Fiberfab

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Fiberfab Jamaican

Fiberfab Velocidad Inc was an American kit car manufacturer founded by Warren "Bud" Goodwin in 1964.

Warren Goodwin[edit]

Goodwin was a former sports-car racer and a keen fisherman, born in 1921 or 1922.[1] His first wife and the mother of his two sons was Gwendolyn.[2]

His earlier company, Sports Car Engineering, had manufactured Microplas Mistral bodies under license and sold them as the Spyder.[3] He founded Fiberfab in 1964. In 1967 Goodwin was arrested on suspicion of murder for shooting his 28-year-old second wife, Jamaica. The police said he had found Jamaica with Farbus Kidoo. Goodwin claimed the shooting was accidental.[4][5] He was charged with the voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment. He died in jail on December 26, 1968, of a heart attack.[6]

Ownership and locations up to 1983[edit]

Fiberfab started building street rod parts and body panels for Mustangs in Los Angeles before moving on to kit cars. The company moved first to Sunnyvale, and then in 1966 to Santa Clara.[4] It had a branch in West Germany from 1967 until 1973 at Ditzigen. The German company, also named Fiberfab severed its links with the American Fiberfab in 1973, moved to Aunstein, and began to make a jeep style vehicle of its own. It continued to make Bonitos until 1981 when it sold its version to a British Company, ACM.[5][7]

The American company was still operating at Santa Clara in 1970 after the death of Goodwin.[8] In 1971 Fiberfab was a Division of Concept Design America, a California-based company,[9] ATR Incorporated, a Pennsylvania Corporation, acquired ownership of Fiberfab in November 1974. Around this time the company became named Fiberfab Incorporated.

In 1977 Fiberfab and James Crank's JDEX Company combined to make a steam-powered record attempt car using the Aztec 7 body-kit powered by a LMC Corporation steam engine developed as part the Lear Steam Bus Program. They planned the speed record attempt for August at Bonneville.[10] The car failed to exceed 100 mph and was sold to the Barber-Nichols Engineering Company. Barber-Nicholls rebuilt it. On its first attempt it reached 111 mph. Robert Barber at Bonneville on August 19, 1985 reached 145.607 mph but the car caught fire and was unable to complete its second run. The car is on display at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada.[11]

By 1979 the company was based at Minneapolis.[12] In 1983 the company was sold to Classic Motor Carriages (at the time Fiberfab Incorporated's largest competitor) and renamed Fiberfab International.[13]

Models[edit]

Fiberfab Velocidad era[edit]

Avenger GT12

Prior to 1967 the company made the Aztec, which had the appearance of a coupe version of the Spyder. Fiberfab made a Ford GT40 replica based on a VW Beetle floorpan called Avenger GT in 1964 and in August 1967 the similar Valkyrie designed to take a V8.[14] The Valkyrie won third place in the prototype section of the 1967 New York International Car Show.[6] Don Sherman, editor of Car and Driver magazine from 1985 to 1988 owned and built one of these in the late 1960s.[15]

The Jamaican was also one of Fiberfab's early car bodies. It was designed to be fitted to a TR3, TR4, MGA, Austin-Healey or a Volkswagen Beetle. Later Fiberfab built their own 'Jamaican' chassis for use with a V8 power-plant.

The Bonanza and Bonito were made in the late 1960s.[7] The Bonito was at one point license built in Germany, Sweden, and England.[7] At that time Fiberfab also made a couple of dune buggies the Clodhopper and Vagabond. Production of these ended in about 1970.[16]

Fiberfab Germany[edit]

Sherpa (Germany)
Seraph (UK)

Fiberfab-Karosserie in Germany initially built Aztec, Bonanza and Bonito kit cars. After separating from the American company they built the Fiberfab Sherpa from 1975 based on a Citroën 2CV chassis.[17] The company sold the Bonito rights to an English company ACM in 1981 who called it the ACM Excalibur.

UK manufacturers[edit]

ACM then transferred the rights to the Bonito to Seraph Motors who named it the Seraph 3000 in England and made it between 1985 and the early 1990s. Clive Clark's Excalibur and Crusader cars then took over until 1996. As at 2010 WS Motors in England were still able to produce the bodies to order.

Fiberfab Inc era (to 1983)[edit]

About 1975 Fiberfab introduced 3 new models including an unusual kit which turned a motor-cycle into a three-wheel car called the Scarab STM. It was made at the company's Baldwin Street, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania plant.[18]

In 1977 the company was advertising a kit-set MG TD replica called the Migi II with a choice of front or rear-wheel drive. In 1983 Fiberfab International advertised a 1929 Mercedes Benz replica.[19] The Mercedes replica was the CMC Gazelle badged as a Fiberfab Car

Classic Motor Carriages/Street Beasts era (1983-2010)[edit]

The Speedster cars, based on the Porsche Spyder, were made in the mid to late 1980's.[7]

Fiberfab either built some replica Lola T70's or made modifications to existing models that appeared in the George Lucas science fiction film THX 1138.[20]

Classic Motor Carriages (later Street Beasts)[edit]

The company was purchased by Classic Motor Carriages in 1983.[21] Various kitcar forums have comments about the kits provided by Classic Motor Carriages as being among the most difficult to work with. The company was also noted for not providing all the parts in its kits.

