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Itty Bitty Roadster: 1949 Crosley Hotshot

Crosley Corp. (ala Crosley Motors) was an independent manufacturer of microcars in the 1940s and 1950s. The Hotshot was one of their products, a smaller roadster built for two that had no doors. One of its claims to fame was being the first production U.S.-built car with 4-wheel disc brakes. Located in Wyoming, Minnesota, this tiny auto has been in storage for more than 30 years and awaits restoration. It’s available here on Facebook Marketplace for $7,500 (recently dropped from $9,000). Thanks for the cool tip, NW Iowa!

The cars offered by Crosley might have succeeded in a different era. Crosley struggled to get a foothold in the auto business largely after World War II when there was pent-up demand for new cars. Everyone was flocking to all the shiny new Detroit iron and most buyers at the time had little interest in tiny cars that could run on tiny budgets. Crosley did try its hand at all sorts of vehicles, from sedans, pickups, convertibles, and even station wagons, their most popular. They also featured the first mass-market overhead camshaft engine in an affordable package,

Named the Hotshot, the little sports car was built from 1949 to 1952. Available for a whopping $849 brand new, the Hotshot weighed barely over 1,000 pounds, which meant its 26 hp engine could keep up with traffic (they supposedly could do 80 mph, but I’d be a bit nervous going that fast in such a small vehicle). They apparently were popular on racing short tracks.

We don’t know much about the seller’s Hotshot other than it’s been squirreled away for the past three decades. It’s said to be complete and has a clear title and may run with some help (the engine turns but does not start). The body seems okay from what we can tell, so new paint could do wonders to give this machine a reason to purr again. The seller is fielding offers, so perhaps $7,500 is not set in stone.


  1. sisuman Member

    And, a Crosley Hotshot won the first endurance race at Sebring in 1950! It was a 6 hour race back then, and a handicap scoring system was used to determine the winner.

    Like 10
  2. Little_Cars David Bassett Member

    Seller is dreaming on that price, whether $9k or $7500 asking. Gotta start somewhere I suppose. Cool little piece of history, though.

    Like 4
  3. Glenn Reynolds Member

    These are cute little cars (I had one) but they just don’t bring much money. A decent driver would go $7500. A Hotshot in this condition; maybe 2500 to 3000. In this case rare doesn’t equal $$

    Like 10
  4. Greg in Texas

    My dad took us to 24 Hours Of Sebring when we were kids. Met Mario Andretti and Unser and lots of famous drivers. Open pits area before and after the race you could mingle freely. The variety of cars so completely different from each other on the same track was just so interesting. The hairpin turns and fuel consumption rules gave about 80% of the cars a realistic chance of winning. The Gulf Can Am Porshes were very dominant but Alfa Romeo small displacement GT cars were very sporting and fun to watch, as was Lola and a variety of other makes. Still have the race programs I believe. One year we went and it had become 12 Hours. It lost something I can’t explain it. Then again 12 hours of pushing is long enough to see who is fast AND reliable. 24 hours left no doubts.

    Like 2
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      Sebring went to 12 hours while Daytona went to 24. Took a car to Sebring in ’73 and went to a couple of Daytona 24s. As you say, always something going on and things changing every minute. Now we had a Camero at Sebring. Don’t think we could have handled 12 hours in a Hot Shot. Enjoyed the Crosley I had as a kid though.

      Like 3
  5. Big C

    If Crosley would have introduced this car in the gas crisis ’70’s? The govt. agencies wouldn’t have let it off of the drawing board.

    Like 2
    • BigDaddyBonz

      Yep, kind of short on safety and comfort. At my age a trip to the end of my driveway and back would just about feed my need for a cruise.

      Like 3
  6. Mike

    That’s not a hood. I would call it more of hatch.

    Like 4
  7. Mark Ruggiero Member

    Spent the weekend at Sebring for the SRO show, no Hotshots running, but a Camaro won its class fwiw. Been at 12 hour regular now for 7 years, look for the CMS flag out by 13 and stop for a beer!

    Like 1
  8. Jamie

    A Hotshot might have won some races 80 years ago, but this one didn’t. I think the $7500 price is crazy. Car doesn’t run and needs a total restoration…I’m thinking $1,000 might be more realistic.

    Like 2
  9. Jim Liberty Member

    I’ve restored two, a Hotshot and a round fender pickup. I do it for fun at my shop. Don’t plan on braking even. The Hotshot has disc bakes, the first American to have them I believe. ………………..Jim.

    Like 2
  10. Jimmy Novak

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