1955 Crosley Powered Custom Racer

What exactly is this? Well, it appears to be an interesting mash-up in the form of a custom racer powered by a 1955 Crosley CIBA engine. It’s certainly an interesting sight but a bit difficult to pinpoint as to its origins. Constructed in the 1950s for Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) competition, this custom racer is located in Newton, New Jersey and is available, here on Barn Finds Classifieds or here on Bring a Trailer for a current bid of $7,777.

Purchased a few years back by the previous owner, this SCCA H-class fiberglass racer features a tube chassis and comes with its body molds, an unusual inclusion! The body design isn’t reminiscent of anything in particular and there is no specific definition of what it is other than to say that it is “a sports racer constructed in the ’50s“. The finish and fiberglass work still presents perfectly in spite of this car’s participation in 51 sporting events – the driver managed to keep it out of a wall or mix it up with other participants. The most notable feature may be the rollbar with a tiny head restraint that is affixed to a specific location – wonder if it’s moveable to accommodate different sized drivers? There is a cut-down windscreen but it’s a pretty minimal affair.

The most recognizable feature here, to some, might be the 1955 vintage Crosley engine. Originally starting life as a 26 HP, 724 CC, in-line four-cylinder unit, it now displaces 759 CC’s and probably generates quite a bit more power thanks to a “single Weber 40 DCOE carburetor, a forged crankshaft, Pauter connecting rods, Arias pistons, Manley valves, Honda valve springs, tubular headers…” The rear wheels, which are 12″ in diameter, are engaged by a Fiat four-speed manual transmission and front disc brakes return this custom to a stop when the caliper pistons aren’t sticking. Unfortunately, there is no description as to how this diminutive road racer performs but there is a spare Fageol/Crosley race engine that is included in the sale.

The interior is about what one would expect to find in a car of this nature. Besides its tight quarters, one will find, “A three-spoke steering wheel sits ahead of a Stewart Warner 10k-rpm tachometer and a custom instrument panel with auxiliary gauges and toggle switches for vehicle functions“. It’s an all-business-looking environment, designed strictly for track use. From what can be seen, the work and modifications appear to have been professionally executed.

Back to the opening line, the big unknown here is, what is this thing? Yes, we’ve figured out the powertrain but the rest appears to be self-constructed, but from what? Plans, an existing kit car from the day perhaps, or perhaps just one’s imagination? It’s all a big unknown and the question is whether or not the lack of pedigree will hinder a potential sale. It probably won’t though it might make finding a new caretaker more of a challenge wouldn’t you agree?


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    In the ’50s this would have been an SCCA sports racer. Home built cars with small engines. The Crosley solid iron block engines made great small motor race engines as they were dependable, high winding, overhead cam engines. When I was a little kid a family friend raced a Devin bodied, Fiat sub framed, 4 cylinder Mercury outboard engine with a Fiat transmission in SCCAs Sports Racer class. Needless to say it was a rocket on wheels. After racing it for 2 some odd years someone broke into his shop and stole it trailer and all. This car is a great example of what the SCCA initial years looked like. Looks like it’s still doing that in the Vintage racing today.

    Like 4
  2. Ben T Spanner

    There was a lot of aftermarket speed parts for Crosley engines. A limiting factor was the three speed transmission. This has a Fiat gearbox. In the late 1960’s I knew of a street deriven Crosley Hot Shot which had a 5 speed Lancia crash box. That thing was scary fast.

    Like 4
  3. Gordon

    Lotsa positive caster . .

    Like 1
  4. Troy

    This thing reminds me of a cartoon I watched as a kid called speed racer, not sure what I would do with this if I had it, probably post it for sale here and go buy something else

  5. Fred A Lusk

    High school classmate of mine was building a Jabro kit in his bedroom in about 1961. Kit included tube frame. Used Crossley engine. Don’t recall that body looked like this. Saw a Jabro HM run at Green Valley Raceway in N Texas in 1965.

    Like 1
    • Clay Bryant

      There’s a Jabro in Roca, Nebraska.

      Like 1
  6. MattR Member

    I love everything about this except for the roll-cage which seems way out of scale.

    Like 1
  7. Howie Mueler

    This would be a blast to drive if i could fit in it.

    Like 1
  8. Clay Bryant

    There’s a Jabro in Roca, Nebraska.

    Like 1
  9. Kenn

    Am relocating to Nebraska. Wonder if I could find a Jabro there?

    Like 1

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