America’s Sports Car: 1950 Crosley Hotshot

1950-crosley-hotshot-project

It may not look like much, but this was America’s first European style sports car after the war. This little guy even beat Corvette to the game. They were cheap, slow, and fun and a few even did well at racing. This 1950 Hotshot was in storage for 50 years before a restoration commenced. Supposedly all the hard work has been done, but the seller does not give specifics. They also have it listed as a Super Sport, but it sure looks like a Hotshot to us. Find the project here on craiglist for $5,000 in Hartford, Connecticut.

Tom-McCahill-super-sport-road-test

Journalist Tom McCahill tested out a Super Sport in 1951 and this is what he had to say:

Powel Crosley’s mechanized roller skate, the Super Sports, is a great American sports car. This thousand-dollar tobacco-can on casters is a great sports car in any league. This Crosley with its 10 to 1 compression ratio will take anything in its class ever delivered to these shores. If a team of six Crosley Super Sports were to race a team of six MGs at either Bridgehampton or Watkins Glen, I’d put my hundred bucks on the Crosley Team’s nose every time. The Super Sports holds the road like glue and it corners like a baby Ferrari.

Corners like a baby Ferrari! That statement makes us want to take one for a spin. Anyone here ever experience the little Crosley who can endorse Tom’s enthusiastic commentary? Either way, the Hotshot mentioned above looks like a good first project for any car guy.

 

Quote Credit: CCOC Yahoo Group
Image Credit: Flickr

Comments

  1. BGross

    I believe Super Sports had doors and maybe other “niceities”…..

  2. Craig

    Tom wrote for Popular Mechanics I think. Love the dog. Looks like a fun simple car.

    • Barn Finds

      He actually did this road test for Mechanix Illustrated, which competed with Popular Mechanics. He wrote for a few other publications too, but he really was quite a car guy.

  3. Brian C

    Hmmm, I wonder if Tom fell victim to the “small sporty looking car with no windshield” phenomena. I can tell you from experience, having run my Healey 100-4 with the windshield always folded down and my later Healey 3000 for some time without a windshield at all, that 40 mph feels like 120 when all the wind, bugs, and occasional pebble cast off by the car ahead hits you right in the face/eyes. I think the dog has the right idea with the goggles on.

  4. BillR

    @Brian C
    I concur. I once folded the windshield of my TD down and after 5 miles at 35 to 40 mph my eyes had teared up so much from the wind that I could hardly see. I stopped and pulled it upright again. Goggles are a must.

  5. Dan Bennett

    A San Jose PickNPull had one in the early nineties. I couldn’t get it until their paperwork cleared. I went back when they said it was ready but someone already bought it the morning it was available. Fortunately little british cars were still cheap back then.

  6. Dan Farrell

    What was the engine?

    • scot c

      ~ @ Dan Farrell,
      . check out the engine section of wiki’s article. interesting and odd.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crosley#Engines

      and don’t overlook ‘notable Crosley owners’

    • paul

      Singer sowing machines, or little hamsters.

  7. Dolphin Dolphin

    Barn Finds did an entry on one of these last year. Called it the first American sportscar I think, but some comments pointed out the Stutz Bearcat and maybe the Mercer.

    So, call it the first modern post-WW2 sportscar.

    Modern? It’s a pretty basic car, but it did have a small (44 cc) but advanced OHC engine at a time when OHV engines were new technology (e.g., Caddy in 1949) and many US cars still had flathead engines. The Crosley engine was developed into a 750 cc DOHC racing engine later, and was used in Bandinis, Siatas, and Nardis—some of the rarest and most exotic (for the time) etceterini of them all.

    I remember reading some of Tom McCahill’s road tests and still have some of them as offprints in my files. He was loud and opinionated, but he was about the most enthusiastic car guy of the time, and if he gave your car a positive evaluation in one of his tests, you were crazy if you didn’t have it reprinted and distributed along with the brochures in your showrooms, usuallly with a photo of him in the car skidding around a corner on a dirt road with clouds of dust swirling around. I really liked him—and his dog.

  8. steve

    I’d rather have a 125 shifter kart, for the money.

  9. Rancho Bella

    Crosley’s ran and won races. If you look into old power boats and racing you will see Crosley’s engines represented. I think a Hot Shot ran Sebring?

    For a tiny engine these could be made hot and there was aftermarket racing goodies to be purchased. I am a fan of Crosley’s, tiny, homely, cute…..etc.

  10. FRED

    even as a kid i don’t think i would be able to get in it.

  11. Chris

    The first race at Sebring was a 6 hr endurance road race with the winner determined by an index of performance measured by engine displacement. Yup, the little Crosley Super Sport won it on corrected time. That 44 cubic inch engine was very advanced and later, fully developed for racing would reliably turn 70 hp at 8500 rpm. The Crosley’s brakes also helped secure the win, the car had the first caliper disc brakes ever used in American road racing. Fritz Koster, the winning driver along with Ralph Deshon, was one of the best early fifties road racers. It does appear this is a “Hotshot” not the very rare Super Sport Crosley of which less than 800 were made.

  12. robert kirk

    Sorry Chris the Super Sport did not exist as such when its less tarty big sister “Hot Shot” won that first Sebring Race. Not sure what one calls super rare, Bugatti Royale at 5 or 6 maybe, Intermeccanica Omega at 39 or so. I would certainly concede that the Crosley VC (their series of the 2 Production names) is rare and the introduction came on the first of 4 falling sales years that doomed all Crosley Car production in 1952. I truly have never seen the numbers broken down as the very first Super can be considered a car unto itself unlike both the Hot Shot with removable doors and what came to be the Super Sport with fixed and longer doors. That transition model is I believe “Super Rare” but not particularly the former or later renditions IMHO. Good to see this discussion. The oldest car club in the USA is the Crosley Car Owners Club and Crosley Auto Club has a passionate membership FWIW

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