In 1946, William Tritt was approached by his friend John Green, who asked him to build a boat from a still novel new material called Fiberglas, first invented in 1938. Tritt quickly embraced the glass fiber material for boat construction, and by 1950, along with two partners, he established Glasspar of Santa Anna, California. He built his first car in 1951, patterning it after the Jaguar XK120. Known as the Brooks Boxer, it was shown at the Los Angeles Motorama that year. Amid strong publicity, Tritt launched the Glasspar G-2 in 1952. According to the Smithsonian Institute, the Glasspar G-2 paved the way for today's kit car industry while pioneering the use of fiberglass in automobile construction.
Many cars were built by Glasspar, including the Kaiser-Darrin and Woodill Wildfire.
This 1953 Glasspar G-2 Roadster is the only one of the factory assembled cars powered by a Cadillac engine and is the only factory assembled car known to exist today. The car rides on Cadillac wire wheels. It underwent a ground-up restoration with Bill Tritt, founder of Glasspar, serving as a consultant. It features the original Stewart-Warner gauges and an engine-turned instrument panel signed by Bill Tritt.
The Glasspar was the first company to produce fiberglass cars in quantity. Bill Tritt was a true pioneer in this industry and, in addition to the Glasspar, also built Kaiser Darrins, Woodills and the Volvo P1900.
Although the majority of Glasspars were sold as kits, a number were sold as finished cars from the factory. Only one was powered by a large Cadillac V8. All-in-all, only 29 Glasspars are known to exist. Only 10 examples (such as this example) were factory-built by Glasspar.
Interestingly, in 1953 Glaspar also manufactured fiberglass bodies for the Kaiser-built Darrin convertible. The Glaspar Company also built bodies marketed under the Ascot brand name.
This unique roadster participated in the Cypress Point Handicap during the 1953 Pebble Beach Road Races. Driven by Warren Gerdes it was in the lead on the last lap when its engine caught fire and it retired. The car was the brainchild of Bill Tritt and built by Ed Martindale and Ted Mangles of Southern California. Powered by a flathead Ford V8 with the Zora Arkus-Duntov-designed overhead valve head, the C.T. Special was known as the 'Mameco-Ardun.' Its best race was with Bill Pollack, who drove it to sixth place at March Field in 1953.
The 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance was the first time the car had been seen in public for over five decades.
Bill Tritt founded Glasspar in 1947 with the purpose of building fiberglass boats. His background included training as a marine architect and he had worked for Douglass Aircraft during the Second World War. In 1947, he received a commission to design a racing sailboat for a friend, which he decided to construct from fiberglass.
Tritt designed what became the G-2 in 1949 as the body of a hot rod a friend was building. After it was completed in 1951, it was shown at the Los Angeles Motorama where it received high praise. A fiberglass resin manufacturer purchased one to use as a sales tool with the automotive industry.
Glasspar built approximately 100 G-2 cars through 1953 of which only 29 are known to remain in modern times. Most of the cars were sold as kits, although the factory assembled ten as complete vehicles. Glasspar became the first company to produce fiberglass cars in production quantities.
Other work completed by Glasspa included the manufacturing of Kaiser Darrins, Volvo P1900s, Woodill Wildfires and others. The Glasspar was such a significant step in automotive history that the Smithsonian has added one to its permanent collection.
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