• Jan 21, 2011
1955 Woodill Wildfire at Barrett-Jackson – Click above for high-res image gallery

Before stumbling upon this 1955 Woodill Wildfire here at the Barrett-Jackson festivities in Scottsdale, we weren't even aware that such a car existed. And this is one of the reasons why Barrett-Jackson is such a cool event.

Apparently, an employee of McDonnell Douglass (we'd guess with the last name Woodill...) built an experimental turbine engine originally intended for use in a helicopter. First seen in 1952, this machine is recognized as the world's first production fiberglass-bodied automobile. For what it's worth, the Corvette didn't come until late 1953.

According to the official Barrett-Jackson auction page, the engine puts out 310 horsepower at the crank at a stratospheric 37,500 rpm. This particular machine, built in 1955, was reportedly clocked at 137 miles per hour on a dry lake bed and then sat for 40 years until being restored to its current condition.

See the proceedings for yourself live and in living color over at Speed's online streaming channel. You can also play along with Speed's online Fantasy Bidding game – we only hope you're better at guessing these values than we are...



Photos copyright ©2011 Jeff Glucker/AOL


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Dang, keeping that thing fed with Jet A would get expensive real fast.

      I'd probably still do it, mind you... ;)
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is pretty cool for its time.

      It's actually McDonnell Douglas, aircraft / aerospace manufacturer, and defense contractor.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jeff
        • 3 Years Ago
        Agree its super cool. Im kind of sad it sat undriven for so long. Hope whomever purchases it decides to take it for a spin.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why does this one have a turbine? All the Woodill cars had F series Willys engines or maybe not.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Man, dig them ole Willys taillights, steering wheel and gauges, maybe more.
      Ethan Woodill
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am the grandson of Blanchard Robert "Woody" Woodill. Nice to see his talents finally appreciated
      • 3 Years Ago
      What Geoff said!

      FYI, as covered by Geoff on his Forgotten Fiberglass site, the Wildfire was originally a slightly modified Glasspar G2, which actually was the first production fiberglass automobile (not the Wildfire). Later versions of the Wildfire were assembled with an outsourced rear body modification, but the front section was still Glasspar.

      To my knowledge, the fastest G2 - the Glasspar factory G2 Special race car, which was powered by a highly tweaked Ardun overhead valve (flathead) Mercury V-8 mounted in a Mameco frame, would run at 140 MPH+ on the track, not on the salt flats. It could overtake competitirs, such as Ferraris, Curtis, Porsche, Allard and etc. with ease. This car is currently under restoration and will be featured on the Forgotten Fiberglass site before long.

      Matt Tritt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hi Gang..

      For those of you interested, I wrote a full story on this car on our website:

      http://www.forgottenfiberglass.com/?p=9094

      Hope you enjoy..

      Geoff Hacker
      www.forgottenfiberglass.com
      • 3 Years Ago
      I just saw this car last week parked at Peterson ave. & Western Ave. in Chicago. It was parked behind a car-carrier truck. I should have driven around the block to take a picture or 3.
      • 3 Years Ago
      @Jeff

      Was referring to the typo in the company name by the author who spelled it McDonald Douglass [sic] I was under the impression that everyone was as familiar with the name as they are with the name "Boeing"