but one of the 1965 production cars qualified fast enough to race in the 500 but all dropped out due to rear end change gear failure because of a heat treating error because we entered into the “black hole” of pinon gear speed caused by the difference between the Ford 4 cam Indy engine and the 255 Offy engine speed.
    The Sorrell shop was no different than any other LA based race car fabrication shops which were one, or two, person entities supplemented by a rovong cadre’ of available artisians that circulated throughout the local industry as casual labor. At one time or another, most of these skilled mechanics circulated through Halibrand Engineering, lending a hand on our various projects.

    Bob Falcon

  3. Wondering what is located at the Felton Avenue address these days. (?)
    Eddie Sachs at the 500 in 1964, a very sad year for all race fans.
    Thank you, Bob, for the interesting pinon gear detail.
    Rodney

  4. Bob Falcon, thanks for your comments.

    I could just picture the scene you described, like HOT Rod Magazine covered it in the lead-up to Indy ,back in the Sixties.

    Good times for sure.

    Tom

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