Customer Spotlight: Fiberglass Rides with Gotham Cruisers
With the growing demand for improved fuel efficiency, fiberglass composites are hard at work in the transportation industry. In fact, the light-weight-for-high-strength of fiberglass has already made a significant impact in both aerospace and automotive sectors. It’s durable: it stands up to high speeds, increased air pressure, and tough outdoor conditions. It’s affordable, consistent, and easy to use.
So, what more could a composite offer to the business of transportation? In the case of Fibre Glast customer Gotham Cruisers, fiberglass also makes getting from one place to another look very, very cool.
Fabricator Doug Hines has been hand-crafting Gotham Cruisers for nearly a decade from his Dayton, Ohio, bat cave. These Hollywood replica vehicles feature fiberglass molded bodies built onto existing automobile chassis. Most are powered by a small block engine, can be licensed, and driven down the streets of your city, leaving neighbor children (and some of their parents) in awe.
“I’m a child of early 1970s television. And when you’re a kid, watching a science fiction or superhero show, you think wouldn’t it be great to have one of those [gadgets or vehicles]?” said Hines, of making his boyhood dream a reality. “So when I got started in composites, my first project was making a replica of the robot from Lost in Space. Over time, my lay-up techniques advanced and, at some point, I turned my attention to making machines with a little more horsepower.”
Thus, Gotham Cruisers was launched. And apparently, Hines isn’t the only adult with those same childhood dreams. One decade later, his crew (Herb, Tim, and Jamie) stays busy year-round producing replicas for clients all across the United States. Clients can order kits to assemble themselves, or they can purchase fully built vehicles that include a convertible 1966 Gotham Cruiser; its modern cousin, the 1989 Cruiser; a wide-body 1949 Mercury; or a 1966 Gotham Cycle, complete with sidecar.
According to Hines, it takes about 30 days, start-to-finish, to complete one car. He keeps the process efficient by creating his own tooling, and hand-molding parts using a combination of quick-build chopped strand mat, woven fiberglass fabric, and polyester resin. With their unique body lines and shapes, Gotham Cruisers are a perfect example of the value of conformability when laying up certain weaves of fiberglass fabric in-mold.
And in case you’re wondering, Cruisers are also equipped with all the “bells and whistles” that you’ll remember from past pursuit of supervillains, including contoured windshields, custom interior, and gadgets galore. Check out some of the extras on the 1966 Gotham Cruiser.
Holy composites, they’re cool! And if you don’t see what you’re interested in, don’t fret. Doug Hines and his boys are willing to create custom fiberglass fabrications with some input. In fact, they’re currently designing a unique mode of transportation for clients overseas: roller coaster parts, all brightly colored with polyester gel coat from Fibre Glast.
Check out our entire selection of fiberglass fabrics, polyester resins, colored gel coats, and more when you visit product pages at FibreGlast.com.