1953 Messerschmitt KR175.

cdniwmq8aoymavuylsyfIn 1952, Prof. Willy Messerschmitt needed a project to keep his RSM division busy, and a timely visit by his former employee Fritz Fend with a concept for a tandem two-seat vehicle resulted in a deal being struck.
By the summer of 1952 a prototype was ready. Called Fend Kabinenroller FK-150, it included all the elements of the first production Messerschmitts except for the plexi dome made up of several pieces, and the 150cc motor.
Production began in February 1953, but early feedback indicated that the car was far from perfect: the suspension was very hard, it was noisy and rattled, and the hand clutch didn’t come off well in practice.
By June of 1953 some 70 modifications had been made.
These early examples are very rare, and this is one, with its complicated rear suspension, hand clutch, open chain and narrow rear seat
via 1953 Messerschmitt KR175.

1939 Pontiac “Ghost Car”.

1939-pontiac-plexiglass-ghost-car-see-through-12Photograph by AARON SUMMERFIELD for RM AUCTIONS
Unveiled at the General Motors Highways and Horizons pavilion at the 1939-40 World’s Fair in New York, the Pontiac ‘Ghost Car’ was buit on the chassis of a 1939 Pontiac Deluxe Six.
In collaboration with Rohm & Haas, a chemical company that had recently developed Plexiglass, the concept for a transparent car was conceived and it was the first one ever built in America.
“This is the only one known to exist,” said Alain Squindo, a car specialist for RM Auctions, which held the auction for the Ghost Car and other speciality vehicles in Plymouth, Michigan. “It’s a very original car.”
It toured a number of dealerships and then was at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. for a number of years.
It has been owned by the same family since the 1980s. “They were rather sad to see their beloved car go,” Squindo said. He could not disclose the name of the buyer.
The car has 86 miles on it, picked up by being driven in and out of dealerships for displays.
It was a collaboration between GM and Rohm & Haas chemical company, which made the Plexiglas. Structural metal underneath was given a copper wash, and all hardware, including the dashboard, was chrome-plated.
1939-pontiac-plexiglass-ghost-car-see-through-8
See more images of the car via The 1939 Pontiac Plexiglass Ghost Car

Holden’s Protoype.

Holden_Prototype_car_nma_img-ci20041203-002Prototype No. 1 is the only survivor of three test Holden sedans built by hand in 1946 by American and Australian engineers at the General Motors workshop in Detroit.
Earlier that year, General Motors-Holden’s chief Laurence Hartnett had submitted to his American bosses an experimental car design with integrated fenders and straight side panels.
Reluctant about the Australian venture from the beginning, General Motors executives unceremoniously rejected Hartnett’s proposal in favour of a more conservative and curvaceous design with a striking chrome grille.
Known as the ‘Australian Car’, prototype no. 1 became the definitive model for millions of Holden vehicles.
After months of durability and performance tests at the General Motors Milford proving ground, prototype no. 1 was shipped to Australia along with two other prototypes. Legend has it that the three cars were then driven under cover of darkness to the Fishermen’s Bend factory in Melbourne.
Registered as JP-480, prototype no.1 underwent further testing on a circuit east of Melbourne, specifically designed to replicate Australian driving conditions.
Technicians continued to make minor technical modifications to the car, while General Motors-Holden’s executives searched for a name for the new car.
After much deliberation, they finally decided upon the ‘Holden’, in honour of Sir Edward Holden, the company’s first chairman. Other names considered were GeM, Austral, Melba, Woomerah, Boomerang, and Emu.
The car narrowly avoided the name ‘Canbra’, a phonetic spelling of Canberra.
The first Holden rolled off the assembly line at Fishermen’s Bend on 29 November 1948.
Many saw the event as evidence of national maturity, proof that Australia had escaped its pastoral beginnings and embraced the modern industrial age.
The Holden 48-215 (commonly known as the FX) was a robust and economical family sedan, designed for the Australian environment. Combining local production with American styling and technical simplicity, the car captivated many Australians.
Public reaction to the prospect of an Australian-built car had been extraordinary, with around 18,000 people signing up for a Holden without knowing a single detail about the car.
Holdens soon dominated the roads.
By 1958 sales accounted for over 40 per cent of total car sales in Australia. A million had been sold by 1960 and, despite market competition from the Ford Falcon, another million were sold over the next six years.

via National Museum of Australia – Holden Prototype Car No. 1.

The Ugly and Doomed Edsel.

