Rare Car Network

Rare Car Network
Unique Classics, Replicas and Build Culture
						Almquist Sabre4
1958 Almquist Sabre Project

1958 Almquist Sabre on a FIAT Topolino chassis

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, BringaTrailer.com

There was a time in this country when the lines between the hot rods, sports cars and racers were not so distinct. Car guys were car guys, and all of them obsessed with finding new ways to go faster, and build hotter customized cars. One of the front-runners in early quests for speed was a Pennsylvania man by the name of Ed Almquist. While he didn’t go on to be a household name like Edelbrock, Iskenderian or Navarro, you could say that Almquist wrote the book on speed.

More specifically, Almquist wrote a book about speed during his time as a marine engineer during World War II, but his book would become the first widely circulated manual on modifying cars for performance. Almquist’s Speed and Mileage Manual was first published in 1946, and by the 1950s, his was one of the biggest names in performance. Hop-up parts for Ford flatheads, small-block Chevrolets and other platforms soon became a thriving market, and by 1960, his firm Almquist Engineering had a whole portfolio of fiberglass car bodies, making him one of the true front-runners in that market as well.

Almquist sold several styles of fiberglass bodies, from small Volkswagen-based speedsters, to ’32 Ford bodies, large Detroit-based customs and open top roadsters. The car seen here on BringaTrailer.com is one of Almquist’s most recognizable, called the Sabre, and available in wheelbases from 72 to 92 inches. This short wheelbase version of the Sabre was often based on Fiat or Crosley mechanicals, and this car is an interesting combination of the two.

The chassis used was sourced from a 1950s Fiat Topolino, a diminutive Italian city car whose name means “little mouse.” The Topolino’s chassis was lightweight and rear-wheel drive, but 13 bhp from its 569 cc was probably sedate at best, and the engine was replaced at some point with a 724 cc Crosley inline-four. Capable of roughly 27 hp in stock trim, the Crosley CIBA engine doubled the output of the Fiat chassis, the effect of which was multiplied by the lightweight fiberglass bodywork.

Per the seller, this Saber was used for beach racing in New Jersey in the early 1960s. From there, the seller’s father-in-law acquired the car in Pennsylvania in 1987, and it’s been in storage since the 1990s. Condition is definitely fitting for a project car, as it will require complete mechanical and cosmetic refurbishment. Most notably, there’s some significant fiberglass repair required on the driver’s side front quarter, along with some serious refinishing around the grill section. But as far as fiberglass goes, can you imagine a better way to learn? It’s also nice to see a collection of spare parts included with the car, including another engine, transmission, engine spares and interior parts.

Both the condition of the car and the small size of the donor indicate that the price should stay low, likely below $10,000. All of which makes this one a fun summer project.

See the Almquist Saber here on BringaTrailer.com.

Comments for: 1958 Almquist Sabre Project

comments powered by Disqus

Filed Under