No Tops, No Doors: Pair of Crosley Hotshots

Crosley was a small, independent manufacturer of subcompact cars, often called microcars. One of their more interesting products was the Hotshot, a doorless open roadster that was made from 1949-52. You could consider this the first post-war, American-made sportscar as it came out years ahead of the Chevy Corvette. Overall production was under 2,500 units, making them a rare sight then and now. The seller, located in Groveport, Ohio, has two of these little gems for sale. One was built in 1951 and the other in 1952. They are available separately here on Facebook Marketplace for $12,500 each.

Crosley Motors out of Cincinnati, Ohio was in the small car business from 1939 to 1952, with production on hiatus during World War II. The assembly numbers of any of their vehicles was never large by GM or Ford standards, but they featured several body styles, i.e. station wagons (their biggest seller), sedan, pickups, convertibles, a Jeep-like SUV and a sports car, the Hotshot. The doorless Hotshot was a little roadster that was built on a mostly-new dropped frame. Unusual for a car of this era, the Hotshot had disc brakes all around. The motor was mounted behind the front axle, giving it a frontal mid-engine layout. The car was light at under 1,100 lbs. and peppy with a 44 cubic inch straight-four engine that put out more than 26 hp. They were said to be able to travel more than 80 mph after going through the gears with its 3-speed manual transmission. So, they briefly made their mark in the racing world.

The seller has two Hotshots looking for a new home (or homes). They were made in successive years in the early 1950s before Crosley as a company ran out of gas. We’re told they’re both in decent condition, but there is no mention if either of them are runners. With the limited photos provided, we can’t identify anything that may be wrong with them, although the blue one looks a little sharper than the red one. We don’t know the mileage on either, but its likely they have both been restored at some point.

Given their limited production nearly 70 years ago, the Crosley Hotshots are scare and collectible today. Hagerty places a resale value on these microcars in excellent condition at around $20,000. Fair to good will run you $8-12,000. If the seller’s cars do in fact run and are as nice as they seem, it sounds like the seller very well knows the market for what he has.

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Comments

  1. Scott m

    Like the faired in headlights on the blue one, very racy!

    Like 2
  2. ROARRR

    The SOHC 750cc engines were often used in H modified racing class, they’d wind 8500 RPM.. ONE WON IT’S CLASS AT SEBRING straight off the parking lot, the driver found there wasn’t any need to shift down for the corners, just peddle to the floor it non stop.

    Like 4
  3. DETROIT LAND YACHT

    Do they come with the Shriners fez?

    Like 4
  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    The Sebring car didn’t have the brakes to slow down for corners anyway. Manual brake system was marginal at best. the ’49 we had required a lot of planning to get stopped where we wanted to. Still neat little cars and a lot of fun but you don’t want to do any spirited cornering in the sedans, station wagons, pickups, etc.

    Like 2
    • David Anspach

      The Sebring car had hydraulic brakes that were more than adequate for stopping the car.

      Like 1
  5. Little_Cars

    Wait. What? $12k+ EACH? EACH? Haven’t we seen the one with the front grille added before here on Barn Finds?

    $12k EACH?

    Like 2
  6. Little_Cars

    Trailer wheels on the aquamarine Hot Shot. Betcha those balanced out real nice. I do like the faired-in headlights like a Jag though.

    Like 1
  7. Ben T.Spanner

    Powell Crosley had an active mind. He invented the shelf in the refrigerator door; the shelve-a- door. In the late 1960’s i knew a guy ho drove a Hot Shot with a 4 speed Lancia gearbox. His other car was a 1957 Porsche speedster. My daily was a 1954 Porsche 356.

    Like 2
  8. Bob C.

    I don’t think I would want to do 80 in one of these. The look about as safe as a go cart.

    Like 2
  9. DavidL Member

    Not enough invormation, pictures, etc. Too much of a gamble even for $12.500. Do they even run? Roll? Turn over?

    Like 1
  10. Fernando Abruna

    More like $8.5K.

  11. Mike1955

    I live 1 1/2 hour away. Using willpower to not go look……..

    Like 1
  12. Bill McCoskey

    The grill on the turquoise car has been driving me crazy, as I’m sure I’ve seen it on another car a long time before. At first I thought Allard, but it’s not. I have to say that version with the fared in lights & grill was a wonderful improvement.

    Google “Crosley hotshot” and look at the images. I have a feeling that more than 1/4 of the total Crosley Hotshot production ended up getting some additional body re-works, both front & rear areas. One red version has the look of a Chrysler 300C or 300D, with tailfins higher than the windshield!

    Like 1
    • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

      Lea-Francis on the grille

      • Bill McCoskey

        Bob in Bexley,

        That was my second guess, however it’s not the Lea-Francis either, the sides are too curvy, and it doesn’t have the square emblem section in the top center area. I’m beginning to think this was simply a one-off piece by someone with good metal working skills.

  13. Steve

    Had a friend in college whose father liked Crosleys so much he named his son (my friend’s brother) Crosley.

    Like 1
  14. R.Scot

    I read something a few years back about the disc brakes on early Crosley models being susceptible to severe corrosion when exposed to road salt, and other elements? Don’t know for sure if it applies here with the Hotshots. Might be something for an interested buyer to look into.

    Like 1
  15. Beel

    Dad drove Crosley Hotshots and talked about them often. He’d have a cow at these prices.

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