This is a very rare 1953 Cadillac two-door fiberglass sport roadster that was built by two brothers, Wally & Harry Hansen in Inglewood, California and was titled in 1953. This is one of two of these cars that the brothers built from molds that they handcrafted. This car has a 1953 Cadillac engine with a 1948 Lincoln gear box and Lincoln brakes. This car is standard shift, and the identical other one they built has a 1953 Oldsmobile engine with a hydramatic automatic transmission. To date, we have not been able to find what has become of it. They built these two cars to race at Lion Drag Strip in Pomona California. This car that is for sale was purchased by George Crocker and spent several years in his car museum at Nags Head North Carolina. George purchased this car before he became partners with Tom Monahan of Domino's Pizza. This car then spent several years in the famous car museum at Tom Monaham's headquarters in Ann Arbor Michigan. When they started dissolving the museum around 1990, George Crocker sold to me this beautiful little roadster. The car is white with red inserts on the sides and has two chrome air scoops mounted in the front of each of the rear quarter panels. I had one of the best body shops in Northwestern Pennsylvania repaint the car. The only item that is not original is the newer Cadillac steering wheel. I put new correct size tires with the wide white walls on it and kept the original 1953 spinner Olds hubcaps that came on it. These cars were featured in the centerfold of the February 1955 Motor Trend magazine, a copy of which will be included. This car eventually wound up at one of the General Motors Technical Centers and was tested with a camera on a trailing sulky, recording how the car rolled on curves. This was in the year 1955, and I have the booklet from General Motors Technical Center that pictures this. We cannot confirm this but we were told that this car was in the Motorama show in California in 1955. The car has been cosmetically redone with new red and white paint and has been meticulously detailed. It was completely gone over mechanically earlier this year. The interior has been cleaned and is in the original state. It has a radio, which does work. The engine and engine compartment have been detailed with red & black paint. Some of the under carriage of the car and the wheel wells also have been detailed with black paint. In building this car the brothers used a cut-down 1953 Chevrolet grille, headlight rims & taillight assemblies, one of which swings out to put gas in the filler tube. They also used 1953 Studebaker front & back bumpers, with a 1953 Studebaker license plate housing. All of the chrome is in impeccable condition, having never been re-chromed.
The below paragraph is quoted from the February 1955 Motor Trend magazine:
Double-takes are commonplace in Inglewood (Calif.) when Wally and Harry Hansen take to the local highways and by-ways. Simple in design execution and appealing in appearance, their twin "Cobra" Fiberglass sportsters are owner-built, and at a glance, differ only in color (one's light blue, the other is white). The two cars stand just 36 inches high at the cowl, and measure 180 inches in length; they're mounted on a 106-inch wheelbase. Beneath-the-skin differences add up to a compromise well flavored with lively performance and easy driving. Wally's Cobra is powered by a '53 Oldsmobile engine linked to a Hydra-Matic transmission; suspension components are also Oldsmobile. His 2600-pound car boasts power steering and power brakes. Harry's car is 200 pounds lighter, get its go-power from a '54 Cadillac engine, and its stop power from Lincoln brakes. This Cobra's output goes to a 3.54 rear axle through a '48 Lincoln gearbox.
My mechanic checked the numbers on the motor, and it is a 1953, not a 1954 as the article states.
The below is the information that was displayed when the car was on exhibit at Domino's Classic Car Museum in Ann Arbor, Michigan:
1953 CADILLAC "TOADSTER" - DOMINO'S CLASSIC CAR COLLECTION - ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
BUILT BY CADILLAC MOTOR CAR COMPANY, DETROIT, MICHIGAN
WHEELBASE: 108 IN
ENGINE; V-8, 331 C.I. 4 BARREL CARBURETOR
This car was produced as a prototype for a sporty new Cadillac to compete with Chevrolet's popular new Corvette. Officially known only as a "Two-door roadster", it was affectionately referred to as the Toadster.
Cadillac eventually scrapped the idea of producing a sporty car due to lack of public interest. It continued to produce only full-size luxury cars until 1988, when the Allante, a luxury sports car, was introduced.
The card incorrectly stated that the car had been built by Cadillac Motor Car Company, when, in fact, it was only tested by them.
People who toured Domino's Classic Car Collection in Ann Arbor Michigan, along with the employees, will remember when this car was referred to in the museum as the "Toadster". In other words, this car has had many aliases in its 56 year history.
Also included are different magazines and other vintage literature, along with the Domino's display card.
This car, in all actuality, really belongs in a lot of different collections. It is not only a great piece of automotive history and a very early fiberglass built sports car (built about the same time the 1953 Corvette was being introduced), it also was used as a drag race car at the Lion Drag Strip in Pomona California. This car should also have a place in one of the Drag Race Hall Of Fames, as it was a very early fast car that was initially built to be used on the drag strips. It runs beautifully, is very fast, shifts great and rides really well, as we replaced the shocks and shackles.
What a great automobile to own, as this is an attention-getter and draws a crowd wherever it is put on display. We have had this on display in our Flipside Collectors Mall for many years, and this is the first we have ever offered it for sale.