Classic Motor Carriages was forced to close in 1994 after the Florida Attorney General's Office filed suit against it on behalf of 900 of its customers.[21] It agreed to pay $2.5 million in compensation. At the same time as the case was proceeding a new company, Auto Resolutions, was set up by the owner George Levin to continue making Classic Motor Carriages vehicles trading under the name Street Beasts. Complaints about its products continued.[21] Street Beasts closed its business in 2010 and auctioned off its plant, moulds, and machinery. In 2011 the molds for the Speedster were for sale on eBay.

Later history[edit]

Fiberfab Valkyrie kitcars resumed production in 2003 by a new Fiberfab Company in La Pine, Oregon.[22]

Fiberfab cars[edit]

pre 1983[edit]

Fiberfab Bonito FT (Germany)
Fiberfab Scarab STM on Highway
  • Avenger - Ford GT40 replica built from 1964 (also known as the Bonito)
  • Aztec - built from the 1960s
  • Aztec 7- based on the Bertone Carabo, an Alfa Romeo concept car and built in the 1970s
  • Bonanza GT - built from the early 1970s
  • Centurion - about 1965. Only 5 were made with General Motors making Fiberfab stop production around the time of Goodwin's incarceration.[23]
  • Clodhopper (dune buggy) - built from 1968 to 1970
  • Jamaican - built from the 1960s
  • Liberty - built in the mid 1970s - used a Mustang V8 engine
  • Migi - MG TD replica - built from at least 1977
  • Scarab STM (3-wheeled) - built from 1975
  • Vagabond (dune buggy) - built from 1968 to 1970
  • Valkyrie - Ford GT40 replica built from 1966

1983 or later[edit]

  • Speedster 356 - built from the mid 1980s
  • Speedster 359 - built from the mid 1980s
  • 1929 Mercedes SSK - built from 1983 (also called the Gazelle)

Unknown[edit]

  • Caribee/Banshee

CMC cars[edit]

  • Classic Tiffany - built from 1984 to 1989[24]
  • Cobra
  • 1934 Ford Cabriolet
  • 1934 Ford Victoria

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Killed in a triangle". The Kansas City Times. September 15, 1967. p. 42. Retrieved May 21, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  2. ^ http://www.fiberfab.us/history.html Daniel Goodwin's email
  3. ^ Road and Track, advertisement, September 1958, page 57
  4. ^ a b Wife is Slain, The Times, San Mateo, California, September 13, 1967, page 84
  5. ^ a b Auto maker quizzed on wife's death, Chicago Tribune, September 14, 1967, page 1
  6. ^ a b Sports car builder found dead in his jail bunk, The San Bernardino County Sun, December 28, 1968, page 21
  7. ^ a b c d Fiberfab, A to Z of Sports Cars - 1945-1990, Mike Lawrence, Bay View Books, 1996, ISBN 1870979818, 9781870979818
  8. ^ Found one, News Journal, Mansfield, Ohio, 28 Jul 1970, page 6
  9. ^ Car and Driver, November 1971
  10. ^ Will the 1906 record Fall, The Steam Automobile vol 19 No 1 1977 retrieved 24 August 2015
  11. ^ http://www.oiccam.com/reno/car_museum/racecars/1977_steamin_demon.shtml retrieved 25 August 2105
  12. ^ Popular Science, March 1979, page 71
  13. ^ Advertisement, Popular Science, January and December 1983
  14. ^ Exhaust Fumes, "Arnold Wecher", Santa Cruz Sentinel, 7 August 1966, page 13
  15. ^ 1974, Fifty Years with Car and Driver, Marty Padgett, Filipacchi Publishing, 2005, ISBN 1933231009, 9781933231006?
  16. ^ Fiberfab Clodhooper and Dune Buggy, Dune Buggy Handbook: The A-Z of VW-based Buggies Since 1964, James Hale, Veloce Publishing Ltd, 2013, pages 66-67, ISBN 1845843789, 9781845843786
  17. ^ 17.3 Fiberfab Sherpa, Citroën 2CV, Jiří Fiala, Grada Publishing a.s., 2012, pages 380-381, ISBN 802473382X, 9788024733821
  18. ^ 3 wheel car, Popular Science, October 1975, page 36
  19. ^ Advertisement, Popular Science, November 1983
  20. ^ The police drove Lola T70s in George Lucas’s directorial debut, 05 January 2015
  21. ^ a b c A Beastly Background, Mariah Blake, Thursday, March 2, 2006
  22. ^ Fiberfab website
  23. ^ Fiberfab Centurian
  24. ^ TIFFANY & CO v CLASSIC MOTOR CARRIAGES, INC, March 22, 1989, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Opposition No. 71,546 to application Serial No. 497,006 filed August 29, 1984