History of Glassic/Replicars
By Don Davis
This rather lengthy narrative is broken
down into several parts. Click on a
"chapter" to jump directly to it.
The Birth of Glassic (1964 - 1966)
Early Production (1966 - 1972)
Glassic Sold to Parker-West (1972 - 1975)
Glassic reborn as Replicars (1976 - 1980)
This history is compiled in the fall of 2001 from a variety of sources and although thought to be correct, no claim is made for precise accuracy. Sources of data include magazine and newspaper stories, photos, comments and recollections of some people who were involved in the venture as well as conclusions of the author based on his own experiences as an entrepreneur. This document will be amended and updated as needed. -- Additions and refinements are being added, and as of 2009, there remain some discrepancies in the dates in this document. Much of that comes from the fact that actual "incorporation" and the dates that work was actually done will likely not match.
The Birth of Glassic (1964 - 1966)
Incorporation records, Palm Beach County, Florida -- Glassic Motor Car Company, Inc. 10/16/1964
Glassic Industries was started in '64 by E.V. Faircloth (the father) and an associate Frank Taylor...Taylor was not active in the project and phased out soon after... That's when son Joel came on the scene. He was appointed as Pres. of Glassic Industries...
E.V. (Jack) Faircloth was a super salesman, a diplomat, a politician and a great storyteller. He was a part of the Palm Beach, Florida area social community, and a well known and respected local political figure. Jack owned an International Harvester dealership franchise and was in an excellent position to turn a dream into a reality.
As a 12-year-old, Jacks son, Joel Faircloth had an old Model A Ford of his own. It was a "cut down" without fenders, with big tires and a milk case as a seat. He used it in West Palm Beach as a way to tow his boat from home to the boat launch, a short distance away.
In the early 1960s, there were often conversations in which people used to comment, "I wish they made cars like the Model A today". At some point Jack and his son started thinking, "Why not?"
On the golf course or somewhere, someone convinced Jack Faircloth that he should build an up-to-date Model A Ford Detroit was in a rapid growth period, with new innovations, but the big manufacturers had gotten ahead of quality, and elaborate accessories were becoming sources of problems, not convenience. There existed a sense of longing for "the good old days" -- but not for the mechanical shortcomings -- of 1930s era vehicles.
Originally they were going to make the Glassic as close as possible to a Model A Ford, but then they figured out that the doors were tiny and people were now larger, and the engine compartment was too small. They made the passenger compartment bigger and took some liberties with the design and called it a "contemporary" reproduction to make it fit people better and make it a little more comfortable. They never intended or marketed the car as an actual reproduction. They also wanted the car to be compatible with the International Scout chassis.
Jack Faircloths son, Joel, had graduated from college and had gotten married. He had grown up in that International Harvester dealership family and the whole time he was in school, he dreamed about getting back to Florida so he could sell some trucks. Even while in high school, he was involved in some of the basics of the selling game, filling out bid sheets for different city and municipal contracts and presenting them. He knew trucks backwards and forwards and in the early 1960s after college, he was out selling trucks and helping in the dealership.
Jack Faircloth started developing his idea for a Model A replica. He worked on it for three months or so and then got bogged down he just didnt know how to proceed. Jack went to the boat show in Miami and met Dick Bradley. Dick had forgotten more about reinforced plastic than anyone else knew at the time, so he came on board. They moved the project down to Dicks shop. Thats when Jack realized that the task was becoming bigger than they thought and told Joel to complete any sales in progress and start learning to work with fiberglass. Soon Joel traded in his sales clothes for work clothes. The prototype work was done in Ft Lauderdale.
Some more info is available about the prototype
Early Production (1966 - 1972)
After the prototype was built, Jack took it up to Ft Wayne, Indiana to the proving grounds of International Harvester to so they could determine if the car was "good enough" for International Harvester to sell chassis to them. International liked what they saw, so they started selling chassis to the Faircloths' who began production by buying "rolling chassis" from International. Chassis were ordered in groups of 12 units and with every fourth chassis came a huge wooden box containing the necessary parts to complete the units when the bodies were in place. Included in the box were radiators, instruments, steering columns, wiring harnesses and other necessary components.
There was only one prototype and it was made on an old International Scout 80 chassis. Only two cars were built on the Scout 80 chassis and then production switched to the model 800A. The first production car was serial number 101. After production started in 1966, there were about twenty people working for Glassic.
Although never planned as a "clone" copy, and despite various descriptive terms that have appeared over the years, the actual car on which the Glassic /Replicar was based was a 1931 Model A Ford 2-door Deluxe Sports Phaeton. The later cars shared some appearance features of a 32 Victoria in that the hoods were longer and the doors wider (See NOTE below) than earlier models.
In West Palm Beach there were three World War II era warehouse buildings. They had concrete floors and beams on 14-foot centers holding up the built-up roof. Each building was 4 sections wide and 15 sections long. Glassic used one of those buildings and the sections were assigned to welding, fiberglass, assembly etc. Parts were kept on plywood shelves near where they were ultimately needed. The company at first rented the middle building. Later when the front building became available, they bought the property which included about 5 acres. When their lease expired, they moved to the front. Since the buildings were all the same, moving was fairly easy. They ended up with one warehouse and two smaller buildings.
Designing the Glassic was a complex web of technical hurdles to overcome. The earliest seats looked like school chairs, and were actually patterned after an auditorium chair.
One problem was, old model As were narrow, and even the replicas were too narrow inside to fit Volkswagen Beetle bucket seats. To remedy that, the seats in later Glassics were patterned after a Piper Agricultural Duster plane.
The frames for plane seats were shipped by Piper to Findlay Industries in Lake Wales, Florida, dressed out there and shipped back to Piper to be installed in the planes. Those frames were used as a model for the Glassic seats. Instead of the springs, used in the plane seats, Glassics used "duck" in the bottom and foam on the top. Seats were re-patterned to fit the adjusters in the car on the drivers side and the tip frame on the other side, and designed in a width to fit in the available space. Those seats came into use about 77 (with the start of Replicars). Prior to that, the seats were just fiberglass tubs or vinyl covered foam over plywood bases with aluminum frames.
Before they learned about anodizing aluminum, some of the original cars were built with parts made of plain aluminum. The anodized looked less brilliant at first, but weathered very well. The polished aluminum shined up nicely and looked like chrome, but given time, it did not hold its appearance as well.
The first production cars had the color in the gel-coat, right in the fiberglass; later the cars were painted because they wanted more of a custom look. The later cars had the gel-coat made of a gray primer color developed with Plastic Molders Supply out of New Jersey, because Replicars wanted a surface that was easily sanded and was flexible so that paint would not easily crack. The formula developed for the Replicars became popular in other Fiberglas car parts that were built to be painted. The 1972 Glassics still had the color in the gel-coat but all of the Replicars were painted. The transition took place sometime between 72 and 75.
Getting Ford to supply engines and provide support was not an automatic process. Ford had had experience with other custom or specialty car manufacturers over the years, and many had gone out of business, sometimes without paying for their Ford parts. The burden was on the customer to show that they were a worthy credit risk for Ford, and that they knew not only exactly what they should be ordering, but also what to do with the parts in order to produce a successful finished product. Joel was assigned to two Ford engineers, John Potter and Bob Davis. He spent three days with the engineers going over parts books to specify not just the engines required, but also the other parts pertaining to the project, such as radiator, alternator, brackets, fan and so on. The arrangement with Ford needed to include specific part numbers for rear shackles, shocks, shock perches, axle ratios and so forth. It was not at all a matter of merely ordering a certain quantity of engines.
