by Mike –
Today someone commented on Facebook about The First Fiberglass Sports Car – The Kaiser Darrin where I said the Kaiser Darrin was the first fiberglass sports car – it’s right there in the title.
My first thought is that I could not have been wrong but then I realized that I have been wrong plenty of times before. So, I did some more research and it is not entirely clear to me if the Kaiser Darrin beat the Glasspar G2 car to market. It may come down to the definition of a “production sports car”.
The Glasspar G2 was a sports car body first produced by Bill Tritt in 1949. Bill Tritt was a fiberglass boat manufacturer in Southern California when he built his first car body for a friend’s hot rod. This first car was called the Brooks Boxer and was completed in mid 1951. Some design changes were later made and the result was the Glasspar G2 also sometimes called the Yankee Clipper.
The Glasspar G2 is certainly made of fiberglass but initially it was sold as a body only and I have found conflicting information on the Internet about when a real car was introduced and if it was sufficient enough to classify it as the first production fiberglass sports car rather than a kit car.
Supercar.net has this to say:
“The Yankee Clipper has been called the world’s first fiberglass-bodied car. The engine was positioned far back in the chassis to achieve good front-to-rear weight balance. Because of the car’s neutral handling, many were used as race cars.
These roadsters also became a favorite in the Hollywood circles and attracted owners such as Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper and Rosemary Clooney. This was due to the car being featured in many auto publications of the period, including Road and Track, Motorsport and Motor Trend.”
Notice the quote above says “The Yankee Clipper has been called the world’s first fiberglass-bodied car.” – not that it is the world’s first fiberglass-bodied car.
Some sources claim the Glasspar G2 was the first fiberglass sports car and others like the Forgotten Fiberglass web site are not entirely clear on the question. Forgotten Fiberglass is a great resource for anyone interested in the fiberglass car culture.
Maybe whoever is writing the history tells it like they want to or maybe the low production numbers of the Glasspar G2 (around 10 complete cars made by Glasspar not counting the customer built cars) do not compare to a much bigger company like Kaiser which made 435 Darrins.
Either way I like the Glasspar G2, or Yankee Clipper, it is a beautiful design that apparently was also a fast car.
The photos above are from Supercars.net and the old ad and movie star photo below are from Forgotten Fiberglass.
Subscribe to My Car Quest