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1955 Woodill Wildfire - Corvette Special

Make: Other Makes
Model: Woodill Wildfire - Corvette Special
Year: 1955
Mileage: 99999
VIN: 55WW9939
Vehicle Title: Clear
Item location: Tampa, Florida, United States

1955 Other Makes Woodill Wildfire - Corvette Special Additional Info:

1955 Woodill Wildfire

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1955 Woodill Wildfire - Corvette Special

One of America's First Fiberglass Sports Cars

In the early postwar years, the rush to build America's first fiberglass sports car was "on" and Woodill Wildfire was at the head of the pack. Fiberglass was the "carbon fiber" of its day and people were interested in seeing and owning these sports cars. But in most cases, if you wanted an American sports car, you had to build it yourself. And a few courageous individuals did.

Cars made by Bill Tritt of "Glasspar" and Eric Irwin of "Lancer" are recognized as being the first American sports cars built from fiberglass that were offered to the public in 1951. You could buy a "factory" car or you could "build your own." The Woodill Wildfire sports car in today's auction is one of the best known from this period.

The initial "Wildfire" debuted in the fall of 1952 using a modified Glasspar G2 sports car body. Three of these prototypes were built to sell the idea to Willys as a potential sports car. After Willys and Kaiser merged in early 1953, the Kaiser Darrin became their sports car of choice, and Woodill went back to the drawing board and created an entirely new body design. This new body design (the same as being offered in today's auction) debuted in July 1953.

Featured in three movies, the Wildfire's most famous appearance was in the 1954 movie "Johnny Dark" starring Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie. In this movie, it held the starring role as a sports car turned race car which ultimately won and allowed "Johnny Dark" (Tony Curtis) to get the girl.

Click on the photo below to see the three minute movie trailer.

Click on the photo above to watch the movie trailer for "Johnny Dark"

The Woodill Wildfire also received wide attention when it appeared in a 1955 TV Show starring Art Baker called "You Asked For It." In this show, the crew at Wildfire prepped to quickly build and assemble a Wildfire sports car. With practice they got it down to 4 hours, which is shown in this tv segment below.

Click on the photo below to see the 6 minute video on "Building Your Own Sports Car" featuring the Wildfire.

Click on the photo above to watch the Woodill Wildfire TV Episode from 1955

The Woodill Wildfire was built for 4 short years - late 1952 through 1956. Approximately 100 of these sports cars were built by the factory and individuals. Less than half are known to exist today. Most recently a class of these specialty cars appeared at the 2015 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. Two of these were shown by their original owners/builders and won awards in their class. These car are shown below at Amelia. The dream of designing and building your own sports car lives on for enthusiasts who appreciate this part of American sports car history.

Articles of Interest:

Article: American Postwar Specials/Sports Cars - Published in the 2015 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance Progam

Motor Trend Classic (Shows a Wildfire Prototype): Summer, 2014

Collectible Automobile: October, 2005

Articles on the History of Woodill Wildfire

Articles on the 1954 Movie "Johnny Dark"

The Car For Auction: 1955 Woodill Wildfire, Corvette Special

We acquired this Wildfire about 3 years ago, and it has a great history. Originally built by Larry Frank in California in the 1950s, Larry kept the car until his passing in 2013. However, in the 1970s, he did a full rebuild of the car making it a powerhouse - with Corvette components. Here is some of what he did:

* Built a custom frame using the independent rear suspension of an 1963 Corvette with a later Chevrolet front end suspension.

* Corvette brake drums at rear; disc brakes up front

* Power steering, power brakes with dual-chamber master cylinder

* Roll bar

* Excellent amount of leg room when sitting behind the wheel

* Fender flares - tastefully done

* Upgraded engine to Chevrolet 396 cubic inches which was the size used in some 1960s Chevrolet Corvettes

* Updated to automatic transmission with ratchet "quick throw" shifter

* Larry Frank (original owner/builder) installed the Corvette emblem above the rear bumper proudly proclaiming "Chevrolet Motor Division - Corvette" as its signature

Some of the upgrades we have done include:

* New paint

* New custom interior with the name "Wildfire" embroidered on each seat

* New carpet in cockpit and trunk

* Custom engine-turned dashboard

* New Stewart Warner "Wings" gauges

* Powdercoated grill, bumper and roll bar

* New Halibrand style rims

* Four new tires: Front 205 70 R15 / Rear 225 75 R15

* Upgraded 4-row aluminum radiator with electric fan/thermostat

* Fully rewired electrical system

* VIN: 55WW9939

Links of Interest:

Auction Results: 1953 Victress S1A Roadster Bid to $150,000 at Mecum, Chicago, October, 2015

Auction Results: 1953 Woodill Wildfire Sold at $66,000 at Aurburn, Indiana in September, 2012

Hagerty Valuation Guide: Glasspar

Hagerty Valuation Guide: Woodill Wildfire


Shown Below Are Photos of The 1955 Woodill Wildfire Being Auctioned in this Sale



Vintage Photos of Different Woodill Wildfire Sports Cars



Shown Below is a Vintage Article Discussing the Woodill Wildfire



Transportation costs and arrangements from origination (Tampa, Florida) to buyer's location are the responsibility of the buyer. This car is being advertised locally and we reserve the right to end the auction at any time. Car is being sold "as-is." People have different opinions and expectations of old cars. It is your responsibility to inspect this vehicle or send a third party inspector for your satisfaction. A $2000 non-refundable deposit is due within 48 hours of the end of the auction. Full payment via electronic/bank transfer is due no later than 7 days from the end of the auction.


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