Rare Brawny Bug: 1962 Crofton Bug

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

As we’ve learned several thousand times before, just because a vehicle is rare doesn’t automatically mean that it’s monetarily valuable. This may be one of those cases, but this 1962 Crofton Brawny Bug sure is unique, and rare.. and relatively valuable. It’s listed on eBay with an unmet opening bid of $3,500 and it’s located in, coincidentally, the Biggest Little City in the World – Reno, Nevada. Special thanks to Peter R for this tip!

This is the biggest little Crofton in the world, or one of the very, very few made with the Brawny kit. The seller estimates that around 50 were made. That package included bigger “flotation” tires which as you can see will need to be replaced along with quite a few other things on this Bug. The body of this brawny little beast appears to be in solid condition with some heavy surface rust to take care of before it gets past the point of no return. It will need work on some areas so be prepared to weld a bit. Luckily this isn’t exactly the most advanced curvy-wurvy design so you can leave your English wheel alone for this restoration. A more basic straight-edged body could hardly be conceived.  These are only rear-wheel drive, just think what could have been if it would have had 4WD?

Some of you Crosley buffs and scholars may have recognized the front end and overall look of the Crofton Bug as being similar to the Crosley Farm-o-Road. It’s more than similar, The Crofton Marine Engine, Co. snagged the rights to produce the Farm-o-Road after Crosley went out of business and had been absorbed by two or three other companies. They slightly lengthened the body for more brawn, giving it a full half-ton payload, believe it or not. This is one of around 200 Crofton Bugs made in total with a small percentage of those being Brawny Bugs. No, that didn’t include paper towels but you can see the big, puffy, cartoon-car-like tires. I half expected to see band-aids in an x-pattern on one of the tires.

It doesn’t get much more simple than this dash layout. If a person had a media-blaster they could probably get this Bug ready for paint in a couple of weekends. The seats will take just a bit of work.. ha, wow.  The Brawny package, in addition to the flotation tires, also included a “compound transmission” which turned the 3-speed into a 6-speed with two reverse gears, a Powr-Lok differential, and skid plates. That seems like it’s well worth the $1,800, including the $450 additional charge for the Brawny kit. Normally I would snap this Bug up but I’m way overloaded on projects – I know that I’ll regret not buying it. Being the oddball car lover that I am I would take this thing over a Ferrari any day of the week.

And, as for the engine.. yeah, about that. Here it is, lying on the ground, that’s rarely a good sign. At least it appears to be mostly complete and it would get rebuilt anyway. The seller doesn’t give much info on this Bug but they say that the mostly “complete engine stuck from sitting.” This engine would have been a 44 cubic-inch, 35 hp inline-four derived from Crosley engines. This will be most likely be a great project and a money-making project for someone. A restored Brawny Bug could easily sell for around $20,000, give or take. This one could be brought back to life by a talented or at least determined owner in a single-car garage due to its small size – 8′-8″ long and 4′ wide. Have any of you seen a Crofton Brawny Bug?

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Comments

  1. Gary

    Nice Rapier in the background.

  2. PatrickM

    I’m more interested in the orange Chevy pick up! A lot more practical, imo.

    • Derek

      I’m more interested in the dog on the yellow chair but that’s just me. Good looking dog.

  3. Rod Nicholas

    Is that a Hillman Minx convertible I see behind it?

    • kenzo

      As mentioned by Gary above it’s a Sunbeam Rapier. My wife is the original owner of a 67 Alpine and the taillight openings are the same.

  4. slickb

    Ill take the El Camino or that 70-72 GTO

  5. Richard

    Folks are using cute dogs more and more in ads lately.

  6. Derek

    You know those things you wear on your feet in the snow that look like tennis rackets? Well, every time I try to say that word on this website, my comment does not appear. Why is that? try it yourself, you’ll see.

    • grant

      You are right! I had to try and it’s got nothing to do with cars, but can Josh or Jesse tell us what’s up with that?

      • Derek

        Yeah, I know. All I was trying to do was comment on how far apart the pedals are and wonder if maybe it was for driving with (you know whats) on.

    • Clinton

      You mean sn0wsh0es?

