The TDX, why did I build it?

In 1952, I was fascinated with the new material, fiberglass reinforced plastic.
I decided to learn about it and make a body for a sports car I had started building in 1951. The car was completed and entered in a SCCA race in 1954.  (No, I didn't drive it.)   It ran against some really great cars like Ferrari, Jaguar, Allard, etc., and it was doing pretty well until it was flagged for throwing water because of an overheating problem.   It was in fifth place when it had to pull off the course.  Although that was the first and last time the car ran in competition, the new fiberglass material so intrigued me that I decided to go into the business.
After more than a decade of working with fiberglass in projects for children's gasoline powered cars and parts for transit buses, I firmly believed that it could be used for more than a body or shell for full sized vehicles.  I designed a fiberglass bus body structure that used no metal frame and was supported only by the strength of the fiberglass reinforced plastic itself.  Unable to convince anyone that the design was feasible, I decided to prove it by building a car for myself using the concept.   I included several of my inventions in the vehicle so I could not only prove the structural concept, but also show some of my other ideas for auto performance and safety.

I called my car the TDX.  Why call it the TDX?  Pretty simple.  The " X " was in common use for experimental cars.  And since it was good enough for Mercedes to use the name of the car makers daughter, Mercedes,  I used my daughters nick name, "Teedee"

By 1968 the TDX had already been on the road for about five hundred miles and was still as strong as ever, structurally and in performance. Motor Trend decided to include it in an article they did about plastic cars.  At that time, the TDX was Americas first V8 powered, full size plastic chassis / body monocoque passenger car.  Today,  reinforced plastic materials are used in structural applications for everything from race cars to aircraft.

Return to "What have you invented?"