In Southern California in 1949, Air Force Major Ken Brooks was in the process of building his own hot rod, just like countless others at the time. Brooks based his car on a modified Willys frame and Willys six-cylinder engine. He had yet to figure out what sort of body to put on the car, when he showed it to his friend Bill Tritt who had a brilliant idea that would turn Brooks’ car into a sensation. Tritt, a marine architect by trade, convinced Brooks to build a body out of a versatile new material called fiberglass, which Tritt had become familiar with while working for Douglas Aircraft, and later by building boats in his small Santa Ana workshop. Brooks and Tritt, along with input from Brooks’ friends and family, worked up a design with both American and European influences. Without the restrictions of working with metal, beautiful compound curves could be easily formed in the new material. Named the Brooks Boxer, the finished car was shown at the 1951 Motorama where it was an instant hit, prompting Bill Tritt to expand his new boat business to include car bodies.
Bill Tritt’s new enterprise was called Glasspar, which had quickly become the leading specialist in fiberglass boats and boat parts. When the first car body was built for Ken Brooks, they suddenly found themselves in the sports car business as well. Bill Tritt would go on to develop the Brooks Boxer into the Glasspar G2; a complete sports car with a unique chassis that could accommodate a variety of American V8 engines. Following hot on the heels of the G2, Tritt and his Glasspar Company acted as a consultant to GM with their new Corvette, and he also supplied complete bodies for the Volvo P1900, the Kaiser-Darrin, and the Willys-based Woodhill Wildfire. Despite low production numbers, the Glasspar G2’s greatest success was that it spawned the kit-car industry, which exploded later in the decade as a distinctly American combination of hot rodding and sports cars.
Our featured 1953 Glasspar G2 is a spectacular, fully restored example of this pioneering American sports car. Only 29 Glasspar G2s are known to exist, and according to information obtained from Mr. Tritt, chassis number G253038 is one of just 10 built by Glasspar in their Santa Ana, California workshop and sold as complete, assembled cars. In the included correspondence between Bill Tritt and the previous owner, this car is also identified as the only factory-built G2 to be fitted with the legendary Cadillac OHV V8. Now fully restored and presented in marvelous period appropriate colors of candy apple red over a white and black cockpit, this G2 is one of the finest examples of this rare and important American sports car we have encountered.
Unlike later mass-produced fiberglass cars, the G2’s body was hand laid, so it was remarkably strong and durable considering its light weight. The build quality is surprisingly good as well, with the body appearing very straight beneath the high quality paintwork. The lurid red color scheme suits the G2’s 1950s style wonderfully, with chrome wire wheels and wide whitewall tires sparkling against the brilliant paint and crisp white interior. The exterior brightwork, while minimal, presents in excellent condition with high quality plating on the bumpers, grille and windscreen frame.
Seats are trimmed in bright white upholstery with black piping and carpets to a striking effect. The dash is all business with a flat panel dressed in engine-turned alloy and fitted with a comprehensive array of period correct Stewart Warner instruments. Typical for the time, the banjo steering wheel was sourced from an early Ford V8. Overall, the interior is quite well resolved compared to similar cars of the era, enhanced by the first-rate restoration.
With overhead valves and nearly 200 horsepower, the 331 cubic inch Cadillac V8 was suddenly the engine to have when it debuted in 1949. When the Caddy 331 was mated to the 1,900 pound Glasspar G2 chassis, the results were nothing less than thrilling. The only car so equipped from the factory, it runs very well, with power sent through a 3-speed manual transmission. While the chassis may not have been exotic, it delivers good, balanced handling thanks to the set-back engine and low center of gravity.
The Glasspar G2 was a unique coming together of Hot Rodder ingenuity with high-tech sports car engineering. In the hands of its previous owner, this G2 has been shown at numerous important concours and would surely be welcome at virtually any event in the future, particularly given the newfound appreciation by collectors for these distinctly American creations. This is a very rare opportunity to acquire one of the finest G2s available; truly unique in being the only one to leave the works with factory-supplied Cadillac power and now presented in beautiful condition.
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