The Infamous 1948 Playboy

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The Playboy Motor Car Corp. of Buffalo, New York was one of several companies that sprang up immediately after World War Two, trying to break into the booming postwar auto-mobile market. Their goal was to product an afford-able sub-$1,000 automobile as ''the nation's new-car sensation."

Conceived to be the "second" car in the typical American family soon after WWII, the Playboy measured just 156" overall length and boasted a 40 hp four-cylinder engine. Known for it's innovative folding steel top that was hinged in the middle with a supposedly leak proof rubber gasket, the Playboy was the first American automobile to have an all steel retractable hardtop and is considered a precursor to the 1950's Ford retractable Skyliner and today's Mercedes-Benz SLK.

Unfortunately, the company managed to produce fewer than 100 before going out of business.

Playboy Motor Company of Buffalo, New York produced 97 Playboys in 1948 before going broke. With the fall of Tucker Motor Company that same year, Playboy was unable to settle their stock issue and the firm declared bankruptcy in 1951.

It is believed there are only 13 in existence today.

We just so happen to be lucky enough to be approached by one of the owners of this rare vehicle to produce a new aluminum radiator to replace the failing OEM one...And that's what we did!

The radiator design itself is reflective of the times the vehicle was produced and is quite simple. As you can see in the photo below; the downflow radiators' basic design could be any radiator from the late 40's or 50's.

It was a real pleasure to be involved in the project and be able to contribute to such a great piece of automotive history; especially since it's right in our own backyard of Buffalo, NY.

Even though the vehicle is a rare find it's kind of fun to note that legacy lives on in a very unexpected way; Hugh Hefner (yes that Hugh Hefner) actually named Playboy Magazine after the Playboy car (since the original magazine name of Stag Party had copyright issues)

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