Thursday, June 16, 2011

Poly [methyl methacrylate] and the transparent car...a 1939 Pontiac

A transparent car brought to you by General Motors and Rohm and Haas Company...and shown at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Not so much to show off the automobile but introduce the world to plastics.

"1939 Clear Car Showcases Miracle of Plexiglas"


Katie Scott

June 15th, 2011

Wired UK

Alongside “glass that bends” and talking flashlights, exhibits at the 1939 New York World’s Fair included the first full-sized transparent car ever made in America, a cool clear car that could be yours.

The 1939 Pontiac Plexiglas Deluxe-Six Ghost Car is going under the auctioneer’s hammer July 30, 2011, in Michigan, and the slick bit of kit could fetch as much as $475,000.

The one-off car was a collaboration between General Motors and chemical company Rohm & Haas, which sought the General’s help showcasing its latest product, Plexiglas. It was featured in the “Highways and Horizons” pavilion at the fair.

The car rides on a Pontiac Deluxe-Six chassis and is powered by an L-head six-cylinder engine with a three-speed gearbox. The body mirrors that of the four-door Touring Sedan, with copper-washed metal and chrome-plated hardware. The car cost $25,000 to build.

GM built a second transparent model based on a Torpedo-Eight chassis, but the Deluxe-Six is the only one known to have survived. After the World’s Fair, it toured GM dealerships and ultimately ended up at the Smithsonian Institution, where it remained until 1947. It then passed into private ownership.

The car has 86 miles on the clock and still rides on its original U.S. Royal tires, which are white. RM auctions says the car runs, but warns that actually driving it would be “unduly detrimental” — both to the car and to the person trying to keep it clean.

Poly (methyl methacrylate) [Wikipedia]

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