The Mystery of the Transparent Car

Transparent Pontiac

For sale: A transparent Pontiac!


The sale car is on display in St. Petersburg, Fla., Feb. 19, 1940.


The sale car on display in Spokane, Wash., in 1941.

April 13, 1941, Transparent Car

But wait! A different transparent Pontiac is on display in Los Angeles in April 1941. ALSO from the World’s Fair.

April 28, 1940, Glass Car Here’s the mystery of the see-through car. Hemmings Motor News has a feature on the sale of a transparent Pontiac. The story is a bit  complicated but here’s what I found: According to The Times clips, General Motors built a transparent car for the New York World’s Fair and in April 1941 the vehicle was displayed in Los Angeles, as show in the ad above.

The vehicle was so popular that Fisher Body decided to build another transparent Pontiac for the 1940 Golden Gate International Exposition.

But as you will notice, there were actually two transparent Pontiacs, each of which toured the U.S. after the World’s Fair. The transparent car built for the Golden Gate exposition was apparently a third car. The estimated sale price of the transparent car is $275,000 to $475,000.

Photo: Transparent Pontiac Credit: RM Auctions

April 28, 1940, Glass Car

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1939, 1940, 1941, Art & Artists, Transportation. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Mystery of the Transparent Car

  1. Gary Martin says:

    Odd that I’ve never heard anyone say, in the heat of an argument: “You’re as transpartent as a Pontiac.” Someone let a golden opportunity to enrich the language make a clean getaway.


  2. Eve says:

    They should have had Claude Rains and Virginia Bruce advertise it.


  3. Earl Boebert says:

    My father spoke of seeing it at the Golden Gate Exposition — he was mightily impressed.


  4. Barry OB says:

    I could see through Pontiacs years ago–nothing but an overchromed Chevrolet!


  5. brian says:

    My family had a 1950 Pontiac straight 8 – built like a tank. In that car, among other adventures, I (a) took out a gas pump at Avalon & Florence, (b) got my first ticket near Leimert Park, (c) got her up to 110 mph when the Long Beach Freeway first opened, and (d) spun donuts in the grass at South Gate Park. I inherited the car in the 1960’s and never appreciated it until it was hauled away to the graveyard of all cars.


  6. Phil Lundy says:

    There were three transparent Pontiacs. The first was a 1939 with an eight cylinder engine. The second car was either the reworked ’39 or a new version as the bodies were the same, what is commonly known as a “B” body. The final version was the “29” series or commonly known as the “Torpedo” styling. It was also of the 1940 front end design.


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