1958 Dick Williams Sports Special
In 1958 Dick Williams envisioned and constructed this Sports Special as a candidate for his local Kansas City Custom Car Show. Inspired by the Corvette and other fiberglass cars of the period, he fabricated his dream car around a 1950 Ford chassis while at engineering school.
After his tour in the Korean War, Dick used some principles he learned from his Taylor & Art Plastics kit to construct his own car. He used a large wooden and plaster buck to carefully construct the body in fiberglass. He was able to source a 1950 Ford chassis with independent front suspension from Honest Art’s Used Car Lot for $75 and pushed it home.1
Inspired by Ferraris and Maseratis of the period, the Sports Special was low slung with a large oval intake. In keeping with the American trends, he later fitted large rear fins which were all the rage in 1958. Unique features included a swoopy side scoop, recessed headlights, pleated interior panels, 1950 Pontiac tail lights, a machine-turned dashboard and an eight-ball shifter.
With a high attention to detail, the car was completed in one year’s time for the 1959 Kansas City Custom Car Show. Also on display was a new car by hot-rodder Ray Farhner.1 At the show, Dick sold the car to Norbert Borth for $2,600 and never saw the car again. Norbert replaced the flat-head Ford with a Corvette 289 and raced the car throughout the mid-west.1
Remarkably, the car was discovered nearly 50 years later on ForgottenFiberglass.com. Described for sale in Florida as a Batmobile prototype, it was purchased in November of 2011 by John Muller and restored over eight months by Chuck Croteau of Redline Service. They received the car which was essentially untouched since 1960 with the original engine. Together they completed car just in time for the 2012 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Largely untested, the Dick Williams Sports Special successfully competed the weekend of racing alongside other specials such as the Ol’ Yaller, Hagemann-Sutton C Mod and an Echidna.
|built at||Kansas, USA|
|engine||1958 Corvette 283|
|displacement||4638 cc / 283 in³|
|power||186.4 kw / 250 bhp @ 7000 rpm|
|specific output||53.9 bhp per litre|
|bhp/weight||275.33 bhp per tonne|
|body / frame||Fiberglass Body over 1950 Ford Frame|
|front brakes||Ford Drums|
|rear brakes||Ford Drums|
|curb weight||908 kg / 2000 lbs|
|wheelbase||2540.0 mm / 100 in|