CHILDREN'S CARS

Here are some fiberglass projects that I was involved with.  Perhaps you will recall the cars and may have even driven one as kid.

The  OFFYETTE RACER
 

In about 1955 AMROC built bodies for the Offyette, a children's gasoline powered race car conceived and developed by Carl Schiller who was probably responsible for the beginnings of the Quarter Midget race cars.   Carl had built what I and others believe was the first Quarter Midget in 1949 for one of his children, Douglas.  It was a superb, gasoline powered scaled down version of the famous Offenhauser race cars.
The car was so well received that he designed a "production" version and started building them in his garage.  Carl, who was one of the brightest and most skilled machinists I knew, ( his profession was teaching ) had designed the production Offyette to use a heavier body structure to carry the suspension and other components without the benefit of a metal chassis.  When he found that working with fiberglass was not very practical for his garage he came to AMROC to help.
I revised his fiberglass body structural design to make it more practical for production and started supplying bodies to what then was called, Schiller Engineering Company.
Later, Carl and I joined forces under the name Larc Douglas ( I dreamed up the name by re-arranging " Carl " and adding his son's name, Douglas ).  We built the Offyette racer and the Offyette sports car.

The  OFFYETTE SPORTSTER  

Carl Schiller styled and built the pattern for this beauty, I took over from there and developed the fiberglass tooling and we produced a number of cars along with the Offyette racers.
Later, AMROC continued to supply bodies for the Offyette cars after I was no longer a part of Larc Douglas.  

The AMROC  Junior Sports Car Body

 AMROC also produced a proprietary Corvette styled body and plans for building a car.  The car was featured in a " How to build it..." article in Mechanix Illustrated. AMROC also produced  other bodies for builders of children's gas or electric powered cars.   AMROC  made the fiberglass bodies for the Divco truck and DeSoto convertible for Robel Corporation who produced the Divco and DeSoto children's cars.

The DeSoto Firemite Convertible

The DeSoto convertible was manufactured and marketed by Robel Corporation.  They supplied the cars to dealers and to the tv program "The Price is Right".   Robel also manufactured and marketed the Divco children's truck.  The Divco was also given away as a tv show prize.


 The Divco Milk Truck

The manufacturer came to AMROC because their original DeSoto bodies were breaking in transit.  Although the original DeSoto bodies were well done in vacuum formed styrene,  they were susceptible to cracking when subjected to low temperatures.  When the completed cars were shipped they sometimes had to be stored in areas where the temperatures were well below freezing.  The extreme cold and the low impact strength of the styrene caused cracking which resulted in cars being severely damaged during shipment.  Robel had originally decided on vacuum formed bodies because the cost of fiberglass units was prohibitive due to  the complex contours of some areas of the body.  A fiberglass body would have to be cost effective as well as lightweight and strong.  AMROC solved the molding problems and supplied the DeSoto as well as the Divco to Robel until their production was discontinued.      

For more info on the DeSoto Firemite and how it was used to promote the DeSoto click here.

Here is a great picture of the Divco I received from the little guy in it after he saw this web page.  Of course it was taken a while ago and he is now all grown up.  Until now, the above rather tired photo taken from the Divco literature was all I had to show the vehicle.  Thanks to Joe Portelli we have this great shot of him and his truck from 1964.

Click Here to see what may be one of the largest private collections of powered childrens cars.

 

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