Mystery Meteor From Down Under

1938-meteor

It is always fascinating to find a mysterious automobile whose manufacturer is unknown. Bulbous with a pinch of deco styling this “Meteor” automobile is a curious machine. Little is known about this automobile other than its “Meteor” emblem.  There is no surviving drivetrain, or suspension, so this Meteor lends no hints. The seller suspects it is an American made car, but upon looking over the car, we are thinking otherwise. This mystery machine is currently bid up to $533.00 New Zealand. Find it here on trademe out of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. Thanks to Andrew G for the submission!!!

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Although there is little left of this automobile, the frame is still present and is a trick little piece of work. Thin and certainly light weight, this frame is notched with a very nice “S” shaped “door bar” if that is what you wish to call it. We would imagine that the “S” shaped piece has more to do with structural integrity of the notch than it does anything else. There is a frame connecter that the rear axle would have hung from tying this frame together.  Looking at the length of the cabin from the axle location to the dash shows this is a small car indeed. The front portion of the frame shows little in the way of engine location, or suspension layout. There isn’t much to the structure, so at this point it is a guessing game as to what this Meteor would have come with. Also take note of how narrow the frame is, you would have been hard pressed to have two grown men stuffed into the cockpit of this Meteor.

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The body of this Meteor is interesting as it is made up of several body panels, and the metal shaping and fit is good, even though this car has become a bit thinner over the years. But what of the styling, and the name? “Meteor” was a rather hip word to use in the 1930’s, and the styling on this Meteor certainly has a deco flair to it. The center of the body is peaked in front of, and behind, the cockpit. There looks to have been plenty of room for a windscreen, but there is no real evidence of there ever being one. The styling on this automobile is reminiscent of some German automobiles, having reminded us of a German Veritas. Featuring an interesting face, the tall tear drop like slated grills are equal and uniform with evidence of being plated. Curiously there are three holes in the lower portion of the front end of this car. The openings may have been for a bumper,  driving lights, or perhaps the center opening being for a crank handle start?

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The front end of this Meteor is very interesting to study, with its low but bubble like appearance, almost resembling some strange insect. The pointed but bulbous hood then looks as if it would part the air over either side of the immense fenders. Interestingly, the fenders have no opening much like a 1938 Talbot-Lago T150C, and other streamlined cars of this era. Purely speculating, but we imagine that this was a racer of the 1930s or 1940s. It would be fascinating to discover the origins, and history of this car. Having seen better days, this Meteor is more of a museum relic, though it would be fantastic to create a new wooden buck of this car to build a modern day replica with period correct components. Do any of you recognize this Interesting Meteor?

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Comments

  1. Van

    Take this to Steve moel, or get a TR6 frame and some fiberglass.

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    • Z1rider

      I think you mean Moal, not Moel.

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  2. brakeservo

    I’ll bet it’s the backyard work of a talented guy with a torch and flair for design!

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  3. Rich

    Rear is somewhat remiscent of a Delahaye

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  4. Bingo

    This is a Glackal model 9. Probobly early 40’s. Thomas Glackal was the maker.

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    • brakeservo

      Aw, c’mon Bingo – you gotta tell us more than that!! Please.

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    • cudaman

      Bingo has it’s namo…….

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  5. Tre Deuce

    Reminiscent of some of Edsel Ford’s early work, or Bob Gregoire.

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  6. Tre Deuce

    Could it be …..

    “Edsel bought the first MG motorcar imported to the US. In 1932, he had an aluminum, boat-tailed speedster automobile custom designed by Ford’s first designer, E.T. (Bob) Gregorie. This car had several features not available on any other car. Most of the design features appeared in many Ford models throughout history. The car had Ford’s brand-new V8, the first low-cost, eight-cylinder engine.

    Many car collectors around the world have tried to locate the ’32 and acquire it for their personal collection, but have been unsuccessful thus far. The one-of-kind was the first collective creation by Bob Gregorie and Edsel Ford. The car was the prototype that never went into production. The car is considered one of the most valuable and the world’s first “hot rod” by many car experts and historians.”

    Lincoln, Mercury and Ford grilles and hood design elements are evident here in this mystery car. Some forensic investigating should be applied by a knowledgeable historian….TD

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  7. Tre Deuce

    The image posted here of the ‘Meteor’ is already on Google image search.

