Live Auctions

Custom Kit of Parts: 1957 Nackardbaker

Did any of you walk into your Nackardbaker dealership in 1957 and buy one of these? If you did, you’re living in some other cool, parallel universe than the rest of us are. This crazy custom is referred to by the seller as a “1957 Nackardbaker Fiat 500 Topolino Sports Car Devin Kellison LaDawri Cheetah Kit” and it’s listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $9,995 or make an offer. It’s located in Bozeman, Montana.

There’s something that I like about this one. Actually, I like pretty much everything about it, body/style/design-wise. I can’t imagine the work that went into Frankenstein’ing this together whenever it was created. It’s alive.. IT’S ALIVE!.. must have rung through the garage the day that it started for the first time. This is a small car, at least by monster truck standards. And, of course, by monster truck I mean a regular pickup; the size difference is pretty stark.

You may have recognized a few parts and pieces that went into this one. According to the seller’s description from the last time this car was listed for sale, way back in 2005, the front fenders are from a ’47-’49 Studebaker Champion, the grille is from a ’48-’49 Packard, and the rear fenders are from a ’51 Nash. Are those vents on the rear deck? Yes, this was a mid-engine car, at least in this stage of its existence. Supposedly, at one time it started out as a Fiat Topolino, or that was the basis and/or starting point, and the chassis. How it ended up where it is now has to be quite the story.

There’s not much work to do on the interior. Next slide!.. wait a minute. This is about as blank-slate as it gets. The steering wheel is from a (insert guesses here as the seller doesn’t know) and you can see that it needs everything there is to need in there. And, the trunk and/or hood is as empty as a cursive writing class in elementary school.

The seller thinks that this car originally has a Fiat Topolino engine but I don’t know if there is really any way of telling exactly what powered this beast. I can imagine that with less than 20 hp this was never meant to be a screamer, just an interesting conversation piece to drive around, maybe to the feed store. The seller thinks that the original owner and builder may have been from Wyoming. Have you ever made a custom creation like this? Using your car-spotting experience, do you see any clues as to exactly what vehicles these parts and pieces are from?


  1. packrat

    I agree with you, this is a well coordinated offering compared to most of the things put together by bodymen of the past whose dreams were apparently fueled with imron fumes and experimentation with racing alcohol. This one is plagued with that pesky mis-placed decimal point in the initial price.

  2. Nova Scotian

    Good write up. Thanks. Made me laugh a couple times. You are an artist of the written word. Yes?

    Like 1
  3. Coventrycat

    The car that could have saved Packard.

  4. RandyS

    That last pic. A frame rail bolted to another frame rail, then gas welded to a 3rd frame rail. While the body is cool I would want to re-engineer that.

    • Dairymen

      What could go wrong?

      • Ed P

        Hold my beer

  5. Dairymen

    I don’t know what’s in the water up there in Bozeman but this guy has most of his stuff overpriced by a factor of 10. Would you like to buy a 32 packard V12 engine? It’s only $79k!! I’ve seen nice complete running V12 Packard cars sell for less than that.

  6. Dolphin Member

    Great writeup, Scotty. Very funny, and appropriate for this……ahh, creation.

  7. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    I had the privilege of seeing this one in-person back in 2013:

    Looks like the same seller still has it, but they have cut their asking price in half.

    • Woodie Man

      keep cutting…….

      Like 1
    • brakeservo

      Yeah, I knew I’d seen it somewhere before . . . some things seen, cannot be unseen . . . well, I guess it isn’t really that bad (if you don’t factor in his asking price.)

  8. Fred W.

    Put a golf cart drivetrain in it and drive around car shows as is. You’ll get more attention than a concours level Shelby.

  9. Mike Williams

    the seller throws around some impressive names, ” Devin, Kellison, LaDawri, Cheetah Kit”. They were great sports cars and for the most part had impressive v8 engines.

  10. Jeff "Nemo" Buckley

    They’ve tried to sell it several times. They’re entering reality values, now. Interesting piece. Could be a fun journey to bring it to life. NEMO

  11. DrD

    Randy S, I think “re-engineer” is being kind to the first “engineer”. After all, what could possibly go wrong with the present setup. Yikkkkkeesss!

  12. starsailing

    Do search on Montana drag strips….plenty of old Mont dragstrip videos from 50s up online….I reckon you may spot it there.

    • grant

      I can’t imagine anyone drag racing this. I also can’t see any “Little Mouse” in it either, and I hope the seller is wrong about that. Topolino’s are neat cars.

  13. Rustytech Member

    I like the quirkiness of the body, maybe put it on a late model s10 4×2 lowered chassis, it certainly would ge attention at any car show you took it to. But that price? Drop it by another 50% then maybeeee.

  14. Ludditejohn

    I wonder if what we have here is the deteriorated remains of what was once an attractive looking advertising/display prop. They build such for retail displays and theater/movie uses. The outside would have to be modestly good, not concourse and the frame would just have to hold the package together, not be ready to run down the street under power.

  15. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    46 to 49 Studebaker front fenders, 48 to 50 Packard Center grill [Jr series]. 51 Nash taillights. Front suspension/steering & engine/trans mount is Fiat Topolino [500] Rear axle & springs, as well as a small section of the chassis also appears to Topolino. Steering wheel may also be early 50s Studebaker.

    Wood support below inner right front fender vent appears to be pine plywood. J.C. Whitey wheel covers. Curving body openings on either side of dashboard appear to be flexible exhaust pipe, also sold by Whitney as “universal exhaust pipes”. Chances are good that the builder also used a J.C. Whitney rubber camshaft in the engine [fits all models]

  16. Ludditejohn

    This is best categorized as a leaverite.
    A leaverite is something you look at, but don’t take home. You leaver-her-right where you found her.

  17. kevin w

    Hmm, looks kinda like one of those state fair kiddy rides.

  18. Michael

    Steering Wheel is a Nash Rambler, minus the black horn button with the script “R” in the center.
    Speaking of Nash, the original Nash Metropolitan prototype, NXI or NKI, was based on a Fiat Topolino.

  19. Larry

    Keep the head light rims, bumpers, tail lights and steering wheel. Get a weight slip for the rest !!

  20. Dustin

    I wouldn’t like to be driving this head on against a big rig!

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