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RARE 1947 TASCO COACHBUILDER PHOTOS UNCOVERED - PONTOON FENDERS

Rare 1947 Tasco Coachbuilder Photographs Uncovered

October 29, 2015

In the early post-war years noted American designer Gordon M. Buehrig was approached by a group of private investors based in Connecticut, who had plans to build a sports-racing car. The project was named the “TASCO,”an abbreviation for The American Sports Car Co.

Published accounts of the development and planning of the car vary: some spell it out as being designed by Buehrig; others state that it was designed by committee (the investors) which more often than not usually ends up producing a mediocre result that the designer is forced to make work.


The forward-thinking-cutting-edge “TASCO” prototype, with alloy coachwork and pontoon fenders.
In this case, certain facets of it are a first-rate design. The cabin is skinned in aluminum – the dashboard, controls and the interior followed the styling of WWII and then current aircraft as was popular at the time. It featured removable plexiglass roof panels like the t-top’s used later in the 1968 Corvette and other GM vehicles. Buehrig ended up suing the automaker over the use of his design, but it turned into an unsuccessful David versus Goliath affair.

The front half of the design turned out to be somewhat awkward-looking, mostly due to the hood and grille opening that framed an unusual looking chromed nose. The pontoon front fenders that turned with the wheels were fabricated of fiberglass. Buehrig later in his life referred to the car as his “personal Edsel.”

Gordon Buehrig patent application drawings filled on Nov. 16, 1946; it was granted in Jan of 1949.
The platform for this forward-thinking-cutting-edge prototype was not as exotic nor up-to-date as the coachwork; it is based on a plain-Jane 1939 Mercury chassis that was fitted with magnesium wheels. Those in the know, state that the running gear was pulled out of a South Bend, Indiana junkyard.

The old-line and talented Derham Body Company of Rosemont, Pennsylvania was contracted by Buehrig to produce the coachwork for the concept car. The cost to design and produce this single prototype rose to close to $60,000. The group of investors planned to offer the “TASCO” on a custom-built to order basis with a price tag of $7500. Further efforts stalled and no other cars were built.

The Tasco has survived and was restored some time ago. It was donated to the ACD Museum by collector Richie Clyne and is fittingly on display there with other Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg designs by Buehrig. View Jennifer Strong’s recent article on her visit to the facility: The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, an Art Deco Centerpiece.

The removable plexiglass top panels can be clearly seen in this view. The spare tire was stored under the hinged chrome-plated bumper flanked by dual taper-tipped exhaust pipes.

The “Tasco” can be seen in action when new in action at 1:37 in this video with Buerhig behind the wheel. The aircraft-like dashboard and controls are shown in detail. Also on view in the 1948 film clip: “1948 Cars of the Future” are the three-wheeled “Davis” and a mystery streamliner.
 

RARE 1947 TASCO COACHBUILDER PHOTOS UNCOVERED - PONTOON FENDERS







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