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  8. Rustytech

    That front end looks alott like an early Lincoln don’t it. If this is the car the collectors have been looking for what a shame it’s been allowed to deteriorate to this sad point. How did it wind up in a field in New Zealand?

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  9. dogwater

    really

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  10. stillrunners

    Do those frame rails match well with that rear spring cross member ?

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  11. Phil Lister

    Hi I’m the one with the car feel free to contact me if you are interested +64 2114 71865 or philllister999@gmail.com thanks

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  12. Fast Eddie/Old Eddie: take your pick!

    I am about as far as one can get from being an expert, more like an opinionated amateur, but a quick look at http://oldcarandtruckpictures.com/AustralianCars/ makes me think this might be a hand-made one-off, dating from anytime in the mid to late ’30s, or even up to the ’50s perhaps, made by someone with great imagination, and flair, who knew how to work steel with an English wheel. The grilles are reminescent of mid-30s Hudson Terraplane, so that may be a source of inspiration, as was, most likely, the Delahaye & others similar. The frame certainly looks to be built with excellent workmanship, but I don’t think I would trust it with too much power, as it is now. The car looks like it could have been a real beauty, but, overall, it gives me the feeling of it being a custom built car that never got finished. Then, I review all the pics, enlarged as much as possible ( at http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=1212313625), and say “No, I’m wrong, it was a completed, road-going car”. I then start arguing with myself.

    BTW, Bingo is saying “Ha, made you look!” I certainly did. I then LMAO. Thank you, Bingo.

    It would be interesting to know how long it would have taken this car, painted or unpainted, to get to this tinworm stage in its present location. I find myself fascinated by what it would have looked like, back in the day, such that I will read any follow-ups immediately.

    Thanks to Andrew G, and to BF, for a great find.

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  13. Clay Byant

    There’s been 9 types of Meteors in the U.S. from the early teens into the 70s (Ford Motor Co,) but styling wise, none during this period of styling. Doesn’t exclude foreign ones but if you were building your own special, Meteor would be a name you wanted to hang with the “other stars”

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    • Phil Lister

      Yes clay byant it could be something that was built for someone for the European market as meteor did make special order cars for anyone it is a mystery. I do want to no my self and yes I am an egg for letting this thing rust away any more in my garden as being brought up with cars knowing this thing was special but not knowing how special it really is thanks

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  14. Alex B

    It makes me think a bit of the 1948 Norman Timbs special. Too bad a lot of custom builds are lost forever. This looks like it must have been a cool car back in the day, I like the front and wide fenders.

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  15. Sunbeamdon

    Come-on CarGeakArcheologists – please keep filling in the gaps. This story won’t tell itself!

    And Bingo – keep-on pullin’ our chains!

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  16. HBOMBNZ.COM

    I have a Pal in Dunedin who is a Panelbeater, and he is going to have a look at the car for me…or what’s left of the machine. I am interested in purchasing it and rebuilding it. I kinda think it might be a home built by an extremely competent craftsman, but then again it could have been a special order from a coachbuilding firm back in the 30’s 40’s maybe, propped up by the running gear of a known manufacturer of the day. I would hardly describe the shell as beautiful and proportional, but that said, I would love to see it restored to be what it was meant to be. It would be a piece or art to say the least and I believe if the imagination was to run wild and the gaps filled to a period level…it would certainly be up there with other prototype vehicles of that era or famous hand builds! Its beak like front is super fascinating for me personally…I’ve seen nothing like it, and my challenge would be to re-establish the original thought pattern of the creator and see it through its build……..to fruition. I await to see what happens with the price and for the news from my Pal about it’s condition.

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    • Mike Burnett

      Sir, you are just the sort of person the classic car movement needs. It will be expensive, with an uncertain outcome regarding its ultimate value, but you are doing it for the love of the car. I wish you good luck with it.

