Owens-Corning - 1938-present - Newark, Ohio


a dictionary meaning for "Scarab" is "A STOUT-bodied beetle"



A somewhat more stylish derivation of the Scarab was built in 1946, but it was no more commercially successful than its predecessors. When Joseph Washington Frazer of Kaiser-Frazer decided to enter car production, he acquired the venerable Graham-Paige make as a springboard into the auto industry. On closer investigation, however, it was apparent that their old pre-war designs would not be suitable for postwar buyers, so he engaged Bill Stout and Howard Darrin to design a radically new car derived from the pre-war Scarab. If it had been a success, Project Y would have been the first product-ion car with a fibre-reinforced plastic body, the concept of which was funded and sponsored by Owens-Corning Fiberglas, designed by Stout and styled by Darrin. Unfortunately, the resulting Project Y car was far too complicated and unbuildable, so it was replaced by a simpler Darrin design for a four door steel-bodied sedan which became the 1947 Frazer. Kaiser-Frazer Corporation was still interested in fibreglass car designs, however, and in 1952 they marketed the Kaiser-Darrin 161 sliding-door sports car.


1946 Stout Forty-Six

Sure, the car’s always the star here, especially when you’re talking about a highly advanced prototype. But this is also a story about a proud heartland community whose members, especially a leading local philanthropist, invested money and effort in great quantities to proclaim their industrial heritage to the world.
The car is simply called Project Y, and to the best of everyone’s knowledge, it is the very first passenger automobile whose body and underlying structure were molded entirely from fiberglass. It was built between 1944 and 1945 in Newark, Ohio, by Owens Corning Fiberglas, at their plant where commercial production of fiberglass originated. It was conceptualized by William Stout, an inventor whose portfolio included design work on the Ford Tri-Motor airplane, and who built several experimental, steel-bodied Scarab automobiles.

The Boggs Airmaster, designed by HD Boggs and marketed by Buzz Hershfield, included a 16 foot car with a 35 foot wingspan powered by a 145 hp engine, but it was never built, The Spratt Controllable Wing car, which appeared in late 1945, featured a pusher prop and a flexible wing mounted on a swivel behind the two-passenger cab. George Spratt later teamed up with William B Stout (who had merged his Stout Aircraft Company into Consolidated Vultee), in a vain effort to market the vehicle under the tradename Skycar.

Cars & Parts magazine, Nov '98
Article is on '36 Stout-Scarab and includes a headshot of William B. on page 13
Also shown is his 1943 "Flying Automobile" and his last automotive effort; the fibreglass-bodied 1946 Stout Forty-Six.


The 1935 Stout Scarab is a gray, two-door sedan with a rear-mounted Ford V-8 engine, carpeted floor, wicker ceiling and kick panels. It still has its original paint and upholstery. This Scarab is one of an estimated dozen built by the Stout Motor Corporation in 1935. Another of the four cars was kept by Mr. William b. Stout, who added an experimental fiberglass body in 1946. Mr. Stout gave that car to the Museum in 1951. The car cost more to make than to sell. Mr. Wrigley got this car in exchange for a large block of stock he held in the company. For more information, see the William B. Stout autobiography, "So Away I Went." Stout also designed airplanes for his own firm and for the Ford Motor Company, although the famed Ford Tri-Motor often credited to Stout, is a more correctly a team design.

Currently owned by the transportation collection of the Detroit Historical Museum/Detroit Historical Society, a gift of Philip K. Wrigley in 1964.



"Working with auto manufacturers and their Tier 1 suppliers to develop new materials technology has been a tradition at Owens Corning," continued Dick McKechnie, automotive market segment leader at Owens Corning. "The company helped develop the Stout-Scarab in 1945, the first car to have a glass fiber-reinforced body. Although the car never saw commercial production, it paved the way for the production models that appeared later."

To make the first large automotive body parts with consistent quality, Owens Corning helped develop sheet-molding compound in the 1950s. As its name suggests, sheet-molding compound combines resin and glass fibers in sheet form, which is then used to load presses and mold parts.

Pushing the size envelope to include still larger parts, Owens Corning developed technology in the 1980s designed to produce large glass fiber preforms using innovative automation.

Originally developed as the Programmable Powdered Preform Process (P4), the technology was introduced by Owens Corning to the transportation market in 1993. P4 was later selected by the Automotive Composites Consortium (an alliance of the "Big 3" automakers) for prototype development scale-up. The technology was installed at the National Composites Center in Kettering, Ohio, to produce pick up truck box preforms as part of a composite pickup box manufacturing demonstration program.

Preforming is a method of placing and configuring glass fibers to replicate the shape of the finished part. The fiberglass preform is then placed in the mold and combined with resin to produce the molded part. Using sheet molding compound, preforms and other advanced processes, automakers around the world today incorporate thousands of composite parts in their vehicles.

Owens Corning is a world leader in building materials and composites systems. The company had 1998 sales of $5 billion and employs approximately 20,000 worldwide. For more information, please visit Owens Corning's Web site at http://www.owenscorning.com .

The first Ford truck to include a composite box is the 2001 Explorer Sport Trac, a vehicle combining features of both pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. Building on the Explorer platform, the vehicle will have four doors and a 4-foot-long pickup box. The vehicle will also include an optional composite tonneau cover, traditionally an after-market accessory.

Explorer Sport Trac vehicles will be available in dealer showrooms early next year.

Composite pickup boxes for the Explorer Sport Trac will be molded by The Budd Company at North Baltimore, Ohio. Sheet molding compound, incorporating advanced glass fibers from Owens Corning, will be prepared at Budd's facility in Van Wert, Ohio.

Ford already uses composite materials on a number of its cars and trucks, including the Mustang, Windstar and full-size F150 pickup.

The world leader in glass fiber composite systems, Owens Corning helped pioneer the technology that led to the new pickup truck boxes.

Dick McKechnie, automotive market segment leader at Owens Corning, says the pickup truck boxes are a great example of Owens Corning's System Thinking(TM) approach to the market.


In 1935, realizing the potential growth of the glass fiber insulation market, Corning Glass, which had briefly experimented with glass fiber manufacturing in the 1920’s, approached Owens-Illinois with a proposal to join forces in the production of glass fiber.

Recognizing the benefits of Corning’s knowledge of glass formulations, Owens-Illinois agreed to the proposal, and the two companies decided to share the costs of glass fiber developments.

In 1938, experimental costs prompted Corning Glass and Owens-Illinois to consider spinning off the joint venture as a separate company.

On Nov. 1, 1938, Owens-Corning Fiberglas® Corporation was announced and by the end of 1938, the company reported sales of $2,555,000, and 632 employees. Owens Corning and the Duplate Safety Glass Company established Fiberglas® Canada in 1939, launching Owens-Corning into the international market, with each founding company owning a 50 percent share. Owens Corning would later own the entire Fiberglas® Canada Operation.

Owens Corning became publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 1952, with shares being distributed equally among Owens-Illinois, Corning Glass and public ownership. Over the succeeding years, both Owens-Illinois and Corning Glass would sell their shares, which would become largely owned by institutional investors.

In 1953, Owens Corning and General Motors announced the first production automobile to be made entirely of Fiberglas® reinforced plastic, the Chevrolet Corvette.



For more information please read:

1936 Stout Scarab - Collectible Automobile Volume 8 Number 1

1936 Stout-Scarab & Stout Forty-Six - Cars & Parts, November 1998


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