Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bob "Snuffy" Smith. 87 Grand National Champion and Fiberglass craftsman

In the early 70's, Snuffy (My late father) was already an avid/veteran motorcycle rider and racer. He also ran a successful business (with his good friend George Waite) as a fiberglass fabricator and repairman. In the picture above, he stands between two large gas tanks made for Bertram fishing boats. He also built fishing wells for Bertram (where fisherman stored their catch.)

The front end of this truck looks pretty trashed. My father saw it differently.

Good as new. You can see the pride in his eyes, even through those dark shades.

I was going through some old stuff of my dads and I found these photos of his fiberglass work. I knew he had made a motorcycle gas tank during his days in the fiberglass business, he had one stored in our garage's loft for years. What I didn't know is that he made two different styles and they were available in many different colors. The larger tank looks like it could be a Triumph OIF model gas tank. The smaller almost looks like a BSA Victor 441 tank, but I'm not sure. If anyone can identify these tanks, please let me know.

The tank that was stored in our garage was (if my memory serves me) the larger one. As far as I know, the tank, along with all the bits and spare motorcycle parts he collected over 40-something years were sold at the Oley swap meet in 2007. I wish I still had that tank. Unfortunately the molds for these tanks, along with all the inventory were lost in a horrible fire that totaled the Fiberglass business.

Through out the years, my dad explained the process of working with fiberglass. He helped me repair a surfboard. He repaired motorcycle fairings and all sorts of other things. Fiberglass is a medium I've always wanted to work with. I think that gas tanks are probably a bit advanced for a first project, but seeing these pics have inspired me to experiment. I have a few top secret idea's which I will be unavailing soon. Stay tuned....

1 comment:

  1. I have been wearing his belt (top photo) since I was 15. Still love it! Thanks for writing these stories down, Matt.