It is interesting how things change. In the '70s the rebirth of street rodding was in full swing and much of it was based on the reproduction fiberglass T-bucket body and associated box tubing chassis. It was the 1-800 rod that was invented about the same time as the 1-800 number (which, should you be wondering, was first established in 1967). Go to a rod run in the '70s and you were sure to see a swarm of T-buckets of every description, some of them were original bodies, most were not. Ai Fiberglass, Speedway Motors, Total Performance, and others were leading the charge on the T-bucket brigade and while most hot rodders tend to think the T-bucket was the first fiberglass body, there were actually a number of companies and individuals making competition fiberglass bodies before the street-going T-bucket.

When Dave Anderson started Ai Fiberglass in 1962, they built lightweight bodies, doors, hoods, fenders, and decklids for drag racers. Lightweight was the name of the game so panel fit and finish was not a big priority. Willy, Anglia, and Austin owners were all looking for lightweight components for their gassers so this was the focus, along with a lightweight T-roadster and Bantam body for the altered classes. When street rodders began clamoring for reproduction bodies, companies like Ai Fiberglass answered the call with "street weight" fiberglass bodies and fenders. The oldest known '32 fiberglass roadster body that we can document was built by drag racer and street rodder Jerry Cogswell who made his own molds and built the body in 1959 for his Deuce race car. (Editor's Note: Jerry is a longtime, we mean longtime, L.A. Roadster member and retired airline pilot who now spends his time enjoying his hot rods. -B.B.)

Around the same time, the late-Dee Wescott was making top-quality reproduction fenders from his Wescott's Auto Restyling shop. While the Cogswell roadster was completed in 1959, the first commercially available Deuce roadster that we can document went on sale around 1971, built by John Brown in Illinois. Marten's Fabrication was also building a reproduction chassis for that body, but it lacked the iconic Deuce reveal in the side of the framerail. Dwight Bond was building fenders in Gibbon, Nebraska, in 1971, and in 1972 he introduced a complete Model A roadster and pickup body; by 1976 he was advertising '34 Ford roadster bodies. These were just some of the pioneers of the reproduction body, and since glass bodies have been around since the late-'50s it seems apparent that you can build a true nostalgia rod based on a fiberglass body-now that should stir up some conversation!

As street rodding progressed, the hobby embraced each new reproduction part, after all, these very parts enabled street rodding to grow and people to own cars they could not otherwise afford or find in their original state. Not long after the T-bucket, the Model A and Deuce roadster bodies were being manufactured in fiberglass by companies like Wescott's and Gibbon Fiberglass. While there were flat side reproduction framerails on the market, when the Deuce Factory introduced accurate, stamped '32 framerails everything changed. Suddenly a great street rod could be built using entirely new parts. The cost was more, but the end product was predictable, good looking, and the process generally saved a lot of time and labor. Pete & Jakes, Super Bell, and the Deuce Factory supplied everything from complete chassis to shock brackets, and suddenly building a street rod was a lot easier.