Monday, 26 September 2011

So You Think You Know Your Sports Cars - Palos Verdes C d' E

Thanks to photo's sent by Geoffrey Horton, I am pleased to bring you another dose of California sunshine from the Palos Verdes Concours d' Elegance held last weekend.

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About the most difficult vehicle to identify in this over view is the Mazda Como Sport unless like me you have wasted a little time playing Grand Turismo 4. Easiest vehicle to identify for regular GALPOT readers should be Geoffrey's Jaguar XK140 FHC, which was up against a Mercedes Gullwing this time out. Shocking to me was that Geoffrey sent me photo's of five vehicles who's manufacturers I had never heard of.

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Oldest of the five was this 1940 Coachcraft 'Yanke Doodle' Roadster, a one off with a chassis frame built from Hudson Essex and Ford models by 17 year old Seward Allan with a body by Coachcraft of West Hollywood and modifications by Frank Kurtis.

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My favourite of the five is this this 1952 Maverick Sportster, a 210 lbs boat tail fibre glass body built by Sterling Gladwin sitting on top of a Flathead Cadillac powered LaSalle chassis. This particular vehicle appears to be the prototype which is recognisable by the absence of any doors.

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Next up we have a car of the type that starred in the reckless and thrilling film 'Johnny Dark' namely a Woodhill Wild Fire built by California Dodge dealer Robert 'Woody' Woodhill, who dreamed of owning a Jaguar XK120 and ended up building two fibre glass specials. With Willys running gear and tailor made Glasspar bodies, Woodhill was unsuccessful at selling his sportscar to Kaiser, owner of Willy's, and after modifying his car to run with Ford running gear he then built similar Buick and Cadillac examples. Again failing to gain manufacturer support Woodhill settled for building his sports cars with Ford running gear and selling then as kit cars that could be assembled in 14 hours, famously demonstrating a 4 hour build on TV.

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The company that started the glass fibre revolution in US sports car production appears to be Glasspar a company specialising in building fibre glass fibre boats who built a, Bill Tritt designed, special, the Brooks Boxer, for USAF Major Ken Brooks. The mould for the Brooks Boxer was then used to produce the Glasspar G2 of the type seen here. A modified version of the G2 body was supplied to Robert Woodhill for his Wild Fire kits.

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Finally the fibre glass body vehicle above is known as a 1960 Hirsch Roadster, sources on the internet suspect the date since the car is described as having Fiero steering, Datsun 280Z rear axle, and a 1966 289 Ford V8 connected to a similarly sourced 5 speed transmission. The owner believes the cars roots lie in a business that failed to get off the ground in Orange County. If you know anything about the Hirsch or indeed about any of the cars above please do not hesitate to either leave a message or get in touch be e-mail, my address is on the bottom of the page.

My thanks again to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs from Palos Verdes.

Thanks for joining me on this glass fibre edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres', I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I'll be looking at a Rover. Don't forget to come back now !

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