Joel called on his past parts experience in order to be able to specify exactly what was needed from Ford. The final list of parts covered five legal-size sheets. One of those "line items" was the engine. Other individual line items included the steering column, transmission and rear end. The initial order consisted of one "package" with automatic transmission, one with standard transmission, followed by 25 automatic and 10 standard transmission packages. When the parts arrived, the order had an extra starter solenoid for each car (since it was included as part of the engine), the speedometer gears were off by one tooth and had to be re-ordered, and two other small parts were either duplicated or not useable. The rest of the order had been specified correctly, an accomplishment that amazed the engineers at Ford.
In the early 1970's when pollution control became a factor, Glassic Industries was found to be in non-compliance with the first Ford powered units. Vehicle sales and deliveries were stopped, but production was allowed to continue until such time as compliance could be proven. Since all standard production Ford parts were being used, compliance was assured, so a "test vehicle" was prepared. It was hauled to Michigan for "zero" mile testing. 4000 miles were put on the vehicle by professional drivers on the streets of Detroit and then emissions were re-tested. It passed with flying colors and was found to be cleaner than the donor vehicle that had been tested by Ford. This process took 31 days, and after an air cleaner retrofit on 4 or 5 cars that had been delivered prior to the government shutdown, sales and deliveries resumed.
Between 1966 and 1972, Glassic built about 300 cars, or about one per week, with production in the early 1970s coming closer to two per week.
Glassic Sold to Parker-West (1972 - 1975)
Incorporation records, Palm Beach County, Florida -- Glassic Motors of Palm Beach Inc. -filed 9-10-73
Fred & Al Pro were brothers. Joe was Fred's son...
The Faircloths operated "Glassic Industries" from the birth of the idea in 1964 until October of 1972.
The holding company Parker-West and its President, Frederick Pro, changed the name to "Glassic Motorcar Company" and operated the company for 33 months, from October 1972 until July, 1975 (probably was actually 1974) when the Glassic Motorcar Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The judge, in disposing of the case, commented on the poor condition of the bookkeeping records of the doomed company.
When the Faircloths sold out to Parker-West, Joel continued with the company (as part of the purchase agreement) as Vice President and General Manager. Within the first 90 days or so, differences in operating philosophy emerged and Joel decreased his role in the company to the minimum permitted under the terms of the purchase contract. The volume of production had quickly increased to 250 to 300 cars per year. Cost reductions and volume increases resulted in compromises to the earlier quality standards.
The buildings manufacturing space was not quite 10,000 square feet, counting every square foot used. Production continued in the same neighborhood, although part of the operation was moved to Boca Raton and some to Boynton, Florida during the Parker-West period. Other than that, the operation was all in the area near the dog track in West Palm Beach in space later occupied by Hertz. A showroom in Beverly Hills, California, was added and opened in March of 1973, making the car marketable to the West Coast. Someone recalled a New York dealership that had sold Glassics during that period as well.
In the last year of the Parker-West ownership, there was a fire at the plant. The fiberglass lay-up room was a long room with large fans and a long boom for dispensing the fiberglass. There was a big fire door with a heat-activated release. An empty box was generally used for trash, and because of waste products in the trash that day, the box had glued itself to the floor. When the fire began (probably spontaneous combustion) the fans, pulling the air through the building, fanned the fire. The box could not merely be dragged outside to remove the source of flames since it was stuck to the floor. The fire happened during the afternoon.
One of the several molds was lost in the fire and although the lost mold could have been replaced, it wasnt, either because of loss of interest in that model of car, or emerging difficulties with creditors. Production nearly stopped. The fire was blamed, although other molds had not been damaged. Around that time the Parker-West group build about 4 or 5 Auburn boattail Speedster replicas called "Romulus"
A few Glassics were built in early 1975, but none were build in the second half of the year.
The above statement may not be accurate. In 2009 we are discovering that the company was shut down by 2005 and while there may have been a few cars built from the parts left over from the bankruptcy, there likely were not any "Glassics" built that year.
A very few closed cars were built. The closed coupe was an attempt to make a more weatherproof model with a door window and frame. A great deal of effort went into trying to make an effective closed car, but it never worked well enough for production. Two cars that were build with hard tops never resulted in a satisfactory way to attach the roof section to the base of the car. The joint was prone to cracking. Between two and three closed coupes were built, along with a single closed pickup truck.
