Ford Custom Cabriolet by Glaser

American cars were popular in Europe between the two world wars. Robust, reliable, and relatively inexpensive, they appealed to an upper class of citizens for whom cost was frequently a secondary consideration. Accordingly, many were sent to local coachbuilders for bespoke or series custom bodies, either limousines or chic open cabriolets. In Germany, the coachbuilder of choice for “deluxe” Fords was Gläser of Dresden, which, since its early carriage building history for royalty, had branched out into building bodies for Mercedes, Horch, Maybach, and other luxury marques. Later work included Steyr bodies and even projects for Aston Martin and Bugatti.

Gläser patented a number of unique features relating to the cabriolet’s top and window mechanisms. In 1925, a license was taken out for Weymann fabric body techniques, but this style did not prove popular in Germany. From 1929, Gläser became known for small series of cabriolets on Opel chassis, as well as German-assembled American makes like Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet, and Ford.

Ford Motor Company’s strongest foothold in the German market was planted in 1931, with the opening of a new factory at Cologne, which turned out Model As and soon, V8 cars. The Cologne complex remains Ford’s German mainstay to the present day. From its introduction, Ford’s new Model 18 found a welcome constituency in Germany, and upscale customers were pleased to be able to order elegant Gläser cabriolets right through the 1930s. Gläserkarosserie, as it was now called, converted to war work by 1940. The factory was heavily bombed by the British, but after the war, some machinery was moved to Ullertricht, where about 100 bodies were made for the Porsche America Roadsters before the company closed in 1951.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in June of 2012 at the Dingman Collection, Hampton, New Hampshire.

85 bhp, 221 cu. in. L-head V-8 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 112"

Source: RM Auctions

Gallery: Ford Custom Cabriolet by Glaser