Bill Tritt had a keen interest in boats and cars before World War II, when he studied marine architecture and boat-building at California State Teacher's College in Santa Barbara, California. He worked for Douglas Aircraft's Production Planning and Illustration Departments during WWII, and by 1945 had built a number of catamaran sailboats. In 1947, John Green, a yachtsman friend, paid Tritt to design and build a racing sailboat in the 20-foot (6.1 m) range. Fiberglass seemed the logical construction material, and Otto Bayer of Wizard Boats was enlisted as laminator. The boat was named the Green Dolphin, and four were built in various lengths. This was Tritt's first effort in fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP). By 1948 he was building small fiberglass sailing dinghies, and built the first ever fiberglass masts and spars for sailboats. This company became the Glasspar Company and moved to larger quarters from Industrial Way in Costa Mesa to Harbor Blvd in Costa Mesa, California, in 1950. By 1951, Glasspar moved again to larger quarters in Santa Ana, California. By the mid-1950s, Glasspar was producing 15 to 20 percent of all fiberglass boats sold in the U.S. By 1960, branch factories were operating in Nashville, Tennessee, Petersburg, Virginia, Olympia, Washington, and Sherman, Texas.
Glasspar built boats in ranges from car toppers to 21-foot (6.4 m) models and everything in between. Just prior to 1969, when Glasspar was sold off, there were even 21-and-25-foot (6.4 and 7.6 m) oceangoing models. Boats were often given Mediterranean-sounding names, and the boat classes within the model were often indicated by a model type then model name, with a hyphen in between. For example, in the 14-foot (4.3 m) range there was a model called the Lido, which came in three configurations: the Sport-Lido, Club-Lido, and Lido (standard). Another line, called the Mariner, included the Sport-Mariner, Club-Mariner, or Mariner (standard) model. Some boat models were also named for areas in and around Southern California, such as Avalon on the island of Catalina and Del Mar, a coastal community north of San Diego.
Models included, but were not limited to;
- Sea Lion, a 12' runabout
- Sears and Roebuck car-topper (developed and built for Sears)
- Wing boats for Mantz Aircraft – carried under the wings of converted Navy PBYs
- Dincat, a 12' sailing dinghy with FG mast
- Dinkitten, an 8' sailing dinghy and popular yacht tender with FG mast
- Privateer, a 20' cat-ketch rigged sailboat with unstayed fiberglass masts
- Balboa – a 13-foot (4.0 m) car-topper
- Superlight – a 10-foot car-topper
- Marathon – an under-14-foot (4.3 m) runabout
- Lido Series – a-14-foot runabout
- Citation – a 16-foot (4.9 m) runabout
- Avalon – a 16-foot runabout
- G3 – a 14-foot (4.3 m) high-performance ski boat
- SuperG – a 16-foot (4.9 m) high-performance ski boat
- Seafair Series – a 17-foot (5.2 m) cruising class
- Flying V-175 – a 17-foot (5.2 m) cruising class
- del Mar – a 16-foot (4.9 m) cabin cruiser
- Tacoma – an under-14-foot (4.3 m) runabout
- Ventura – a 21-foot (6.4 m) fishing cabin cruiser
- Meridian 21 – a 21-foot fishing cabin cruiser similar to the Ventura
- Meridian 25 – a 25-foot (7.6 m) ocean fishing boat. There was a limited quantity, and a restoration project is currently underway by the Official Glasspar Owners Association.
- 30 Footer – A 30-foot flying bridge cabin cruiser that never saw production. It was designed and built at the Glasspar R&D department by Bill Tritt prior to his leaving the company in 1960. The boards short-sighted decision to not build this model, along with aircraft parts and the entire automotive line, was the reason Tritt resigned from his own company.
Glasspar was also one of the first companies to build fiberglass-bodied cars, most notably the G2 (Glasspar), but including the Woodill Wildfire, the Studebaker-based Ascot and the Volvo Sport. The G2 was a prime influence on the decision for Chevrolet to develop the Corvette.
End & Legacy
The company was eventually sold to Larson Boat Works.
Restoring and preserving Glasspar boats and cars has become extremely popular in recent years. The official Glasspar Owners Association can be found at Classic Glasspars
Extensive information can be found at the Owners Association Website to include factory brochures, production data and even patents.