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Ghost Car (1939)

Plastics News Europe staff
Posted 26 August 2011
A transparent car made of Plexiglas from Rohm & Haas sold for $308,000 (€214,000) to an unnamed buyer at an auction in Michigan in July.

The 'Ghost Car' is a Pontiac Deluxe Six built in 1939 by General Motors and Rohm & Haas and was the first transparent full-sized car to be made in America.

The car was originally built for the 1939-10 New York World's Fair and was displayed on General Motors' 'Highways and Horizons' pavilion.

To make the car, Rohm & Haas copied the design for the Pontiac four-door Touring Sedan to make a Plexiglas body. The body went over a metal structure that had been given a copper wash. The car was completed with rubber mouldings and tires, both painted white.

The engine has a three-speed transmission, a six-cylinder engine, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.

Rohm & Haas invented Plexiglas in 1933 when the company experimented with polymerising MMA between two sheets of glass. Rohm soon realised that the acrylic layer separated from the glass to form a solid sheet of plastic - PMMA.

During World War II, Plexiglas became popular as a replacement for glass in aeroplanes.

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