Tag Archives: Verdes

The Welsh Twin Royces – Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster

Gary L Wales winner of the 1984 Great American race for ‘antique’ cars is also a prize winning restoration expert who also has penchant for what he calls ‘Retro Design’ with which he aims to put together pleasing and fun vehicles for the road which recombine some of the best ideas stolen from the entire history of motoring.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

Today’s featured car started life as a 1937 Rolls Royce 20/25 chassis onto which had been built a Saloon / Sedan body. The car ended up as a termite demolished derelict in Puerto Rico and in the mid 1980’s Gary acquired the chassis which is fitted with a 25/30 4257 cc / 259 cui six cylinder motor. 25/30 motors were introduced to the 20/25 chassis because owners were having bodies fitted to their cars which were too heavy for the 20/25 3699 cc / 225 cui motors. Note Gary has used double hinges for the bonnet / hood which nicely extend the line of the radiator grill.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

Gary who by his own admission “flunked ruler reading” like any artisan turns his remarkable designs from his head into sheet metal using traditional techniques and tools, employing the work shop floor for schematic layout and traditional tools like the English Wheel.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

For the Boattail Speedster Gary decided to move the motor, transmission and fire wall back a full 18 inches to give this car a longer bonnet line with the added benefit of improving the handling. The design for the wings / fenders was inspired by the French coach builder Henri Labourdette.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

The dash board is original note the goggles are hanging from a map reading light to aid navigation by the passenger at night.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

Labourdette also made numerous boattailed bodies back in the day, the wood work for Gary’s Rolls was cut by Gary’s neighbour John Maddocks who happens to be President of an Antique Boat Society.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

The Philippine mahogany with darker Honduras mahogany edging is backed by aluminium from which the rest of the bodywork was also made.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

If one lets ones eye follow the center line of the vehicle from the rear to the front it passes through the centre screen pillars which frame the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot on the radiator grill at the front.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

If it is remarkable that Gary should build one such car it is surely all the more remarkable that around the time he acquired this chassis he acquired a second chassis of the same type and similar age which had served as an Ambulance in London during the ’39/’45 war. Gary made an identical twin of today’s featured Speedster and both are usually seen together. As with much else Gary’s Retro Designed pair of Speedsters have also become award winners.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton who took these photographs at last years Palo Verdes Concours d’Elegance, and to Gary Wales who kindly confirmed which of his Rolls Royce twins Geoffrey took the photos of.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Welsh Royces” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


So You Think You Know Your Sports Cars – Palos Verdes C d’ E

Thanks to photo’s sent by Geoffrey Horton, I am pleased to bring you another dose of California sunshine from the Palos Verdes Concours d’ Elegance held last weekend.

Palos Verdes Concours

About the most difficult vehicle to identify in this over view is the Mazda Como Sport unless like me you have wasted a little time playing Grand Turismo 4. Easiest vehicle to identify for regular GALPOT readers should be Geoffrey’s Jaguar XK140 FHC, which was up against a Mercedes Gullwing this time out. Shocking to me was that Geoffrey sent me photo’s of five vehicles who’s manufacturers I had never heard of.

Coachcraft 'Yankie Doodle' Roadster, Palos Verdes

Oldest of the five was this 1940 Coachcraft ‘Yanke Doodle’ Roadster, a one off with a chassis frame built from Hudson Essex and Ford models by 17 year old Seward Allan with a body by Coachcraft of West Hollywood and modifications by Frank Kurtis.

Maverick Sportster, Palos Verdes

My favourite of the five is this this 1952 Maverick Sportster, a 210 lbs boat tail fibre glass body built by Sterling Gladwin sitting on top of a Flathead Cadillac powered LaSalle chassis. This particular vehicle appears to be the prototype which is recognisable by the absence of any doors.

Woodhill Wildfire, Palos Verdes

Next up we have a car of the type that starred in the reckless and thrilling film ‘Johnny Dark’ namely a Woodhill Wild Fire built by California Dodge dealer Robert ‘Woody’ Woodhill, who dreamed of owning a Jaguar XK120 and ended up building two fibre glass specials. With Willys running gear and tailor made Glasspar bodies, Woodhill was unsuccessful at selling his sportscar to Kaiser, owner of Willy’s, and after modifying his car to run with Ford running gear he then built similar Buick and Cadillac examples. Again failing to gain manufacturer support Woodhill settled for building his sports cars with Ford running gear and selling then as kit cars that could be assembled in 14 hours, famously demonstrating a 4 hour build on TV.

Glasspar G2, Palos Verdes

The company that started the glass fibre revolution in US sports car production appears to be Glasspar a company specialising in building fibre glass fibre boats who built a, Bill Tritt designed, special, the Brooks Boxer, for USAF Major Ken Brooks. The mould for the Brooks Boxer was then used to produce the Glasspar G2 of the type seen here. A modified version of the G2 body was supplied to Robert Woodhill for his Wild Fire kits.

Hirsch Roadster, Palos Verdes

Finally the fibre glass body vehicle above is known as a 1960 Hirsch Roadster, sources on the internet suspect the date since the car is described as having Fiero steering, Datsun 280Z rear axle, and a 1966 289 Ford V8 connected to a similarly sourced 5 speed transmission. The owner believes the cars roots lie in a business that failed to get off the ground in Orange County. If you know anything about the Hirsch or indeed about any of the cars above please do not hesitate to either leave a message or get in touch be e-mail, my address is on the bottom of the page.

My thanks again to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs from Palos Verdes.

Thanks for joining me on this glass fibre edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Rover. Don’t forget to come back now !