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  17. Speedy D

    To me this car has the earmarks of a ‘one-off’ custom (or perhaps a prototype) built by a creative and talented builder.
    Overall styling has similarities to the 1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet.
    The rear cross member looks to be from a 1927 late Model T Ford member in the with inboard mounts (floor mounts?) welded on. The frame rails could be model T, but many early cars used similar frame materials.
    It’s hard to tell from the pictures but the throttle linkage looks like an early 30s Ford assembly.
    The hood badge appears to be hand fabricated.
    It is too bad there isn’t more of the car to provide better clues.

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  18. Speedy D

    1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet

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  19. Speedy D

    The hood badge

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  20. JagManBill

    as termite riddled as this shell is, I’m thinking the best avenue for restoration is pull a fiberglass buck off it and start over….

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  21. Mike Burnett

    Why make a fiberglass buck? The existing body will do that work after a little adjustment with internal braces and brackets. A good panel beater with skill on an English Wheel could make a perfect copy in steel.

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  22. Neil G.

    Definetly a modified Lincoln Zepher. I would restore the roadster on a modern frame and cruise….

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  23. Neil G
    • Phil Lister

      I’ve sat the car together how it may of been

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  24. Bill McCoskey

    I’m pretty sure that emblem is a Meteor bicycle badge from before 1900.

    Note there is no windshield, and no evidence of ever having one. The frame is built from Ford parts that would have been 15 to 25 years old at time of build. The frame has few cross supports and no evidence of floor support.

    The binnacle holding the instruments appears to have been added as an afterthought. The doors appear to have been added later. The area at the rear would have been a trunk with a way of accessing things like a spare tire or luggage.

    I’m going to suggest that this was a type of carnival or fair ride, likely with a small 1 or 2 cylinder motor. Perhaps tethered to a central point so the car would always turn in a circle, & there would be no need for the wheels to make a tight turning radius, so the fenders could be the shape we see here. This would be a great kiddie ride. I don’t see evidence of any steering equipment too.

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    • Junkfixer

      Think you might be on to something here, Bill. This is a tiny car. The size of the lighting recesses are also tiny – too tiny for road going use. Several different metals are used in the “frame” and there’s not enough rigidity or cross support for the road. The body panels are hand-hammered and the quality of the original steel used is poor. There’s no evidence of a functional steering mechanism, etc.

      I remember single cyl gas-powered carnival rides from when I was a small boy (more specifically, I remember my father NOT letting me ride them as it cost too much!). They were usually designed to seat 2 kids, the relative size of this “Meteor”. We went to the carnival every year and by the time I was aged 6 or 7, they were gone – replaced by electric powered fiberglass rides. It wasn’t the same thing anymore, as the glorious noise of internal combustion was gone with them. Alas, I had been cheated.

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  25. DWBlietz

    Metior probably a special from the 40’s-early fifities there were many people with imignations then not like today when we have follow the leaders wish i was closer it would end up in my back yard good luck to the person that ends up with it because its kool DWBlietz

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  26. Phil Lister

    Another photo

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    • Ward W

      Could the steering wheel have been in the center ?

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      • Phil lister

        Looks to of been on the right hand side

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  27. Phil Lister

    Hope these may help

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    • PRA4SNW

      From this view, if you removed the front clip and the rear fenders, perhaps you have something more familiar looking (?)
      Not sure what, though.

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  28. Phil Lister

    d

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  29. Ken

    I have put the following on Trademe as a question, it is not actually a question.
    Hi, Are there any makers name and numbers on that instrument, If I were you I would pull it out disassemble and photograph the insides, some one may know date and manufacturer of that, might lead somewhere might not. This could go through the roof in the last 10 minutes, bet someone out there knows what it is and they are not saying and not bidding yet. Ken
    Adding to this vehicle seems to be RHD Phil says so , that looks like a break master cylinder on the right side of the firewall. Russia and USA are LHD. would a special or proto type from either of those countries be RHD, I don’t think so. My opinion is it was built in a RHD country. I see on youtube a guy rolls a Jaguar XK 3/4 scale if I remember correctly rear mud guard from a sheet of steel, lots of people have the skills and equipment to roll and weld the panels on this car. It has a chassis that some say has a ford transverse spring mount, what does that say about the build, it has a transverse rear spring, I wonder what that says about age, it has hydraulic breaks, does that date it.
    It would be interesting to know what town the guy who had it for 40 years, who was he, his family will know about this car.

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