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German Spohn prototype question

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I too am guessing you are referring to the similarity between the tail fin and trunk design elements of Harley Earl's LeSabre concept car for GM and the dozens of cars created by the Spohn Karrosserie in Ravensburg, Germany. This was a fin design that Spohn was asked to employ on customs, mostly done for US service men. One example is attached. Spohn had a long history as a high quality coach builder best known perhaps for his Maybach and Mercedes work.

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I have purchased the 1952 Spohn Palos. It also is one of the Spohn-bodied cars with a tail echoing the Harley Earl GM LeSabre concept. Would that the title of this thread could be corrected from Spawn to Spohn.

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Edited by StillOutThere (see edit history)

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What a cool car. Go here for more info on the coachbuilder Spohn.

The auction catalog was a bit "sparse" with descriptions. Have you discovered more history on the car?

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I have personal knowledge of the car dating back to 1957 in Palos Park, Illinois and am working with a friend that still lives there to get possible historical photos from the city archives and to get the original owner name and to talk to a 90 year old car collector who is still perfectly sharp who should remember the car. It all takes time as you surely understand.

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Most of the other ones are really scary but I like this one a lot. More pictures please.

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Can you tell me what chassis/engine is under that body?

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The '52 Spohn Palos is constructed on a 1940 Ford DeLuxe chassis. When I first saw the car in 1964 it had already received a transplant of a 1955-57 Ford 272" Y-block OHV8.

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Just an update.  The '52 Spohn Palos is well along in restoration.   Currently fitting the cabrio top frame.  This is the original factory color.  Car is at Manns Restoration, Festus, MO.

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There is a 1949 Veritas with a Spohn body similar to this one in the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC.   The founder and curator there, Dale Walksler, may be able to provide you some further information on the car.

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I was surprised to see that credit was given me by Coachbuild.com for the pictures of the '47 Cadillac named Valkyrie.  I took them decades ago in Arlington, Va.  The car was in very poor condition.  I don't know where it went,  Frank Towsey's used car lot is long gone, and unfortunately so so is Frank.
Pictured are shots of the Chrysler based Spohn which I also took in Arlington, Virginia just a few blocks from Frank's lot.  I dont know of any connection between the two Spohns.  Judging by the other cars it was parked with I doubt if it has survived. 

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2 hours ago, StillOutThere said:

Just an update.  The '52 Spohn Palos is well along in restoration.   Currently fitting the cabrio top frame.  This is the original factory color.  Car is at Manns Restoration, Festus, MO.

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This is the same car? Why 3 taillights now, was the fourth a later modification?

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12 hours ago, Akstraw said:

There is a 1949 Veritas with a Spohn body similar to this one in the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC.   The founder and curator there, Dale Walksler, may be able to provide you some further information on the car.

 

Photo attached is Dale with the '49 Veritas (BMW chassis) which is kept in "as found" condition.  It was purchased at the Hartung collection auction.  Several Spohn Customs have the GM LeSabre concept tail as part of their designs.  Overall, each car was built to the owner's design choices.   Two Veritas were rebodied as customs by Spohn after they were crashed while in competition events.    A second photo shows the car shortly after arrival in the US.   Yes, it had a zebra hide interior and a few remnants remain in the car today.   

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12 hours ago, Dave Henderson said:

I was surprised to see that credit was given me by Coachbuild.com for the pictures of the '47 Cadillac named Valkyrie.  I took them decades ago in Arlington, Va.  The car was in very poor condition.  I don't know where it went,  Frank Towsey's used car lot is long gone, and unfortunately so so is Frank.
Pictured are shots of the Chrysler based Spohn which I also took in Arlington, Virginia just a few blocks from Frank's lot.  I dont know of any connection between the two Spohns.  Judging by the other cars it was parked with I doubt if it has survived. 

 

 

The '50 Chrysler Spohn Custom was originally named "Le Centaur".   Remembering that "good design is subjective" and that the owner of the car, not Spohn, made the design choices, we have to assume the owner was happy with the product.   Yes, Dave, there has been no sighting of the car since your photos all those years ago.   Attaching one of when the car was probably newly completed.

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Boy this thread brings back memories of the most fun auction ever...Hartung's auction.  I was there everyday and bought a bunch of stuff and so did my friends.  The Veritas was the subject of much talk, even more so than the skeleton that was uncovered but that is a whole other story!

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20 hours ago, StillOutThere said:

 

Photo attached is Dale with the '49 Veritas (BMW chassis) which is kept in "as found" condition.  It was purchased at the Hartung collection auction.  Several Spohn Customs have the GM LeSabre concept tail as part of their designs.  Overall, each car was built to the owner's design choices.   Two Veritas were rebodied as customs by Spohn after they were crashed while in competition events.    A second photo shows the car shortly after arrival in the US.   Yes, it had a zebra hide interior and a few remnants remain in the car today.   

DaleWalkslerVeritas_HackerPic.jpg

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Wasn't the Veritas (BMW) from the Lee Roy Hartung auction of 2011 re sold at Hershey about 4 or 5 years or so ago?  I recall it being shown in front of the Giant Center, in untouched barn find condition right down to the layer of dust on it, for a hammer price of about $165,000?  Or could it be that it was the other one?

Edited by Dave Henderson (see edit history)

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I find the above custom coach built car interesting, historical, and their stories of being built, found, and now restored great fun. The only issue is their styling is how should we say.............way outside the envelope of natural progression at the time.......they didn’t end up with a masterpiece of design. They ended up with a strange curiosity. I’m glad someone is taking on the restoration of the car back to it’s original configuration. I’m sure I will see it at Pebble and Amelia when finished, and I expect that they would win a trophy. But it won’t be for design, or style. 

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:


…" The only issue is their styling is how should we say.............way outside the envelope of natural progression at the time.......they didn’t end up with a masterpiece of design."

Is that ever an understatement!

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2 hours ago, 58L-Y8 said:

Is that ever an understatement!


I was trying to be kind and diplomatic.........I’m not too good at it!🤔

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On 12/23/2019 at 9:54 PM, Bloo said:

 

This is the same car? Why 3 taillights now, was the fourth a later modification?

Yes, exactly, a body shop owner on the south side of Chicago was the second for the car.  He did some customs and made a custom grille for the Spohn Palos and added the uppermost tail lights and also the Chicago sourced (Unity) spotlights.  He also painted the car a near-pink for promotion out on the curb in front of his business.  That all had to go away!

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