Transparent 1939 Pontiac
Not for nothing are car bodies made of opaque materials. Apart from structural functionality, it is also a matter of safety and, to some extent, practicality and privacy. And the latter is out of the question in the case of the original Pontiac from the 1930s.
The unique Deluxe Six Plexiglas model of Pontiac – part of General Motors – was first shown to the public in 1939 at the New York Technology Show. The completely clear acrylic plastic body gave a unique insight into the ‚guts‘ of the vehicle and how these usually hidden parts worked. Which was a great spectacle not only for technical enthusiasts but also for the general public. Plastic as a material was still a relatively new attribute at the time, which made the original vehicle all the more curious.
The aesthetics of absolute cleanliness and sterility were emphasized by the chrome-plated fasteners and wheels with white tyres. Even the heavy parts (engine, chassis), which were made of copper, did not spoil the overall design. The result was a strange but in its own way charming vehicle, to which its nickname – „ghost car“ – was perfectly suited. Moreover, the car exuded futurism of the highest calibre (indeed, the legendary „Futurama“ exhibition also featured the car) – namely, acrylic plastic was at that time a heavily innovative material, already bearing the trade name „Plexiglass“, which later caught on in general. Plexiglass came from the Rohm & Haas workshop, where it was created by experimenting with laminated glass. Later, the company also supplied glass for fighter aircraft during World War II.
The whole transparent car fun cost nearly $25,000, an astronomical sum for the time. The current value is estimated at $10 million, and let’s not forget one piquant feature of the car: it has only 138 kilometres on the clock. The car would most likely not have been able to withstand a heavier load anyway. Even with such a ridiculous number on the odometer, there are several cracks and defects of various kinds caused by wear and tear.
Finally, let us add that the Pontiac is currently in the garage of an anonymous avid car collector.