Rohm & Haas - 1909-present - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Rohm & Haas manufactured clear plexiglass bubble tops for 1946-1948 Fords, (Buicks and others?) Another Detroit firm named Wright-Austin also made bubble tops in the early 1950s. The Add-a-top corporation sold combination fiberglass plexiglass hardtop roofs for 1949-51 Ford convertibles that were manufactured for them by Cadillac Plastics of Troy Michigan. - Rohm & Haas – Philadelphia PA – 1909-present Originally a German Firm started in 1901, they established a US branch in 1909. Rohm & Haas developed, patented and manufactured Plexiglas and built a few show cars for GM (Chevrolet) that featured Plexiglas such as the Corvair-based 1963 Explorer I and the Corvette-based 1964 Explorer II. The Explorer I was definitely built, however evidence that the Explorer II ever went beyond the drawing board is lacking. Earlier on they had built the famous 1939 World’s Fair Plexiglas Pontiac “Ghost Car”. Rohm & Haas started life as a chemical firm that manufactured a leather abatement treatment called Bate that was used extensively by the leather industry in the 1930s on the hides they sold to auto manufacturers and coachbuilders. Today they’re one of the world’s largest manufacturers of specialty chemicals and continue to supply paint, powder coatings and adhesives to the auto industry although they sold their Plexiglas business in the 1990s.

2014 Update:

I recently heard from Glen Brummer (Indianapolis, Ind.) who writes:

"I wish to set some information straight about the Rohm & Haas Chemical Co.  My father, Milton Brummer, worked for R&H for more than 40 years as a salesman selling their plastics products - mainly their trade name Plexiglas.  While he was not involved with the Pontiac 'Ghost' car, I happen to know that R&H did not build those two cars.  GM had requested that R&H quote on providing the bodies for those cars, but before they finished with their quotation, GM had decided to build them 'in-house' at Fisher Body.  The Deluxe Six version still exists, but the Torpedo Eight 'Ghost' car has never been found.  (While Rohm & Haas did not build them, they were constructed with Plexiglas bodies which is a plastic material made by R&H.  The Deluxe Six was built in 1939 and then modified at Fisher Body with a 1940 front end.  This car still exists - it was owned by Frank Kleptz of Terre Haute, IN for a number of years, but upon his death, it was sold at auction.  The 1940 Pontiac Torpedo Eight was also built, but has never surfaced.)

Starting in 1963, R&H developed a car called the Explorer to explore more possible usage of their plastic materials.  In all, they built five cars - the original Explorer car was a lightly modified black Corvair Monza coupe.  Explorer II was based on a 1964 Corvette roadster.  Explorer III was based on a 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback coupe.  Explorer IV was built on a Buick Riviera chassis with a complete new fiberglass body.  I'm not sure of the chassis on the Explorer V car.  The R&H brochures for Explorers II, III and IV all showed only artist renderings of the cars, but the cars were all built.  I am attaching pictures of all but the Mustang, because I have yet to find an actual photograph of that car.  Somebody has a web site covering that Mustang and says that they know where the car is, but that's been up for years and they have yet to produce and evidence that they have the car.  My dad told me that all of the cars were destroyed in a warehouse fire in Detroit.  In 2008 Rohm & Haas was acquired by the Dow Chemical Co. for $18.8 billion and no longer exists."



For more information please read:

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Car

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Era

Beverly Rae Kimes - Packard: A History of the Motorcar and Company

Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark Jr. - Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

Richard Burns Carson - The Olympian Cars

Raymond A. Katzell - The Splendid Stutz

Marc Ralston - Pierce Arrow

Brooks T. Brierley - There Is No Mistaking a Pierce Arrow

Brooks T. Brierley - Auburn, Reo, Franklin and Pierce-Arrow Versus Cadillac, Chrysler, Lincoln and Packard

Brooks T. Brierley - Magic Motors 1930

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

John Gunnell - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975

James M. Flammang & Ron Kowalke - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1976-1999

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Michael Lamm and Dave Holls - A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design

Thomas E. Bonsall - The Lincoln Motorcar: Sixty Years of Excellence

Fred Roe - Duesenberg: The Pursuit of Perfection

Arthur W. Soutter - The American Rolls-Royce

John Webb De Campi - Rolls-Royce in America

Hugo Pfau - The Custom Body Era

Hugo Pfau - The Coachbult Packard

Griffith Borgeson - Cord: His Empire His Motor Cars

Don Butler - Auburn Cord Duesenberg

George H. Dammann - 90 Years of Ford

George H. Dammann & James K. Wagner - The Cars of Lincoln-Mercury

Thomas A. MacPherson - The Dodge Story

F. Donald Butler - Plymouth-Desoto Story

Fred Crismon - International Trucks

George H. Dammann - Seventy Years of Chrysler

Walter M.P. McCall - 80 Years of Cadillac LaSalle

Maurice D. Hendry - Cadillac, Standard of the World: The complete seventy-year history

George H. Dammann & James A. Wren - Packard

Dennis Casteele - The Cars of Oldsmobile

Terry B. Dunham & Lawrence R. Gustin - Buick: A Complete History

George H. Dammann - Seventy Years of Buick

George H. Dammann - 75 Years of Chevrolet

John Gunnell - Seventy-Five Years of Pontiac-Oakland


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