Approach to Research for “Forgotten Fiberglass” Website and Book
First: We’ve combed thru (and are still working on) reviewing all articles on fiberglass cars in American 1950’s enthusiast magazines such as Hot Rod, Motor Trend, Road and track and other well known titles.
Second: We’ve identified thru a research project called VAMI (Vintage Automotive Magazine Index – click here for detail) little known / obscure magazines from the 1950s where information may be found.
Third: We’ve met with and obtained copies of all relevant factory literature produced by these companies either directly from/with other collectors, the original founders, employees, and/or their families, and via sources such as ebay and literature dealers.
Fourth: We’ve identified foreign magazines where information can be found – primarily in the UK, and these include Autocar, Motor, and lesser known publications as well.
Fifth: We’ve collected and canvassed car show/exhibit/Motorama programs from the 1950s where fiberglass cars often were featured and debuted. Click here to review the Petersen Motorama Programs from 1950 thru 1955
Sixth: We’ve met with collectors of racing programs and vintage racing photo enthusiasts who have helped share information about fiberglass cars in races and identified in race car programs
Seventh: We’ve identified trade magazines where information can be found which includes magazines such as “Automotive News” and “Motor”, and plastics trade magazines such as “Modern Plastics”
Eighth: We’ve met with and are working with automobile museums and libraries to locate information on these cars including the Petersen Automotive Museum, Kettering Archives in Michigan, Nethercutt Museum in Los Angeles, and the Automotive Collection of the Detroit Public Library.
Ninth: We’ve met with the archivists at Universal Studios to comb thru and uncover lost information about the movie “Johnny Dark” where so many of these early fiberglass cars have appeared. We also have meetings scheduled with additional studios to discuss the history of the movies that included the Woodill Wildfire (Knock on Wood and Written on the Wind) and the Grantham Stardust (Mr. North, Rocky Jones: Space Rangers)
Tenth: We’ve met with the archivists at the UCLA Film and Television Archive in Los Angeles, California to locate and share the 1955 “You Asked For It Video” showcasing Woodill Wildfire’s attempt at building a sports car in 4 hours or less. Research continues with this same archive in the hopes of locating footage from the Petersen Motorama – KTLA’s coverage of it from 1950-1955, and the segment on Bill Tritt and Glasspar covered in the show “Success Stories” sponsored by Richfield Oil
And most importantly, we continue to meet with, interview, and obtain assistance from the founders of these companies such as Bill Tritt of Glasspar, Noel Bangert of Bangert, Merrill Powell of Victress and Ed Almquist of Almquist, their families,employees, and those who built these cars back in the 1950?s – our best and most appreciated resource.
I’m sure we’ve left out other areas we’ve researched as well as those we have worked with, but we’ll continue to build this list and keep you up to date on our research approach.
Hope you enjoy our website…
Geoff Hacker / Rick D’Louhy
Forgotten Fiberglass (May 22nd, 2011)