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The Glasspar boat-building company was started in 1947 when Bill Tritt began building small fiberglass boat hulls in his Costa Mesa, California fiberglass shop.

Origins

Bill Tritt had a keen interest in boats and cars before World War II, when he studied marine architecture and boat-building at California State Teacher's College in Santa Barbara, California. He worked for Douglas Aircraft's Production Planning and Illustration Departments during WWII, and by 1945 had built a number of catamaran sailboats. In 1947, John Green, a yachtsman friend, paid Tritt to design and build a racing sailboat in the 20-foot (6.1 m) range. Fiberglass seemed the logical construction material, and Otto Bayer of Wizard Boats was enlisted as laminator. The boat was named the Green Dolphin, and four were built in various lengths. This was Tritt's first effort in fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP). By 1948 he was building small fiberglass sailing dinghies, and built the first ever fiberglass masts and spars for sailboats. This company became the Glasspar Company and moved to larger quarters from Industrial Way in Costa Mesa to Harbor Blvd in Costa Mesa, California, in 1950. By 1951, Glasspar moved again to larger quarters in Santa Ana, California. By the mid 1950s, Glasspar was producing 15 to 20 percent of all fiberglass boats sold in the U.S. By 1960, branch factories were operating in Nashville, Tennessee, Petersburg, Virginia, Olympia, Washington, and Sherman, Texas.

Products

Glasspar built boats in ranges from car toppers to 21-foot (6.4 m) models and everything in between. Just prior to 1969, when Glasspar was sold off, there were even 21-and-25-foot (6.4 and 7.6 m) oceangoing models. Boats were often given Mediterranean-sounding names, and the boat classes within the model were often indicated by a model type then model name, with a hyphen in between. For example, in the 14-foot (4.3 m) range there was a model called the Lido, which came in three configurations: the Sport-Lido, Club-Lido, and Lido (standard). Another line, called the Mariner, included the Sport-Mariner, Club-Mariner, or Mariner (standard) model. Some boat models were also named for areas in and around Southern California, such as Avalon on the island of Catalina and Del Mar, a coastal community north of San Diego.

Automotive Forays

Glasspar was also one of the first companies to build fiberglass-bodied cars, most notably the G2 (Glasspar), but including the Woodill Wildfire, the Studebaker-based Ascot and the Volvo Sport. The G2 was a prime influence on the decision for Chevrolet to develop the Corvette.

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