The Stalgia

In 1976 we designed and built a prototype called the Stalgia. Basically a generic design somewhere between a Morgan and an MG. The idea was to make a body kit based on the VW chassis which was the simplest and most popular chassis for building a sports car from a kit. This was about the time several fiberglass body kits were being produced. They all had one fault, the production rate was slow, about one car per week, and the bodies looked just like what they were, fiberglass copies of metal cars. One of the primary advantages to using fiberglass was that the body could be molded in one or a few pieces. All the seams a metal car would normally have were smoothed over and the color often molded into the fiberglass, much like what is done today with boats. While the nice smooth boat with molded in color has advantages over a wooden boat, the sports car body molded the same way was obviously a "replica" copy of a metal body and lost much of it's "nostalgiac" appeal. The "Stalgia" was to be a replica as close as possible to a real metal bodied sports car. 

The design of the "Stalgia" incorporated both fiberglass and ABS plastic. The concept was to use the fiberglass for a basic "chassis" molded of fiberglass and all the other components vacuum formed from the thermoplastic ABS. The body kit was made from a total of fifteen seperate parts which were assembled with welting where it normally would have been used in an equivalent metal sports car. One of the reasons for this approach to the design was that it allowed for the manufacturing of approximately fifty body kits per week. This was a necessity if a reasonable  production rate could be accomplished.

Another major design factor was that all plastic parts were contoured within the design limits of a metal body. The main idea was not to make a curve or contour easily possible with fiberglass. If the contours of the body were not possible if it were to be made in metal, then it was not done. The end effect was that you could stand next to the "Stalgia" and never realize it was a plastic bodied sports car.

 


Before the prototype was completed it was displayed at a show without the designed windshield frame, grill and bumpers. As you can see from the pictures, an aluminum bar was used as a bumper, the grill was stamped aluminum mesh, and the windshield frame was made of wood. Although these finishing details were not as designed, the car was very well received at the show. A number of orders were taken but no production cars were ever produced.  The prototype was later "cannablized" by the owners who unfortunately didn't have the funds necessary to go into production. I have no idea where the body ended up.

 

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