Tag: Fibreglass

King Midget club begins restoration on a one-off prototype fiberglass roadster – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

King Midget club begins restoration on a one-off prototype fiberglass roadster – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

Advertisements

King Midget club members still don’t know all there is to know about the prototype fiberglass roadster that Midget Motors intended to build. How did the tiny Athens-based company plan to power the car? Was it ever meant to have a top? What exactly caused its demise? Now that club president Lee Seats has the prototype in his garage in anticipation of a full restoration and subsequent public display, perhaps some answers will soon come to light.

“All I know is that Midget Motors could’ve built it, but it would have been difficult,” Seats says.

Indeed. Chronically underfunded Midget Motors—a venture started by Claud Dry and Dale Orcutt in 1946—might’ve at one point been the sixth-largest carmaker in the United States, but ran on an infinitesimal budget compared to larger carmakers. Company headquarters was a small building next to Dry’s house, and research and development essentially consisted of the time the partners spent reading the latest issue of Popular Mechanics.

That’s not to say they didn’t meet with some measure of success. The King Midget Model 2 and Model 3 kept the company going well into the Sixties and the company was even able to make some acquisitions, mostly minibike and scooter companies. While the Midget Motors microcar lineup remained fairly static and uninspiring with cars almost no larger than the two occupants that could fit in them—a rarity in the postwar American economy that demanded ever bigger, more powerful, and flashier cars—Dry and Orcutt at one point aspired to build something a little bigger, a little sleeker, and a little faster.

According to Bob Vasholtz, a King Midget historian who has written several books on the cars, just as demand for the Model 2 started to wane toward the mid-Fifties, Orcutt in particular seemed taken with the idea of creating King Midget bodies out of fiberglass. “Fiberglass construction was not capital intensive and small-shop oriented,” Vasholtz writes in “Midget Motors: Blueprint for American Microcars,” thus “the product and process seemed tailored to Midget Motors’ volume and needs.” Besides, fiberglass promised an opportunity to both cut some weight and design a body with more complex shapes than the steel- and aluminum-bodied Model 2 and Model 3’s bodies without springing for more expensive tooling.

Orcutt then proceeded to shape a body model out of clay, seeking input from his workers. Once he finalized the design—incorporating a bit of contemporary Ford in the rear, Jaguar XK120 along the sides and perhaps some Crosley Super Sport in the front—he took some molds from the clay model and sent them to a still-unknown fiberglass shop somewhere in Michigan to have several prototype bodies laid up.

In the meantime, Orcutt set about modifying a 1952 Model 2 chassis for the new car. The front and rear suspension remained unaltered, as did a section of the frame, but Orcutt modified the rest with wider perimeter rails to better fit the envelope styling of the new body and to get the passengers sitting lower in the car.

Read on

1955 Woodill Wildfire Wins “Car of the Exhibition” at Stuttgart Retro Classic – Geoffrey Hacker @UndiscoveredClassics

Advertisements

1955 Woodill Wildfire

I first wrote about this Wildfire when it was spotted at the 2014 Retromobile Show in Paris, France.

Click here to Read About The Woodill Wildfire Discovery in Paris France

Since then we have become friends with the new owner, Jiri Jirovec, and he has brought his Wildfire home to Pizen in the Czech Republic.  I bet it’s the only Wildfire in that country!

I’ve Always Loved The Look of this Wildfire

Jiri has kept the car in its original Euroean barn-find condition.  He bought it back in 2014 from someone who had brought it to Europe in the late 1980s, and it looks like a perfect barn-find from that era.  To me, this Wildfire has some styling points that really made the car “pop” back when it was built and even now.  These include:

  • 1939 Lincoln Zephyr front and rear bumpers
  • 1935 Ford Wire wheels (16 inch)
  • 1953-1955 Corvette windscreen
  • Dashboard layout is perfect – large (not small) period gauges
  • Stylish Lincoln Zephyr outside door buttons (I’ve only seen this on one other Wildfire and all Allied sports cars of course)
  • Woodill appropriate rear seat (full back) with seat cushions as intended
  • The stance on the car is perfect – body is low and close to the wheels (maybe a bit too close) but it looks hot
  • Steering Wheel – large and flashy but I don’t recognize it.  Any thoughts here gang

1955 Woodill Wildfire

Read on

Related – FORGOTTEN FIBERGLASS: 1955 REPLAC DEBONNAIRE AND VENTURE

Edge Motor Museum in Memphis, Tennessee Adds Glasspar G2 to its Collection – Geoffrey Hacker @undiscoveredclassics.com

Advertisements

Glasspar G2

Alan and Jen Mortlock are getting ready to move back to the UK, and I’ll be sad to see them go.  I met Alan and Jen over 10 years ago when they first acquired their Glasspar G2 sports car and I was impressed with the quality of their work and the speed of which they were able to do their restoration.  I had a chance to personally see the car and Alan’s work when I stopped by in August, 2009 on my way to Bonneville with the 1946 Bill Burke Belly Tank Streamliner – but that’s a different story.  Check out the photos below from August, 2009.

Alan and Jen Mortlock at their home in Sikeston, Missouri – August, 2009.  I picked up Alan and off we went to Bonneville Speedweek with the Burke Belly Tank.  What an adventure that was for both of us.

Glasspar G2

Read on 

Related – FORGOTTEN FIBERGLASS: 1955 REPLAC DEBONNAIRE AND VENTURE