The current whereabouts of any of the closed cars is unknown as of this writing.
Glassic reborn as Replicars (1976 - 1980)
Incorporation records, Palm Beach County, Florida --Replicars, Inc. filed 12/08/1975 --
Fred & Al Pro were brothers. Joe was Fred's son... Al is the one that came into possession of the parts after the bankruptcy and moved all the inventory that was left down to Miami to a warehouse close to the airport...
Al (supposedly - not verified as of 2009) built a few cars.
Replicars was started in August of 1975 when the Faircloths went back into the car business and AFTER the bankruptcy was settled... The Faircloths had wanted to bid on the remaining Glassic parts, but they were not offered publicly and were sold privately by the receiver and the judge to Al Pro.
During the period of Parker-West control, the Faircloths had retained ownership of the building, which they had rented to Parker-West. After the bankruptcy, the building remained with the Faircloths, who then had to clean out all of the mess left behind, help Fred Pros brother, Al, remove the inventory that he had bought at the bankruptcy sale, and re-prepare the space for production under the name Replicars. Al Pro, the brother, had also bought the molds for the body styles in the liquidation, so Replicars had to build new ones.
At the end of 1975 and throughout 1976 Replicars prepared for production. The new molds were completed by July 4th 1976, but the company missed the goal of being in full production in time to take advantage of the 1976 Christmas season. By this time, since Jack Faircloth had already partially retired, his role in Replicars was more limited, although he continued to participate in the decision process until the company closed in 1980.
As Replicars began, Joel Faircloth went to see Al Pro, who had taken the parts obtained in the bankruptcy sale to Miami, and bought back some of the parts to use in Replicars. They got windshield frames, top frames, headlight bars and other parts of that nature.
Many of the original Glassic employees had stayed with the company during the Parker-West ownership, and after the bankruptcy, some came back to work for Replicars. Others even went back and forth to Miami to help Al Pro, the brother, in his plans to restart production. That project apparently never got beyond the planning stage, and there is no indication that any cars were completed in Miami and that possibly they had been exploring moving the operation out of the country, to an area with cheaper labor.
At the start of Replicars, the main body shell of the car was changed in many regards. Only the running board area and the box at the rear that housed the gas tank remained the same. The fenders and doors were different and the cowl was changed. The doors were widened to make it easier to get into the car. The old Scout frame had had a 100 inch wheelbase, and the body of a Model A Ford needed a 102 inch wheelbase. On the old Glassics, the crown of the fender was slightly ahead of the centerline of the tire; on the Replicars, the body aligned, since the wheelbase was increased. The hood was a different shape, although the grill shell remained the same. The top frames and the windshield frame were the same.
When Replicars began in 1976 after the bankruptcy, they were contacted by Ford, which was holding an order of engines that had not been delivered to the now bankrupt Glassic Motor Car Company. Since the engines were already built and ready to go, Ford was willing to sell them to Replicars on a "pay as you use them basis" The engines were worth about $1500 each, and were a bargain because they did not require a large up-front investment. That prompted Replicars to check other vendors that were left holding inventory. Replicars built a 30 x 60 warehouse to store the parts..
Replicars had maintained close quality control of the frames. A great deal of attention went into making sure that the frames were neatly welded, no burrs, no grinding down of the welds. They were to be cleanly welded in the first place.
In the 70s Ford engines needed to be "calibrated" regarding pollution standards. Ford would supply parts to be used with the engines to determine if they met pollution standards. It was not enough that the parts be approved for Ford use, but the same engines needed to be re-tested for Replicars use as well.
From the time of the introduction of Ford engines in the cars in 1970 - 1971, Ford would supply the company with an engine, and a box of parts called "known parts" marked with yellow paint (or tape) to use with the engine.
