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The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
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October 2007 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
Coachbuilder's Literature
By Robert McLellan
 

Defining a coachbuilder was straightforward prior to World War II. They were companies that built luxurious bodies on expensive chassis for their wealthy customers. Pierce-Arrow, Rolls-Royce, Duesenberg and Packard were just a few of the companies that have almost all completely disappeared. Since WWII thousands of small firms have specialized in producing conversions or rebodying cars for the needs of individuals or companies that have unique applications. Commercial applications vary from ice cream trucks to hearses, emergency vehicles and limousines. Others are for fun and are created for the auto enthusiast. Over the past 60 years we have seen two types of conversions — replicas and custom bodies on mass-produced chassis and cars with engine and/or body modifications.

Examples of replicas of antiques on modern chassis are:

 
 

1963 Cord

1968 Cord

1977 Auburn
     

1979 Auburn

1969 Bentley (Ruger)

1970 Bentley (Ruger)
     

1973 Ford (Timis)

1971 Stutz

1971 Duesenberg

1980 Duesenberg
     

What would some of these cars look like today if the manufacturers were still in existence? The following cars are on modern chassis:

 

1973 Packard (Titan)

1975 Packard (Titan)
   

1976 Stutz Blackhawk

1977 Stutz Blackhawk
   

Most popular have been the "modifieds". Those custom companies that improve the performance and/or change the appearance of the car include:

 

1984 Bertone

1979 Crayford

2001 Saleen
     

1976 Traditional Coachworks

1971 Yenko

1971 Yenko
     
 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, October 2007
 
 
 
 
 
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