7-2bedsel2bcitation2bconvertibleEdsel Citation convertible
The top-of-the-line Edsel, it bore the notorious “horse-collar” grille that critics said resembled “an Oldsmobile sucking on a lemon.”
Actually, the grille looked tasteful compared to the anti-tailfin taillights that stretched all the way across the trunk lid.
Inside, the push-button transmission control was located inside the steering-wheel hub — another rarely imitated design feature because drivers confused it with the horn.
The Citation is the landmark of bad taste.
Ford put the Edsel out of its misery shortly after the start of the 1959 model year.
See more uglies via vintage everyday: Here’s a List of 10 Ugliest Cars from the 1950s

“Wheels” Part One.

unset_5-scaled500

After reading Nick’s fine, epic about his motor bike, I got to thinking about some of the cars and bikes that people got to work with. Warning: Some of the models may be wrong!
1. Dennis Bradley, FJ Holden, driver’s window broken and had a towel to keep the rain out! Drove with the fuel guage on empty.
2. Jimmy Tennant, old Valiant, no floor in back, but it was a great place for his three girls to use as a rubbish bin.
3. Darryl Preece, Malcolm Rossman and David Lascelles, “Vespa” motor scooters, all rode around like dickheads thinking they were Mods out of the British film “Quadrophenia”.
4. Jeff Brand, Brand New car, drove it straight out of the show room into the path of a runaway horse. Car was a “write off” and Jeff was uninsured.
5. David Copley, FJ Holden, took his bonnet off to look Cool, only to find his “mates” were using his motor for spare parts.
6. Nick Penn, 2nd Hand car, bought from an Apprentice but on first outing found out it had no brakes.
7. Rod “Bags” Baker”, assorted 1957 Chevrolets stored under a tarpaulin for over 30 years. Gunna fix, but will Never Fix.
8. Ricky Bell, Model “A” Ford, lovingly restored without the knowledge of taxpayers in the Netley machine Shop.
9. Ian Grunert, Triumph motorbike. Made from recycled coke cans. Rode around dressed in the Dead Man’s leather jacket of Vic Byford, compositor.
10. Peter Cornish, Holden V8, specialised in trying to nudge Jimmy Tennant into the path of oncoming cars at War Memorial Drive and King William Road traffic lights. Did it to Sam Lawn too!
11. Cyril Barson, EH Holden, Cyril couldn’t park for nuts. So comp apprentices did it for him. Car may still be running and owned by Cyril’s grandson Paul.
12. John Buckby, (OPC’s) Other Peoples Cars, Got a regular lift in with Paul Raby. One night in the car park saw that his driver had a flat tyre and instantly abandoned Paul for another ride home.
13. Nick Penn (again), The GodMobile, came to work with three “born again” Printers. Singing along in the car with his holy brothers to the sounds of their recorded Revivalist Meetings.
14. Rod (Sam) Lawn, Morris Minor, drove his poor little Noddy car for years, years and years.
15. Peter Humby, The Humble Pushbike, his first million dollars was made collecting cans and bottles on his way to work.
Warren

“Wheels” Part 2.

11. Don Woolman, Austin Wasp, The Flash bought his first car for 100 pounds in 1951 by asking the previous owner whether he wanted to sell it when it was parked out the front of the Old Guv in King William Road. Originally it was red but he rolled it at Murry Bridge and painted it a two tone blue. After four years he sold it to Des Woods, a jobbing comp, for 90 pounds.
12. Cyril Barson, EH Holden, Cyril couldn’t park for nuts. So comp apprentices did it for him. Car may still be running and owned by Cyril’s grandson Paul.
13. John Buckby, (OPC’s) Other Peoples Cars, Got a regular lift in with Paul Raby except when Paul got a flat tyre Bucko would go home with anyonewho was handy leaving Raby in the shit.
14. Nick Penn (again), The God Mobile, came to work with three “born again” Printers. Singing along in the car with his holy brothers to the sounds of their recorded Revivalist Meetings.
14. Rod (Sam) Lawn, Morris Minor, drove his poor little Noddy car for years, years and years.
15. Peter Humby, The Humble Pushbike, his first million dollars was made collecting cans and bottles on his way to work.

16. Alex Riley, Jaguar X Type, This horrible bastard always went out of his way to make his workmates feel inferior by dragging them off at the traffic lights in his father’s X Type Jag. The picture above shows The Toff and car in the driveway of Government House, Adelaide.
Original article written by the late Warren Pietsch