They had to pollution-test a car with a new engine and zero miles on it then they had to drive the car on the streets of Farmingdale, Michigan (simulating city driving), and then re-test the car after 4000 miles. They had to hire drivers, and run the car 24 hours a day to quickly accumulate the miles so that it could be tested again.
On one occasion, the weather was so bad in Detroit, that a car would never have completed the 4,000-mile test on the city streets. That year the vehicle was hauled back to Florida. The Palm Beach Speedway was rented and using an approved "stop and go" plan to simulate city driving, the car was run around the clock. (An inspector from the government flew to Florida just to keep them honest, only to find the car was right on planned time and projected mileage. At first the inspector did not find the car at its scheduled place. When the car showed up, the driver said that he had gotten tired of going round and around the same way, so he had reversed direction and was going the other way for a while.) A trailer had been modified to bring fuel to the test site and temperature, fuel consumption and any unusual weather conditions had to be documented during the mileage accumulation. A portable "desk" was mounted in the car's passenger area to keep time charts and mileage data.
The testing requirements were not as severe for Replicars they were for Ford, since their test was only 4000 miles for their limited production. Ford themselves had to have a 50,000 mile test for the same engine; Replicars just had to prove that the engine was behaving the same in their cars. Ford once had a Lincoln presidential limo that it was going to give to the government, and they were still required to test the car for 4000 miles before giving the car away.
With increasing government regulations and the need to keep up with the technical aspects of building cars, Faircloth was spending more and more time "putting out fires." It became time to hire a general manager. The company had many applicants, with candidates offering all types of automotive experience. With the help of his wife, Joel concluded that he needed someone with "people skills" so he asked an employment agency to send him people with banking experience, since bankers were used to dealing with people. They could learn the specifics of the replica business later. Bill Laurence had been a bank trouble-shooter going to different sites to solve problems. He was hired and served during the Replicars period. The role of Bill Laurence was that of a calming influence with his even disposition. Joel, on the other hand, was the crisis solver. Joel was experienced and highly skilled in all aspects of production and often filled in on the assembly line wherever there was an emergency.
During the height of the gas crisis, staff from Replicars would take a trailer with gas barrels to the station of a friend and be the first ones at the pumps in the morning. They would fill up the barrels and provide each employee with 5 gallons a week. The employees were told that they were getting a gallon a day, so they could be sure that they could get to work.
At the beginning of the Replicars period, and as they started building their own chassis, the company was concerned that the Department of Transportation would further regulate production standards. Manufacturers had to comply with fewer regulations if they were using a multi-purpose chassis such as the Scout had used. When Glassic first started building their own chassis, they mounted on a Scout body on one just to prove that it would fit. Then as they made changes to improve the chassis, by changing the leaf springs, etc., they wanted to establish that their chassis was indeed not a "car" chassis, so they built a truck. That was the first of just a few pickup trucks. That truck established that the custom frame had gone from being a multi-purpose vehicle frame to a truck chassis.
The ratio of Phaetons to Roadsters produced was probably about 60% Phaetons and 40% Roadsters. The Roadster was more expensive to build, mostly because of the difficulty in building the rumble seat door. That door had to fit correctly both when closed, and when open. It was the fitting and construction made them more expensive.
Most of the cars were made to order, generally with a waiting period of 60 to 90 days, but there was always a car just about finished for "Mr. House." If someone came in who just could not wait for a car, the fictional Mr. House could be contacted and would always be willing to give up his place in line to a good customer and to save a sale!
The first radiator shells were fiberglass, gel-coated in the mold. Part of it matched the body color (known as the "frown" and the "smile" inserts), and a metallic, metal flake finish was used on the rest of the shell. Then, in the late 60s the company changed the radiator shells to plastic. They had wanted to have the chrome look all along, but large plastic part fabrication was not that sophisticated, and the grill shell was large, with 7 square feet of surface. Getting a vacuum form for parts that size did not work well. There was an "under-cut" on the grill, so Glassic built their own machinery (oven, mold, vacuum chamber) and experimented, developing a technique to make the process work properly. Once formed, trimming became an issue since, unlike fiberglass, the plastic would tend to melt. They finally were able to trim the shells using high-speed routers.
