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Clear Plastic Plymouth Chassis at the 1952 Chicago Auto Show

This press photo, dated Feb. 18, 1952, from the archives complete with its original press release was taken at the 1952 Chicago Auto Show. It was featured here over six years ago, but no one has been able to tell us more about it or who constructed it; we wonder if it was an in-house job at Plymouth or if was it fabricated by an outside vendor experienced with complicated one-off show displays? The chassis was made out of clear plastic with the exception of the steering wheel and some of the internal parts in the engine, and other assemblies.

The release with the photograph reads as follows: “Plymouth chassis and operating motor enclosed in clear plastic fascinate models Myra Miller (left) and Josephine Gayton. Plastic enables visitors to see the motor running”.

We believe it is likely that the internal engine and drive train components were slowly rotated by a speed-reduction gear set powered by an electric motor to dazzle show attendees. Can any of our readers tell us more about this fascinating display?



26 responses to “Clear Plastic Plymouth Chassis at the 1952 Chicago Auto Show

    • That seems yes.. when a child I had a land nivelator machine with their internal parts made in clear plastic.That piece is amazing!.I can´t imagine the hours of hard working it would take to make,and how much it worth!

  1. I’m guessing the same co. that made the transparent `40 Pontiac display car may have done this one? The one difference I see off the bat is that the Pontiac (If I recall correctly) had white rubber tires, and this chassis seems to have some sort of clear plastic attached to the tread portions? Interesting nontheless.

    • I ageee…yes that Pontiac has white rubber tires(painted ? ).And the Pontiac had many metalic parts ,I believe that was a full functional car.

      • I can’t imagine the tooling costs for the cavity molds that were required to do this, especially if they only made a few. NO cheap molds from China then as we were not on the best of terms at that time. (1952- Korean War).

      • They made a complete Plexiglas hood for the Olds 88 when the Rocket engine came out. The dealership where my Dad bought several Oldsmobiles had one up in their parts store room they showed me about 1956. I think it cost more than a new metal hood in 1949/50.

    • phil lundy The chassis may of been bilt by a company called “Stubbs” As for the Pontiac white tires, the same material as “whitewall” ties.

  2. I built several of the transparent engines and chassis and I still have each of the originals in my workshop. As for the transparent chassis, Rohm & Haas developed Plexiglass in the mid 30’s and first used in volume for aircraft clear canopes, etc. As for the transparent Pontiacs, three were built. No.1 was with a 1939 front end style. The second was with a 1940 (mid series) while the last was the senior (torpedo) 8 cyl chassis, also 1940 style.

  3. As I recall, the Pontiacs were complete cars, including complete interiors and bodywork, not just a rolling chassis. Correct?

  4. I’ve always enjoyed the chief benefit of a 60-80 year old driver daily driving a 60-80 year old car; they’re ends and tops stick out at the parking lot so much it doesn’t matter if you forgot where you parked. driving a transparent model would be detrimental along these lines . Also transparency in car ownership might lead to some embarrassing moments at the drive in. On the other hand the car wash experience would be greatly enhanced particularly in light of modern multicolored suds .

    • In the town where I grew up, I remember seeing a similar display at the local Plymouth dealer’s show room. Must have been 1946 or so. It was my real introduction to how cars worked. It captured my attention and I’ve never lost my fascination with cars, trucks and any other driven machinery. In my 80s now, I can still recall that Saturday morning when my father and I visited the show room. I was forever hooked!

  5. While taking an autoshop class in the early ’50s, our shop had a ’41 Plymouth chassis only painted gray with “all white” tires.

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