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America’s First Sports Car: 1950 Crosley Hotshot

The Crosley Hotshot was the first production sports car built in the United States, beginning in 1949. Advanced for the time, with an overhead cam engine and 4-wheel disc brakes, they sold well despite being tiny by American standards – about the size of a Bugeye Sprite. Find this it here on eBay near Manassas, VA with the bidding at $2,247 and the reserve not yet met.

This Hotshot is from a Crosley collection estate sale and is described by the seller as having had an amateur restoration about 25 years ago. It seems to have most of its components, but the fancy wheel-covers are later non-factory items. These cars originally came with small chrome hubcaps with the Crosley name, as can be seen in the photo below lying behind the seats.

The body is said to have some filler but the frame and underside are described as solid. The current windshield and upholstery were fitted by the former owner and, although not original, serve reasonably well. But for fitting an original soft top, the current 2-piece windshield will need to be replaced by an original 1-piece screen.

The 725 cc OHC engine is appropriate for this car and, according to the seller, runs well enough for the car to be “yard driven”. But nothing on the car has been serviced recently, so the buyer should plan on going over all of the systems thoroughly. These engines were well designed and even powered a stock Hotshot to an Index of Performance win in the first Sebring race in 1950. They were also transplanted into some pretty exotic foreign sports cars such as Bandinis, Morettis, Siatas. The buyer of this Hotshot will have a small slice of early post-WW2 automotive history.


  1. Craig Bolton

    Powell Crosley built a good-looking refrigerator.

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  2. Jesse Member

    Looks dangerous, but fun at the same time.

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  3. Dave

    I think the only “Sport” that should be associated with this car is golf…

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  4. crosleykook

    Pretty funky. The rear wheel wells have been closed up, the seats aren’t stock, and you mentioned that the windshield was custom.. the dash is custom too; the 2 stock round gauges have been swapped out with a single square gauge from a ’49-52 Crosley sedan or Station Wagon. The spare tire placement is also homebrew – the tire should mount in about the center of the rear bodywork. I’d really want to inspect the quality of the work given the amount of modifications here…

    I invite anybody interested in Crosleys to check out my blog where I obsess over them regularly: http://crosleykook.blogspot.com

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  5. Foxxy

    that sure looks more like an ohv eng and not an ohc. I’m not a Crosley expert, but I know engines. cute little car.

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  6. Craig Bolton

    @Foxxy- it’s a cammer, alright. Crosley used a bevel-gear drive with the shaft through a tube at the right front of the block. It fit under that tin valve cover just fine.

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  7. J. Pickett

    These cars were successfully raced for years. Neat little engineering. Not the greatest restoration but good conversation piece. As for first sports car, Stutz and Mercer fans might dispute that.

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  8. TVC15

    Mr Pickett , you may know this , Is it true Mercer had an ad back in the day that read ” You have to be nuts to buy a Stutz ” ? I heard this years ago but have never seen the ad

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  9. Foxxy

    @ Craig, thanks for setting me straight. I never thought about the bevel drive. Like they say , “you learn something new every day.”

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    Check http://www.onelist.com/group/Crosley for all your Crosley dreams.

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  11. Chris Junker

    TCV15 “Nothing’s worser than driving a Mercer” was the Stutz owner’s alleged reply. Jay Leno owns (and drives) one of the pre WWI Mercer Raceabouts. The Leno Mercer video is wonderful

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  12. TVC15

    LOL !! Thanks Chris , how about us Barn Finders inventing new ones for todays cars ??

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