Pontiac Plexiglas Deluxe Six Ghost Car
The Pontiac Plexiglas Deluxe Six "Ghost Car" is a unique classic car built by General Motors and the chemical company Rohm and Haas to feature at the 1939/40 World’s Fair in New York.
The vehicle was the first fully transparent car ever built in the United States, and was the highlight of General Motors’ “Highways and Horizons” pavilion at the fair. It utilised the new invention of Plexiglas, the world’s first transparent acrylic sheet invented by the company Rohm and Haas during their research into laminated safety glass.
The car’s design was based on a Pontiac four-door Touring Sedan, and featured chrome-plated hardware beneath the transparent exterior shell. It was estimated to have cost $25,000 to build, and includes white rubber mouldings and tires to add to its ‘ghostly’ appearance.
History and ownership
After the World’s Fair ended the car was sent across America on a tour of the nation’s Pontiac dealerships along with another transparent model, the Torpedo Eight ‘Ghost Car’ built for the 1940 Golden Gate Exposition on Treasure Island in San Francisco. The Deluxe Six is the only model believed to have survived.
After the tour ended the car was displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington until 1947, and later fell into the hands of several Pontiac dealers in the state of Pennsylvania. Records show that the vehicle was presented at the first meeting of the Pontiac-Oakland Club International in 1973, and was purchased soon after by car collector Don Barlup.
Barlup sold it to fellow collector Leo Gephart in 1979, after a series of careful restorations, and in the early 1980s it changed hands again. It has remained in a family collection ever since.
In July 2011 the classic car auction house RM Auctions announced that the car would be sold at a special auction in Plymouth, Michigan on Saturday July 30. Experts estimated the value of the vehicle at between $275,000 and $475,000.
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