Forgotten Wonder – The First Transparent Car Made in America


Unveiled in 1939, the Pontiac Ghost Car was the first completely transparent car made in America. Designed to showcase everything that goes into making an automobile in a time when the automotive industry was thriving, the Pontiac Ghost Car was built by General Motors in partnership with Rohm and Hass, the company that invented Plexiglas. The revolutionary material essentially replaced the sheet of metal out of which the car’s body was usually made of, thus offering a clear view of the inner workings of the vehicle. To add to its striking appearance, the metallic structure featured a copper wash, the hardware was chrome-plated, and the tires were white instead of the usual black. The Ghost Car’s total cost was estimated at $25,000 at the time, which would be nearly half a million today. The 1939 Ghost Car was loaned to the Smithsonian during World War II, and was auctioned for $308,000 in 2011.