The idea behind fiberglass incorporation in car designs has been in existence since the 50s. However, not so many companies have successfully considered assembling fiberglass car designs in its entirety. The first of its kind was the Bradley GT, which came into life in the 70s. Bradley GT is a kit car, developed by the Bradley Automotive in Plymouth, Minnesota, between 1970 and 1981. The kit car model also made it easier for it to be recognized, and it enhanced its wide acceptability during that time. The fiberglass design was unique because as at that time, Chevrolet and all other brands were not yet to exposed to the design. Other car companies that had it in their design did not do full incorporation; they only focused on designing parts of the vehicle with fiberglass.
THE DESIGN OF BRADLEY GT
Bradley GT is the product of the brainwork of two friends who came from different industries but had similar interests. Gary Courneya being the first of them, who was a popular salesperson at Beverley Hills. This was just before he met David Bradley Fuller, another businessman, except that Fuller was more into the fiberglass design at that time.
They both came up with the idea of creating an automobile company with a bit of uniqueness at that time. They started by selling parts of vehicles, which Fuller designed, and Gary helped with the sales process. However, in the wake of 1970, their idea changed, and they designed the first model of Bradley GT, which brought the company into the full glare of the public.
THE FIRST BRADLEY GT DESIGN
The first Bradley GT was publicized for a while before the introduction into the market. This publicity was done subtly as only a glimpse was shown to the public, and you would have to make a payment of 1 USD before you can see the complete model in the company’s newsletter. During the latter part, the vehicle was officially launched.
As a kit vehicle, one would expect that only the component parts will be produced and assembling the individual parts will be the work of the car dealers or whoever wishes to resell. This was the case, except that the company also introduced the assembled version into the market around the same time. This assembled version weighed about 1,600 lb.
Apart from the fiberglass design, so much uniqueness was incorporated into the Bradley GT’s first edition. This was evident by the two-seat coupe design without doors and with a rather curved and sleek body. The only protection it had against weather was two plastic panels, which were, of course, frameless, to add special touches to the design.
With a full-bodied fiberglass design, this first model was mounted on the unmodified Volkswagen Beetle. This made the design also inherit the 94.5b inch wheelbase of the Beetle However, Bradley Automobile Company did not make the wheels and tires specification as the choice was left for those who buy the kit to make.
The engine type as also designed to be one of a kind, with an air-cooled four-cylinder boxer engine and a four-speed manual transmission. All of these were incorporated without leaving out the swing axle design. The design of this kit car also made it possible for individuals to make certain car design variations. For instance, the normal headlamps are hidden behind two large opaque covers. However, the owners could expose the hidden headlamps, depending on their choices or preference.
THE SECOND BRADLEY GT MODEL
The first model of the Bradley GT was in existence for about eleven years, and the company produced about 6000 cars of this type. However, in 1975, the Bradley Automobile company saw a massive expansion due to certain investors’ interest in their business. This also prompted the restructuring of the operation system of the company. With this, one of the company employees, going by the name John Chun, came up with a modified design of the first GT edition, called Bradley GT II.
The GT II edition was described as the Luxury Sports Car Kit at that time because of the sleek design. Although still made of fiberglass design and built on the Volkswagen beetle chassis, the GT II saw the incorporation of more components into it. For instance, the interior part was created to have more room, with special door releases and gas struts. The headlamp in this new edition was also made to be powered by electricity, among other features. This idea birthed the third edition of the Bradley GT product.
THE THIRD BRADLEY MODEL
The third model of the Bradley series came around when the company was in a bit of crisis. By this time, the two pioneers already parted ways, and the company already changed its name a couple of times. However, this did not affect the production of the GTElectric version of the Bradley Brand.
The company enjoyed the assistance of the Electric Vehicle Systems Operation (EVSO) at that time. The main difference between GT II and the GTE version was the incorporation of battery bank powering into the vehicle’s operation. The 16 6-volt batteries were connected in series, making it possible to drive the 96 volts at once. The ability to switch between modes also made the vehicle series unique. The Boost mode allowed the maximum usage of the voltage capacity, and the Cruise mode allowed a reduction to 48 volts.
The Bradley GT series served its time, and some owners still have it parked in their garage because of the unique fiberglass design. Owning one might not be a bad idea as it is still possible to get the parts even till today.