Other Glasspar Production

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Other Glasspar Production

The Woodill Wildfire – As the Glasspar G2 took off, Robert “Woody” Woodill, a very successful Dodge and Willys dealer in Downey, California, made plans for a sports car with Willys components and Tritt’s fiberglass body. Glasspar made the first two bodies for him, which were the G2 body modified with MG-type raised cockpit cowls, squared rear fenders to take the Willys Aero taillights, and a false hood scoop. The cars had an angle frame by Shorty Post with a Jeepster front axle and Willys components. Power was a Willys F-Head 90-hp engine. These two cars were known as the Series I Woodill Wildfires, and one was shown at the 1952 Los Angeles Motorama.

image202Series I Wildfire

At this time, unfortunately, Kaiser bought out Willys; and Dutch Darrin, a Kaiser designer, had taken a Glasspar G2 and remolded it into the Kaiser Darrin sports car. Because they were promoting this car, Kaiser would not back the Wildfire, so Woody was on his own. He redesigned the Series I body with a new grille, higher doors with windows, a continental spare tire kit, longer cockpit and many other features, calling the car the Series II Woodill Wildfire. This car used the new Glasspar 2″ x 3″ tubular frame.

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Series II Wildfire

If not for the demise of Willys, this car might have gone into full production, but Woody made only about 10 factory cars and the rest he sold as kits. A fully assembled factory car initially sold for $3,260 and, as a kit, the body cost $995 and the frame $228. He attempted to market the production car worldwide and succeeded in having the Wildfire featured in three movies; Johnny Dark with Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie, Knock on Wood with Danny Kaye and Written on the Wind with Dorothy Malone and Rock Hudson. Woody Woodill finally closed down Wildfire production in 1958 after selling fewer than 50, all bodies provided by Glasspar.

The Volvo P1900 – Glasspar designed and built sports car bodies for the Swedish carmaker, Volvo, in 1955. Volvo technicians were trained at Glasspar, and 20 bodies were fabricated there. These bodies and the molds were shipped to Volvo for assembly and further production with a total of 67 Volvo P1900’s finally produced. Volvo never actively promoted the car.

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Volvo P1900

The Vaughn Singer – This was only one automobile. Bill Vaughn of the British Singer Car Company commissioned Bill Tritt to ship a Glasspar G2 body to New York and adapt it to a Singer SM 1500 chassis. The body arrived on 2 x 4’s and Tritt and a welder, working in a loft in Manhattan, stripped the metal body off and adapted the G2 body to the Singer chassis. The car, outwardly identical to a G2 and not running, was moved to a New York City Auto Show for display and promotion. Only one G2 body was ever delivered to Singer.

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Vaughan Singer 1500

The Yankee Clipper – A very limited number were made in 1953 by the Strassberger Motor Company of Menlo Park, California, before going out of business, using the standard Glasspar G2 body, Ford components and the Ford flathead engine. Strassberger was one of many companies that desired to, but did not go into, fiberglass car production. Their car was a standard Glasspar G2 kit, and there were no distinguishing features to identify them as Clippers.

yankee-clipper-nov04

The Kaiser Darrin – As noted previously, Dutch Darrin, a noted designer for Kaiser, used the G2 body as the starting point and basis for the unique Kaiser Darrin fiberglass sports car. Kaiser produced them in 1954 with 435 made and over 300 still accounted for by the Darrin Owners Roster.
The first seven or so bodies were made by Glasspar and were delivered in seven pieces — the hood, doors, top well cover, deck lid, rear section and front-end assembly. The 300-lb. body, when assembled, was mounted on a modified Henry J chassis, and the engine was a 6-cylinder, 161-cu.in. Willys F-Head producing 90hp. The car weighed 2,175 lbs. and sold for $3,668.
The sliding doors were the unique feature of the Kaiser Darrin and this required side curtains for windows. The car was very complete, including a convertible top, and there were many extras. Production of the Kaiser Darrin came to a halt after only nine months.

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1954 Kaiser Darrin
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Darrin Sliding Door

 

Autopia – Disneyland, in Anaheim, California, was building its Autopia automobile track and commissioned Bill Tritt and Glasspar to build the fiberglass car bodies. These were small, single-seat, self-powered cars and the order was for about 30 car bodies and 1955 delivery. The cars were to have an aluminum wrap-around bumper provided by sponsor Kaiser Aluminum, but later changed to the more suitable steel. Power was a Briggs and Stratton lawn mower-type engine with a centrifugal clutch and governor.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Autopia Car and on the Track at Disneyland

The Ascot – Although Bill Tritt had contented his company with fabricating and supplying, in the main, just car bodies, he wanted to build another complete sports car embodying the great experience he had gained. In 1955, Bill designed and built the Ascot, a modern and striking car meant for the adventurous, and meant for the road with its fine power-to-weight ratio and 50-50 weight balance for handling. The Ascot was a complete car with roll-up windows, convertible top, good trunk space and the special feature of detachable fenders. It weighed in at 1,750 lbs. and was to sell for $2,600. It was powered by a 100hp Studebaker Champion engine with high-performance add-ons and used Studebaker components with the ease of parts supply from Studebaker. Bill built five cars and was ready to move when the Glasspar Board of Directors applied the brakes. They were not at all interested in cars, but wanted to concentrate on the more profitable Glasspar boats. This 1955 corporate decision brought an end to the Ascot and the G2, both ahead of their time in style and construction, true American legends.

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The Ascot

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