Cincinnati’s Finest: 1950 Crosley Hot Shot

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

This is a heck of a car, at least it is for fans of Crosleys. Most folks probably make clown jokes and things like that, but for 1950 this was a very cool, albeit small, car. This is a 1950 Crosley Hot Shot and it’s listed on eBay with bids just under $5,000 and the reserve isn’t met.

I mistakenly referred to a Crosley Super Sport as a Hot Shot a few months ago and it’s haunted me ever since. The Hot Shot doesn’t have doors, or permanent doors, but there were accessory doors that could be lifted off of their hinges quickly. The Super Sport has regular hinged doors. If the naming confusion on whether it’s called Hot Shot or Hotshot isn’t bad enough, there’s more.

Just to throw a monkey wrench into that whole naming convention, according to the Crosley Auto Club website, this is most likely a “Super Sports”, which they say is basically a “deluxe Hot Shot with special trim and a folding top.” Are you as confused as I am? I’ve also seen them called Super Hotshots. AHHHH!! Calgon, take me away! But, back to this great looking car, whatever the heck it’s official name is!

This is an amazing car, a one-owner 7,600 mile car! The seller says that there is “no rust at all!!”, but they mean rust-through, as surface rust is clearly present on almost every metal surface. This is somewhat of a holy grail for a Crosley collector. There is a brand new convertible top and it has the original side curtains, jack, and spare tire. The interior appears to be complete and then some. A lot of these cars are missing the radios for some odd reason; not this one.

By 1950, Crosley changed from their infamous CoBra (Copper Brazed) engine to its CIBA (Cast Iron Block Assembly) four-cylinder with 26.5 hp. The seller has the original air cleaner, and from someone who is having a heck of a time finding an original air cleaner for another vehicle, I applaud that bit of info. There is no word on how, or if, this car runs, but I’m assuming that any of the Barn Finds readers could fix and maintain anything related to this great looking survivor.

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  1. Joe Haska

    I really didn’t like them then, and I am not too excited about them now, But there is no argument that they have a following and a history, so I am all in favor of those who want them and keep their history alive.

  2. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    You might not agree that this is an impressive car. It’s not exactly something that would give a ’60s musclecar a run for its money. But that would be wrong….at least by the test of endurance racing that the Crosley Hotshot succeeded in.

    Powel Crosley was a prominent businessman in Ohio. He was famous for his Crosley refrigerators and also for owning the Cincinnati Reds. Then he got into the car business. He made some very small cars, one of which was the Hotshot, which you wouldn’t ever confuse with a race car.

    But a Hotshot won a major endurance race in its first running—the Sam Collier Memorial Sebring Grand Prix of Endurance Six Hours, held in 1950. The 12 Hours of Sebring was a 12 hour race in 1952, but the race was a 6 hour race in 1950, and a Hotshot won. It was a race that was won on an index of performance, so a slow car with a tiny engine, that went faster than it should for its engine size, could finish better than a faster car with a big engine, and that what the Hotshot did.

    The Hotshot was a true giantkiller, at least on the runways of Sebring in 1950.

    • JYA!

      Many books on the history of the Corvette have photos of Crosley Hotshots as precursors to the Corvette.

  3. Mark Member

    Very nice grass under this car, Kentucky blue?

  4. RoughDiamond

    Neat little car. Loved the pictures until they just had to include that bright orange ’69 Judge in one shot.

  5. JebTN

    It actually is a Super Sports. The SS first came out in 1950 and was just a trim upgrade from the Hotshot. The trim around the cockpit and the folding top instead of assembled bows are the biggest differences in 1950 and of course the side scripts that say Super instead of Hotshot. Full doors were added on 1951-52 model years.

  6. Ben T. Spanner

    Powell Crosley was one of the first to put shelves in a refrigerator; the Crosley Shelv-a-Door. The original radio must have been a Crosley, but who could hear it.
    Back in the mid sixties when I was a mechanic, a customer had a supersport with a Lancia non syncronized transmission, and a Braje head. It was fast, loud and scary. One of the Crosley’s had disc brakes with little round pucks.

    • Uxberger

      Can someone jump in here and un-confuse me?
      I was pretty sure the cast Crosleys had integrally cast heads, like an Offenhauser.
      However…. Braje did make speed equipment for the Crosley engines. Was this an earlier CoBra engine? I don’t know if their heads were integral or not. Or did Braje have something to do with the Crosley head design?


      • JebTN

        Yes the block and head were a one piece assembly, both the CoBra and Cast engine. Braje made high compression pistons, intake and exhaust manifolds, dress up aluminum pieces and a bunch of other things.

  7. KLH

    The irony of it having the original radio is, Crosley was known for making radios.

  8. Ron

    Yes that is a factory Crosley radio, but it was made by Motoralla

    • JebTN

      It doesn’t look like any original factory radio I have seen.

      Crosley used Motorola, Philco and Zenith radios in their post war cars because they sold out the car radio business before WW-2 and the rest of his appliance and radio business to Avco in I believe 1944 or 1945 to concentrate on car production.

  9. JYA!

    This article has me thinking about Nash Metropolitans now. I don’t remember seeing many of them on these pages. Perhaps I will do a search!

  10. memikeyounot

    When I was a kid from the late 50’s until my sons were old enough to go (early 80’s, IIRC) we went to the UTE drive in movie theater in Midvale, UT. Great snack bar, great playground and a Crosley car (as the engine) that pulled a small train with 3-4 cars around the drive-in. I think it was like the one in the picture, because I remember the guy who usually drove it was the son of the owner and also a local school teacher, so occasionally he’d let us ride in the front seat. It was gone before my kids were old enough to ride in it.

  11. sofst1

    They are restoring Powell Crosley’s personal Hot Shot here in Cincinnati when they found it gathering dust in the basement of the Union Terminal Art Deco train station . A true barn find or I guess train station storage barn find, when finished it will be displayed here as the station is now a great museum .

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      You wouldn’t happen to have any photos of it or possibly a link to whoever is handling the restoration? It sure would make for a great story to post on the site!

  12. Peter Atherton

    The Super Sport was the first American car to use disc brakes,followed by the Chrysler Imperial.Disc brakes helped the Super Sport’s win at Sebring.

  13. Rob Champlin

    Hello from Chase Creek Restorations in Cincinnati. Nice to hear the word out about Powel’s car being restored. We completed the car for The Concinnati Museum Center back in September 2016. It is actually a 1951 super station wagon used on the Crosley’s estate. It is now on display at Cincinnati International Airport Delta terminal, while Union terminal is being restored for the Museum. Story on the cars can be found on the Crosley Club website.

  14. Chris A.

    Was there a Devin fiberglass body that was a good fit for these? I always thought the Crosley chassis and modified engine would make a good 750 cc race car.

  15. John b

    I hear The hot shot was the first Official U.S. sports car. Notice how the 53-55 vette has a similar rear body style- also first u.s. Production car with disc brakes
    One day i will restore mine. Anyone know of experience of keeping the engine stock but using a supercharger or turbo?

  16. Otto Nobedder

    I always love the Sellers’ comment: “Original owner since new”-except if you count the Flipper


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