Live Auctions

One of Four Made? 1952 Karu de Carrera

I hesitated taking this find on as a write-up as there’s very little information available (seemingly – at least when Googling with the name provided by the seller.) But it’s too intriguing to resist, and I’d love to know if any of our readers know mor about it than the internet seemingly does.  This is labeled as a 1952 Karu de Carrera, and the seller claims it’s one of four cars made for racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats. It’s listed here on craigslist near Westlake Village in California for $23,000.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader T.J. for the find. What really drew me into the listing were the photos of it from happier times, when it was evidently still being used around town like any other ratty driver. The side pipes were still attached, and those dog dish hubcaps were pretty sweet. The listing notes that the longtime owner passed away and seemingly left very little in the way of information about the car and its history, aside from a photo album that apparently documents the assembly process. If this car did race on the flats, does anyone recognize it?

The Ford mill has all the markings of being a real-deal Offenhauser flathead, but for those of you with more insights into these period hot-rod builds, please enlighten us if I’m incorrect. Reading the description, the seller isn’t deep on details, and it’s too bad there’s not a build sheet or other documentation that explains how the drivetrain was set up for top-speed runs on the flats. Of course, it could simply be a case of lightweight fiberglass car + V8 power = hold onto your butts, but I’m sure more thought went into it than that at the time it was first assembled.

Fiberglass cars usually have a different set of concerns than a conventional automobile, such as the condition of the gel coat, but it appears you’ll also need to make finding floors a priority as well. There’s no instrument cluster and I’m not optimistic about finding a transmission, either. That appears to be the remnants of a seat shell underneath a piece of insulation, but I suspect it’s going to be more straightforward to just build what you need from scratch. Have any of you ever heard of this kit car brand before?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Pretty rough looking car for the asking money. Without some history it isn’t worth much other than it’s unique, rare, and interesting. Haven’t seen a mechanical tach drive off of an early flathead distributor in years. Tried to find one for my ’32 5 window but no luck.

    Like 5
  2. Michael

    Not going to set any Land Speed Records with the standup windshield!🤔

    Like 3
  3. Rik

    The “piece of insulation” looks to be a trans tunnel…and that’s a MGA dash tucked under there…so many questions…

    Like 5
  4. Al

    I like the patina, I think it should stay where it is until more info is available.

    Like 6
  5. Blyndgesser

    This looks like a job for Geoff Hacker’s Forgotten Fiberglass.

    Like 5
  6. Tom

    The windshield has to be an add-on to make it street legal. I picture the driver on the Salt Flats with an old school helmet and goggles. That being said, this is a cool looking car and would be a fun project for “custom” finishing. (Reminds me a bit like a Cheetah). The asking price seems way too high for having no history or proof of prominence. Hope someone does know more about this rare find.

    Like 3
    • FOG

      The windshield has to go! Way too much money for this car’s condition.

  7. Bill

    Love these home built specials.
    I would try for more info or help researching history.

  8. Bullethead

    Intriguing, missed the photos of “happier times”? Cool period homebuilt sports car, but seriously doubt any Bonneville adventures.

    +1 Blyndgesser, definitely in Geoff’s wheelhouse.

    Like 1
  9. Steffi Foresster Finnagan

    There are one too many zero’s in the asking price.

    Like 1
  10. Lee

    Cartoon Car.

    Like 2
  11. Gerard Frederick

    With all the decent kit cars out there, this is a bad joke. By the looks of this pile of junk, it wasn´t very handsome when new. Only a masochist would buy this severe headache – for any price. How about a hundred bucks?

  12. Kim in Lanark

    Looks like a fiberglass kit car, of dozens of manufacturers. I’d say a couple gs at most for the rolling car sans engine. Experts on 50s hot rods can tell us what the engine is worth.

  13. George Birth

    This one ought to put a good size dent in your pocketbook before you could hope to drive it.

  14. Robt

    I’d be interested in the motor. But that’s about it.

  15. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Comparing this general body shape with other similar racing cars in the 1950s, I suspect this car’s body was created from molds dating to the late 1950s, not 1952. The front fenders appear to be supported by a framework of steel tubing, a system usually found in later cars. I also suspect this car was never really finished.

    As for the price, remember, P.T. Barnum was right, the suckers are out there!

    You can always start with a high price and come down, but it’s not terribly wise to start off with a price that discourages people from making a reasonable offer!

    And a general rule of thumb for Craigslist ads; If it’s been up for a week or longer without any calls or offers, then it’s either too expensive or no one wants it.

    Like 1
  16. Wonderin

    Isn’t there a trans bolted on that engine, seems like I see an 3spd O.D.

  17. kevin black

    To me it looks like a Jabro mkI. They were powered by a variety of engines. The most successful were Crosby powered.

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