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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Plexiglas Pontiac: 1940

The Plexiglas Pontiac: 1940

        Another look at the Pontiac "Ghost Car" seen here.

June 11, 1940. "General Motors exhibit at Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco. Transparent Car with Pontiac Chassis and Body by Fisher." 8x10 Agfa negative, originally from the Wyland Stanley collection. View full size.

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I saw this car!

Cool! I got to see this car up close about 15 years ago. The owner at the time lived in Terre Haute, IN and had a secret world-class collection that classic auto buffs could see by invitation only. Sadly, he has since passed away, and this car was sold to a new owner.

Illuminated script

I worked with acrylics for 10 yrs. I immediately noticed the edge lit illuminated "Body by Fisher" plaque. It is neatly inset into the tubular based license plate holder, complete with dangling power cord.

Take a drive

Here's a question: could you actually drive it? I.e., was it an operating automobile or just a display piece? Seems to me that starting it up would cause all kind of mayhem with the plexiglass body (smoke, distortion, etc) but maybe the engineers were smarter than me, which is highly likely.

[It is a running car with, at last report, 86 miles on the odometer. - Dave]

Long lived

The best part is that the body won't rust out.

Just the beginning

In the early 1960's I purchased a Revell "Visible V8" model kit. If I remember correctly, once you put it all together, you could set the engine rotating with a two batteries in a remote control. I believe today's version of model uses a hand crank to set things in motion.

Ghost Car

Isn't that the Invisible Man sitting behind the wheel?

Glad they let the girl out of the trunk!

She'd look much better in the passenger seat.

Just Imagine

Allen Funt driving this beauty into a gas station in the mid-50's and the reaction he'd get.

A brilliant demo

This was a fascinating concept, particularly for people training to be auto mechanics, engineers, inventors, etc. to be able to see all the inner workings of how a motor vehicle works and is put together. I would be mesmerized just watching to see how rolling down the window works (where does it go?) and seeing how the doors lock, plus the steering mechanism, brakes, etc. Just as medical students have clear plastic human models to see what is where, one might be able to diagnose a car problem just by looking into the engine to see how things may be malfunctioning. I remember about ten or twenty years ago, there was an abundance of clear plastic cameras and telephones one could acquire and I did buy such a camera but I don't know where it is (like most of my stuff). I do love this car though, seeing how it is structured and all the complexities therein.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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