Sometime shortly after World War II, Kenneth McLoad decided to become a sportscar builder. He designed a slick looking two-seat fiberglass bodied sports car that he called the Venus. Fiberglass was becoming a popular media to work with, as we saw with GM’s Corvette in the early-to-mid fifties.
McLoad started by building a full-scale of his Venus car in wood, then made a fiberglass mold. Designing the body to fit on to an existing chassis, he planned on saving some time and effort for anyone wanting to purchase his fiberglass bodies. The Venus became one of the very first attempts at a kit car.
When all the car designs looked like this, you could add the Venus body and have a completely fresh car with a futuristic design.
The first prototype was designed to use a donor chassis from a 1949 to 1953 shoebox Ford, installing the Venus body on the Ford frame. This allowed the use of the Ford’s drivetrain, from the engine to the rearend. The Ratio Manufacturing Company was created to sell these Venus bodies to others that wanted their own fiberglass bodied sports cars.
The very first documented and featured prototype body was mounted to a 1949 Ford with some Stewart Warner gauges in the dash, Dodge headlights, and some other custom touches. Motor Trend magazine was called out to shoot photos and write a car feature on the new sports car, which appeared in the May 1954 issue.
The Motor Trend article prompted some public interest in the Venus, largely due to the positive comments made in the text. According to experts that are familiar with the Venus story, 10 of these bodies were made and sold. Where things get fuzzy is whether these bodies actually made it on to chassis and were driven.
According to the wonderful The Fabulous Venus wordpress blog, “As of this writing, there are only TWO known Venus cars known to exist. The Venus is a very small part of American automotive history, but it still deserves to exist and to be remembered. If nothing else, it represents very core of American values, entrepreneurship, and vision.”
We agree. If you want more information on this interesting part of automotive history, please read the History Of The Venus blog and enjoy a first hand look at the car.