Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Almquist - Sports Cars in Fiberglass

A couple of recent postings on the Hemmings Blog featured Almquist cars -- one with a Crosley engine and another with a big V-8 for power.

I seemed to recall an article on Almquists in an old magazine, so I went hunting in the attic until I came down with the Trend Book 178: Sportscar Specials. I can't find a date on the magazine, but there is an ad on the back cover for some 1959 Annuals, so it must be 1959 or 1960.
Here is the "lowdown" on the Almquist:
"Almquist Engineering, of Milford, Pennsylvania, manufactures four fiberglass shells designed to fit practically any type of chassis, as true bolt-on kits. The Almquist Company lists 34 American and 21 foreign cars and chassis which will accept their body shells. In addition, they provide detailed instructions, showing not only how to mount their shells to the listed models, but also plans for mounting them to some of the more outlandish American wheelbases!

"The "Sabre" I and II are identical in appearance, but different in size, the first having a wheelbase of from 72 to 82 inches, and overall length of 124 inches. The "Sabre" II uses a wheelbase of from 82 to 92 inches, and overall length of 134 inches. Tread for both models is from 45 to 52 inches, width of 56 inches, cowl height of 24 inches, and can be mounted for road clearance from 6 to 8 1/2 inches.

"The "Speedster" models I and II are three-seaters, and vary in frontal appearance and wheelbase. The first model has swept-back fenders, with the headlights carried in special cast-in mountings in the grille. It has a wheelbase length of from 94 to 106 inches and overall length of 156 inches. Model II carries the seal beams in fender flairings, uses a wheelbase of from 106 to 116 inches, and sports an overall length of 166 inches. Both have a tread of from 52 to 60 inches, width of 68 1/2 inches, cowl height of from 27 to 30 inches, and road clearance of from 6 to 9 inches.

"Apparently, a heap of planning and designing has gone into the design of the Almquist bodies. Designing bolt-on shells for any single stock chassis is difficult enough, let alone making shells for practically anything the builder might come up with. Moving the lights from the grille of the Sabre to the fenders is done with simple fiberglass adaptors which are easily fused into the fender-line with resin -- completely changing the appearance and character of the car. All sorts of accessories are available from fiberglass hardtops to fancy grilles, and prices are reasonable. The "Sabre" shells are priced at $295, and the "Speedster" at $495, FOB the factory, plus a $19 crating charge. In addition, they have an easy payment plan set at $98 down and $17.47 a month payments for the "Sabre", and $165 down and $29.27 a month for the "Speedster" . . . shades of Henry Ford!"

For more information on these, and other fiberglass cars, check out Fiberglass Sports Cars.

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