The Legend of “Fiberglass Matt” and the Lost Treasure of Fiberglass Farms

Hi Gang…

For the last several years we have done small “tours” of Fiberglass Farms as time allowed and interested folks surfaced.  Time and time again we’ve been asked about the origins of this special place, and we’ve shared the story with just a few.

That’s about to change.

Next week we will host our first official tour with a large group prior to leaving for the 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.  It seems fitting to share the full history of the “Farms” for this group and others who wish to know its history. 

And away we go 🙂

1_The Legend of Fiberglass Matt

This is one of the handouts given to each of the guests who visit Fiberglass Farms

The Legend of “Fiberglass Matt” and the Lost Treasure of Fiberglass Farms

A long time ago in a faraway place, an enthusiastic young man with a passion for cars went to see the opening of the latest movie in 1954 – “Johnny Dark”.  This movie was “special” – it captured everything about the latest sports car craze that was sweeping the nation and inspired young men to own and drive one of their own.  Problem was…most of these sports cars were from overseas – they were expensive to buy and complicated to maintain.  But in “Johnny Dark” your dreams could come true – you could design, build, own and race your own American sports car – exactly what was happening across the country. 

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1952 Lancer – one of the earliest known fiberglass sports cars known to exist.

Back then, if you wanted an American sports car you often had to build it yourself.  And Americans did just that.  Sports cars appeared across the country and names like Glasspar, Victress, Allied, Meteor, and LaDawri rang from coast to coast.  And this young man – Fiberglass Matt – fell in love with every one of them.

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“Fiberglass Matt” captured during his quest for saving fiberglass sports cars. No doubt this is from his later years….before vanishing from the automotive scene in great mystery.

As time marched on, Americans built fewer of their own sports cars.  Foreign jobs could be had for a song, and muscle cars from the Big Three started to abound.  But Fiberglass Matt didn’t forget his first love.  Year after year he searched across America saving every precious handcrafted sports car he could find, and bringing them home to a place he called “Fiberglass Farms.”

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1962 Shark Roadster next to 1955 Studebaker Stilletto

No car was too far away or in too poor of shape to save.  He realized that each one was someone’s dream – a car long forgotten – save for the few who cared about the story of designing and building your own American – born and bred  – sports car.  Decades passed and Fiberglass Matt continued to save and bring these special cars to his home.   But the location remained a secret to all but him – and then he vanished.

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Last known unbuilt 1955 Californian Body

Over the years, the legend of Fiberglass Matt grew and untold numbers of historians and enthusiasts tried to track down and locate the hidden, secret, and elusive Fiberglass Farms.  Tales such as the “Treasure of Oak Island”, the “Lost Amber Room”, and even the “Missing Ark of the Covenant” made room for the “Search for Fiberglass Farms.” 

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1953 Grantham Stardust – 1 of 4 known to exist

And then on one lucky day, a group of automotive archeologists combing over a recent discovery of a Victress sports car found it tucked under the dash and protected in a roll of fiberglass cloth – a map showing the location of “Fiberglass Farms.”  Behold!  The location had finally been revealed!

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The last unbuilt Meteor SR-1 known to exist – found and retrieved in 2006

On this parchment you hold today rests a copy of the recently discovered “Treasure Map To Fiberglass Farms” –revealed here for a few dedicated auto-explorers to see such as you.  We welcome you on your visit to Fiberglass Farms, and proudly carry on the tradition of what Fiberglass Matt started so many years ago.

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Byers SR-100 Next To 1954 Victress S4

As you tread past each of these handcrafted wonders, think back to what it must have been like when these young men – most from the 1950s – conceived of and then built the car of their dreams.  We thank folks like Fiberglass Matt for saving these artifacts of time giving us a window into the creative spirit and intrepidness needed to bring a vision to reality.

Thank you Fiberglass Matt, and may your dreams “glass on” forever.

2_Road Map to Fiberglass Farms

This handout is completed by each guest on the tour on the day of their visit

Summary:

In addition to “Fiberglass Farms,” we have ‘glass cars and other one-offs in aluminum and steel in our workshop known as the “Glass Menagerie” as well as my home affectionately called the “Glass House.”


Click Here To Learn More About Fiberglass Farms, The Glass Menagerie and The Glass House


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Our First Official Visit Occurred In March, 2010. From Left to Right Is Daniel Strohl, Tom Cotter, Scott Miller, and Merrill Powell From Victress. Great to Host You at the “Ranch” Guys!!!

INVITATION – MUST RSVP SOON!

Any of you who will be visiting the 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and/or are in the area of Tampa, Florida on Friday March 13th, please contact me if you want to join us on our annual visit to Fiberglass Farms.  You are welcome and will have a chance to hear from our guest speaker that day – Merrill Powell – co-owner of Victress Manufacturing from 1953 to 1961.

And…did any of you recognize the slight resemblance that Merrill Powell of Victress fame has to the only known drawings of Fiberglass Matt?  See below for comparison…

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Merrill Powell behind the wheel of our Bill Burke Belly Tank Streamliner at the 2010 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

 

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Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember gang…

The adventure continues here at Forgotten Fiberglass.

 Geoff

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* Click on the following link to view all stories on:  The Fiberglass Forest

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Comments

The Legend of “Fiberglass Matt” and the Lost Treasure of Fiberglass Farms — 6 Comments

  1. Well done, my friend. The best part of the collector car hobby is “it’s fun”! Sounds like this will be more fun than just about anywhere else!

  2. Makes me more proud to be a small part of the ‘Fiberglass Heritage’. Today’s stories and ever-increasing ‘barn-finds’ are really just the tip of the fiberglass iceberg.

  3. My brother, Mark, sent me an email about the “fiberglass farm” in Zephyrhills, where I have lived and owned an auto sales and repair shop since 1988. I told him that I had never heard of it but would check around. The few people I thought might know of the place had no knowledge of it and I sadly reported back to my brother that I knew nothing.

    Lo and behold, while watching Velocity tv I come across the show, “AmeriCarna-Forgotten Fiberglass”, and there we are. Searched a little on Google and found this site.

    I am a gearhead and car nut for 50 years and lived in Zephyrhills for many years and was pleased to see this site. Would love to tour it next time you have a group in for a visit. Good work and congratulations!

  4. Since my daughter and her family moved to the Tampa area in 2011, we’ve been spending Christmas with her. Now that I’ve found the farm, iit is on my bucket list for Christmas 2015.

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