      Worked for me lol

  7. BarnfindyCollins

    Hey Gary, I noticed the same thing; couldn’t decide between ’58/59 Hillman Minx or Sunbeam Rapier. I’m guessing Minx. On the little red buggy- never seen one. We’re getting educated for sure. That’s what I love about this site. The weird and the wonderful!!!

  8. DavidLMM

    We’ve got both a Bug and a Farm-O-Road here at Lane. Here’s the page on the Bug.
    https://www.lanemotormuseum.org/collection/cars/item/crofton-bug-1962

    • kenzo

      Really “50 MPH” according to your write up.
      Ever tried it? Sounds really scary..

      • Steve M.

        I’ve done 45 mph in my BrawnyBug. But it has a 6.13 rear axle. Regular Bug had a 5.17.

      • Jorn Jensen

        I’ve had my regular bug to 55mph, but it has a Datsun B210 80 HP ‘stroker’ and automatic. With 5.17 rear, it was screaming – need a tach. I routinely drive it at 45 mph around the area.

    • tommy

      David I’ve read about your museum and seen cars from it a few times. Thanks for saving all those small unique cars! especially the one with propellers!!
      Tommy

    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks for the link, DavidLMM. The Lane is by far my favorite museum of any type on the planet, I’ve been there several times.

  9. Beatnik Bedouin

    I’ll be the odd man out (which is the usual case) and say that I’d be interested in the Brawny Bug, but at around a third of the opening bid – max. Heck, I could even make room in one of my sheds for it, by shifting my stack of saw horses and lawn mower (cheeky grin)!

    Thanks, Scotty, for posting something I’m not familiar with…

    I think the Rootes convertible in the background is a Hillman Minx for those who are interested in knowing.

  10. half cab

    “Look a carnival ride daddy”

  11. C5 Corvette

    Cute…….do you think shipping by Fed Ex or UPS could happen?

  12. Derek

    Gee, I wonder how many clowns could fit in that.

  13. Gene Parmesan

    Old Crosley radios are mostly handsome pieces, but I swear, Crosley never made a vehicle that wasn’t horrible-looking. That being said, I do love them for their inherent weirdness.

  14. David Miraglia

    Kiddie truck

  15. Steve M.

    I might be the odder man out. I own a ’63 Crofton BrawnyBug. Fun little car, but I would strongly recommend to the future purchaser to not attempt highway driving with the high flotation tires. Those are simply re-purposed tractor front tires. I keep the Crofton registry, out of the 225 to 250 made, over 90 example still survive. Half of those are BrawnyBugs.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks for your work with and dedication to the Crofton Bug, and for the insider info, Steve!

    • Kevin

      I am now the proud owner of this Brawny Bug and it came home to San Diego.
      It is surprisingly intact.
      The speedometer shows 12,639 miles and although there is pitting on the floor, there is no rust through, not even close.
      The Serial # is 1054 and the motor number is matching at 200919 and has the Crofton tag on the motor.

      1
  16. Ken Nelson

    I’m in favor of that being a Hillman Minx convertible, as I have one – with the oddest trans ever built – an electric 3 spd automatic with dual co-axial electromagnetic powder clutches – how’s that for a mouthfull? Seems the magnetic powder clutches were invented by the Eaton Corp. of Detroit – for forklifts. Evidently a powder clutch gradually magnetized so the powder all stuck together would never chatter like a standard clutch, and guess I’d prefer to have a clatter-free clutch if I was driving a forklift a lot!
    All those Hillmans of about ’59 and later had rear ends looking just like the 58 Chevy in American Graffiti, driven by Ron Howard. Sure looks like Hillman copied them.

  17. leiniedude Member

    I bet that windshield wiper comes in handy!

    • Steve M.

      That right-side windshield wiper on the Bug requires that you be very handy. Someone once explained that it was a 3 speed wiper. Slow, Fast, and Nervous Twitch. Of course with no top, windshield wipers are kind of moot point.

  18. glen

    snowshoe

  19. Alan Robbins

    There was one of these at the Ron Hackenburger auction in Ohio last summer. It was a little more complete, but not much more so, motor was in the back in pieces. It went for a crazy price.

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