After the molding and trimming problems were solved, they had to get the shells plated. They found a plater in Georgia, and began experimenting with that aspect. It was a long, drawn-out and expensive process. Even after all of the bugs were worked out, nearly one out of each three grills was not suitable for use, and had to be thrown away. Before plating, the plastic was quite flimsy, but after plating it was much stronger, so a rack had to be built to hold the grill shell in shape until it was plated. Drilling holes in the finished product also risked damage. Since then, the processes have likely been improved.
A metal radiator shell had been considered, but would have had to be custom fabricated from stainless steel, and the cost was prohibitive. At that time, Model A reproduction parts were either unavailable in quantity, and/or excessively expensive. The 1931 Model A stainless steel grill shell, although similar, is taller than the Replicar required. (It can, however, be modified to fit if a replacement is necessary).
There had been an objection to the goose hood ornament by the safety people, suggesting that it was too sharp, so some cars had a ring hood ornament.
The early hoods had a one-piece top section. When the hoods were first split, and a piano hinge was used to join the halves, rainwater would run down in the hinge and onto the air cleaner. To fix the problem, they took a piece of canvas material, made a trough, and glued it under the hinge so that the water would run to the front or rear, and not down on the air cleaner. A number of cars were sold without that canvas under the hinge before they discovered the problem, which was not noticeable unless the car sat still in the rain. While driving, any rain just blew off.
All of the later car fabric interiors were made in Lake Wales by Findlay Industries. The custom-made tops were called "box tops" because they came in a box. There were no buttons on the side curtains, so Glassic put the top on the car, added the buttons on the top and then put the snaps on the curtains. The interiors came semi-assembled since they did not want to send the seat frames to Lake Wales. Replicars had an area to assemble the interiors, where they had a large 6 x 12 table. The area had a commercial sewing machine (used for last minute modifications, or prototype work, etc.) but the area was mostly used to finish interiors prepared by Findlay, and delivered to Replicars in quantities of 20 or so at a time. Larger orders were never placed, so that there was no fear of holding large outdated inventory should the specifications change.
In January 1977 the company hired Sylvia Oliver as Sales Manager. She played a major role in the sales of the Replicars. She was excellent in pursuing her customers, and had thorough and dogged ability at follow-through. She carefully tracked the source of advertising exposure for every customer who contacted the company.
The phone was the lifeline of the company. (Every call that came in had to be answered by the third ring.) Diane, the receptionist for many years, was in charge of getting information from callers -- finding out if they had been in touch before, or had received literature etc. All contacts were kept in a card file so that the information on customers was available should people call back. The card was then passed on to Sylvia, who followed up. Usually the third contact with a customer was the most productive. Only about one sale out of 30 or so was to walk-in customers, but an office was kept at the plant just for that purpose.
Human models appeared in most brochures and ads so that the prospective buyer could judge the size of the car.
Sky Magazine (a glossy publication placed in the seat pouches of Delta Airlines planes) was a productive ad source. Most replica buyers were professional, higher income, multiple-vehicle owners, which explained the successful use of Sky Magazine. A display in the Atlanta airport was also successful. An actual car was placed there on a portable parquet floor and a hitching post barrier surrounded the car. Full information was available in picture form, and there were also small cards for people to take.
. An earlier display with an actual car was tried near the center of the old Palm Beach airport, where there were always lots of people milling about, but the placement at Palm Beach (under a stairwell) was not very good. Placing the display in that airport prompted them to consider which airport had the most layovers. When the airport in Atlanta was selected, the actual location of the display was negotiated before taking the car to the site, getting them a good central spot with 360-degree exposure.
At one point in the mid 1960s, Pratt Whitney opened a plant nearby and when they did, a number of Glassic employees left to work there. The company had come from Connecticut and was offering Connecticut wages, which were considerably higher than those in Florida at the time.
