1947 Huth Sports Custom

1947 Huth Sports Custom

Our resident fiberglass freak, Geoff Hacker, recently sent me a story about a long lost sports custom built by a man named Gerald “Gerry” Huth in and around 1947. Obviously, it was a very early effort… As such, the car features quirky proportions and lines that not everyone is going to honestly enjoy. But, it was it is… And it started with a 1941 Cadillac. Some lofty cutting lead to the installation of a pair of 1941 Buick fenders up front and ’41 Olds fenders out back. It was finished off with a brand spanking new 1947 Cadillac grille and a big ole “Carson” top. Regardless of the final look, the integration of all these mix matched parts is pretty damned incredible given the period.

In any case, I’ll let Geoff tell the story:

I had just acquired some pictures that were in a collection of custom car literature that was originally in the hands of Jim Sitz from the 1940’s and beyond. “Custom Cadillac? it read above the car. Nice lines, polished beauty, definitely my kind of car from the 1940’s. It was a rare custom built car that looked like a Cadillac – but who built it? The photo was blurry, the sign in front of the car unreadable, but you could see the location and the words “Custom Cadillac? above it in the show.

In fact, it was definitely an early show. Maybe the Armory in the late 1940’s where early hot rod shows were? Maybe the Pan Pacific Arena where the later Motoramas were held? Maybe even the Shrine Auditorium where the 1950 Petersen Motorama was held? So many questions and just one little tiny fuzzy picture. This was the start of my research on what turned out to be the 1947 Huth Custom Cadillac – built by Gerry Huth and still doing well today – around 90 years old.

Think back to the 1940’s postwar America. World War II just ended, excitement about victory over Germany was all around, and the world was safe again. American GI’s were coming home and it was time to get on with your life and have some fun!

Gerry Huth was one of these guys. He was entrepreneurial bent before the war and came back to the states and took over the reins of his shop once again. His first mission? Bring in some business. But, how do you do that in 1946? How do you bring in crowds and attention?

Build a sports car.

Gerry started on the car and 12 months later… and voila… it was done. And the plan worked well – Crowds would come by and watch the car being built, watch it being test driven, and join in the general atmosphere of excitement about something special being built right there in their home town of Los Angeles.

The car was special and Gerry knew it. So you would have to figure he took it to some shows, wouldn’t you? As Gerry eloquently put it to me recently, ?There were no damn car shows!?

This was 1947. You had meets on the dry lakes, and races around town, but there were no organized events like we think of today. That started in 1948 and beyond. So the photo taken of the car that I had found must have occurred some time later and Gerry did confirm with me that he didn’t take it to any shows that he remembered.

Why? He sold it as quickly as he could. He thought he might be able to make more of these custom cars and he started with a price of $12,000. A new Ford could be bought for around $1150 (starting), so you do the math. Finally, after many months he sold it for $6000. Gerry would never build a custom car again.

Subsequent to Gerry selling the car, it appeared in:

– 1948 Road and Track

– 1949, 1951, 1952, and 1953 Dan Post Blue Books

– 1947 thru 1950 Almquist Speed and Mileage Manuals

During later research on a book I’m writing on vintage fiberglass cars, I found the car in advertisements for a fiberglass company called “Hollywood Plastics?. Strange, I thought, and I called Gerry up and asked. He founded that company with his friend Bill Campbell, but that’s a different story altogether and not so much related to the custom at hand.

In any case and several years after Gerry sold the car, around 1950, a new owner of the car brought it to Gerry at the muffler shop and it appeared to be in sad shape. The owner had it sandblasted and car was being redone, but it looked very rough. Gerry never saw the car again.

Maybe one of the readers of the Jalopy Journal can help. Go get ‘em gang and let me what you find – I’ll be your biggest fan in your quest for the 1947 Huth Custom Cadillac (and Gerry says he’s rootin for you too…)

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