Mystery V8 Powered Special


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1952 American Special

When I first spotted this American Special, I noticed that it didn’t look quite right. The seller listed it as a Glasspar G2, which has a rather interesting and easily identifiable grille. As you can see, this car’s front end is reminiscent of an AC Cobra or an old Ferrari race car. It doesn’t look like a Glasspar at all from the front, but if you take a look at the back end and the overall proportions, you can see some Glasspar DNA. So what’s the story with it? Well that’s a bit of a mystery, but I have my theories! If you’d love to take a closer look at this special, you can find it here on eBay in Port Monmouth, New Jersey with a current bid of $9k.

1952 American Special Mystery

The seller notes in their description that they know this isn’t a Glasspar G2, or at least that they don’t believe it is. They recount the story they were given, but admit they haven’t found any evidence to prove it. According to one of the previous owner, who found the car in 1971 parked in a back yard, it was built by Warren Gerdes. They claimed Gerdes worked at Glasspar and also drove their factory race car. We know for a fact that Gerdes worked at Glasspar, so that much of the story is accurate! From there though, everything is a bit of speculation. While they don’t have any evidence to connect this car with Gerdes, the seller does have all the car’s history from ’71 on.

1952 Mystery Racer

Whether or not Gerdes built this car, I can’t say, but just looking at it and it’s build quality, I have some theories. The back half looks similar to a G2 and as you follow the body lines to the front fenders, you can see plenty of Glasspar design elements. Whoever built it either modified a G2 or used it as their design inspiration. If it was built by Gerdes, it would make sense that it would be similar to a Glasspar. He may have even started with a G2 body and modified it to his liking.

1952 American Special Frame

I always love finds like this! The mystery of who built it, their dreams for it and the task of tracking down the story is almost as much fun as driving it. I’m sure this one will be an absolute blast to drive once you have it running. It’s currently equipped with a ’57 Corvette 283 with an Offenhauser 3×2 carb setup and a Ford 3 speed transmission. The engine currently doesn’t run, but the transmission was rebuilt not long ago. It also has all new brake lines, so if you can get the engine running, it won’t take much to have it moving under it’s own power again. Digging up the full story on the other hand, could be a much bigger task. Matthew Tritt, Bill’s son is a frequent visitor of the site and could be a great source of information about the cars his dad built and may know more about Gerdes and this car! So Matt, do you recognize this one?

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  1. junkmanMember

    What a cool car. that rear end looks like an early ford maybe a 37 like the trans. Some day I hope to find a forgotten fiberglass beauty like this. for now I’ll have to finish restoring two more Tigers.

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  2. greg tritt

    I guess Matt’s busy……. Your assessment seems about right though — The front wheel cutout is a bit higher, also in another frontal view, the more bulbous grill area is apparently an add on and seems to be delaminating. The hood is of a different size/shape and the cowl is flatter – all of which would not be very difficult alterations.

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    • JoshAuthor

      Hey Greg, thanks for chiming in! I noticed the cockpit changes too, but you can tell it started out as a G2. Do you happen to know of Warren is still around? He’s probably the only one that could say for certain whether this was his creation or not.

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  3. greg tritt

    To continue, the cockpit has been enlarged and squared off but the G2 side profile is unmistakable..

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  4. Rabbit

    Almost looks like a Cunningham, except they weren’t fiberglass.

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  5. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    From what I know, Glasspar and it’s cousin the Woodill Wildfire were designed to be bolted directly to a ’39 Ford frame & running gear, and looking at the chassis, that appears to be what it is. Definitely worth saving no matter what it’s history may be.

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  6. Mike Williams

    Looks like the car from the movie Johnny Dark.

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  7. stillrunners

    hasn’t this been listed before ?

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  8. Van

    Sombodys going to buy this and then find out it’s the move car. Just wish it was me.

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  9. Junkfixer

    She’s a G2 alright, an early production car that appears to be rigged for a rear seat. I personally have only seen one other like it:

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  10. Van

    Check out Johnny Dark on YouTube.
    I watched a little at lunch.
    Several cars like this one.
    IT would be cool to string racing scenes from old movies together. Even the Love Bug ran with great cars, we miss Buddy Hackett RIP.

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    • Jamie Palmer JamieStaff

      Van, I’ve spent an enjoyable hour going back and forth through the “race” scenes from the Love Bug. It’s always bothered me; there’s a scene at the start of the El Dorado race where a red Italian ‘something’ is taking off, and I can’t figure out what it is for the life of me.

      Back on topic — I hope we are able to uncover the complete history of this cool car; I’m following the comments closely!

      Like 0

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