The Gaylord Brothers of Chicago established their car company in the early ’50s. They were set to produce bespoke, luxurious sports cars for the wealthiest clientele. And because the brothers inherited a fortune, they wanted to invest it in a car company under their own name.
So they called their first and only project the Gladiator. It debuted in the 1955 Paris Motor Show, causing quite a stir among car enthusiasts. The Gaylord Gladiator featured a 300 HP V8 with a Chrysler Hemi or Cadillac. It hit top speeds of 120 mph and had 0 to 60 mph times of eight seconds. And these numbers were spectacular by the standards of the day.
Also, the car had an ingenious automatic folding roof and a host of other luxury features years ahead of their time. But the Gladiator had an astronomical price of $17,500, which was almost three times as much as the most expensive Cadillac. The price was so high because the famous engineering and design company, Luftschiffbau Zeppelin, in Friedrichshafen assembled and built it in Germany.
Despite the interest from the world’s rich and famous, including actress and the Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, the Gaylord brothers only made two cars. However, there is a legend that they made a third car, but no one has confirmed that. Afterward, the Gaylord Gladiator fell into obscurity yet it still is one of the rarest American cars they ever built.