In 1979, Replicars decided to make kits and planned to ship cars in kit form for enthusiasts to build themselves. They thought that the kits would be big sellers and had high expectations for the project. They built a trailer and hauled 3 samples to a National Street Rod Association show Columbus, Ohio in 1979 or 1980. The Phaeton body, with doors attached, was suspended on a pair of sawhorses. A person could get in the body and the doors still worked. Joel even stood on the hood to show the strength. The body itself was built like a uni-body and had a good deal of strength. There were thousands of hot rods at the show, but Replicars did not experience a marketing success. They never drove their finished car in the "cruise" part of that show (a drive-around parade of hot rods) since the lines were so long to form up for the parade. At that time the economy was in a slump, and interest rates were very high. In the end, they sold only one kit.
At the time of the street rod show in Columbus, money was so tight at Replicars that they ended up hauling someone elses show purchase on their trailer for gas money. That person did not want to drive his new, fancy hot rod home so the "Show Replicar" was driven home by the purchaser's girlfirend.
Throughout production there had been challenges in working with fiberglass molds. Because the fiberglass would shrink in unpredictable ways, the molds sometimes had to be build differently from the desired end product. A good deal of experimentation was necessary. Replicars made some molds for other businesses both during, and after their car production, since they had the know-how. After Replicars closed, some car molds went to the dump, and others were given to someone in Fort Pierce who wanted them. There is no information as to what, if anything was done with them afterwards.
1980 would have been the last year of production. No specific information remains regarding the serial number of the last car produced. All of the government-required records had been packed in boxes in the sales office. When someone made landscape drainage changes in that area, a rainy spell left 8 inches of water where there had never been flooding before. The water apparently sat for some time in the unused building, turning the boxes stored on the office floor into big masses of concrete-like, paper bricks.
Later Joel took pictures of the mess being thrown into a dumpster, in case the government wanted to know why their corporate records had not been kept the required number of years.
There is no source for remaining parts unique to the Glassic, since special body parts were ordered based on engine purchases. Since engines were the most expensive part, the number of other components were ordered to match the number of engines being bought with no leftovers planned.
After Replicars ceased production, some of the staff ran a job shop for fiberglass mold-making for a while in the building, and rented part of the space to a sheet metal shop. Hertz ended up leasing the space since it was near the airport, and eventually bought the property.
Joel Faircloth shared many traits with his father. Like his father, he was an excellent storyteller, and a congenial, outgoing leader and community member. He gave the impression of being a "county boy" (his grandparents were originally from Mitchell County, Georgia), but he had a quick mind, an outstanding memory and profound understanding of mechanical concepts.
Years later, Joel described the overall car manufacturing experience as "a lot of fun." When asked what he would do differently, or if, knowing what he now knows, would he have done it again, he replied, "If I were to do it again first of all, it cant be done again, the laws have just changed too much with environmental concerns, safety laws, production liabilities and such . . ." He then went on to explain that he would begin with an existing, manufactured "tub" of a car, and modify that, since the door fit and overall structure of the passenger cab represented a disproportionate amount of challenge.
Even the seating specifications had to be calculated and engineered, using "Oscar," a blueprint of a 90 percentile human male driver at that time. People were not the same size as they were in the days of the original Model As. Final seating and pedal placement ended up as a trial and error process using actual people and temporary brackets. When the project began, the Faircloths thought that building the body would be 90 percent of the job, and as complex as body-building was, it turned out to be a minor part, "maybe 5 percent", of the overall project of manufacturing and selling Glassics.
There is no evidence that anyone ever made any large sums of money from this adventure in motoring. It is equally clear that most people connected with the project enjoyed a large degree of personal satisfaction and pride in providing a measure of pleasure for customers at the time, and a lasting tribute to the venerable Model A and their own "sweat equity". The conclusion can be drawn that Glassic was a labor of love, executed by a core of entrepreneurs who showed the same spirit and dedication as other pioneers of small business in America.
Copyright 2001, 2009 Don Davis