Believe me, it was supposed to be a Classic Friday, featuring a boattail Auburn. Why not? And then, I came across this:
The plaque reads:
A group of investors wanted to build a suitable American sports car for a European-type racing event to be held at Watkins Glen, New York. Gordon Buehrig was part of the group of investors, and also performed the design work. He oversaw the production of this single prototype vehicle.
The aluminum body was built by the Derham Body Company of Rosemont, Pennsylvania. It was the first car in the world with a T-top roof, an idea that Gordon Buehrig patented. He later sued General Motors for infringement when the 1968 Corvette came out with the T-top roof. The front fenders are made of fiberglass and the roof panels are plexi-glas. The name Tasco stands for The American Sports Car Company.
The Tasco is powered by a modified V-8 engine that produces 150 horsepower. The chassis is a highly modified 1947 Mercury. The original development and production cost for this car was $57,000. It was hoped that the production version would sell in the $7,500 range.
Virgil J. Exner, Jr., provided a valuable piece of information (with personal touch) on Dean's Garage:
Gordon Buehrig, Bob Bourke, my father, and Dale Cosper (a great design engineer at Studebaker who knew all about fiberglass) pooled their resorces in late 1945 to buy a junked 1939 Mercury at a local salvage yard in South Bend. The chassis was chopped and channeled and the engine moved back and lowered in our home garage in South Bend by all of them. My father and I designed and modeled the 1/4 scale clay in our basement in 1946. Meanwhile, Gordon hired Vince Gardner to design and do the 1/4 scale finished model that was to become the actual TASCO. Gordon then bought out the group’s chassis and left Studebaker for Detroit. I was heartbroken as Gordon’s daughter was my little girlfriend and Mom’s best friend was Gordon’s wife. The Tasco was built, but failed and Gordon joined Ford Design.
William F. Fitzgerald (coachbuilt.com) adds:
Buehrig was never satisfied with the design, which was done by a committee of investors rather than one designer. He considered the Tasco his personal Edsel. But, from this car came the design for a top, which became the removable T-top for Thunderbird and eventually Corvette.
And here are some outdoor shots of the Tasco, brought to us by conceptcarz.com: