Solid Interest: 1950 Crosley Devin

With a body by Devin Enterprises draped over a 1950 Crosley chassis and running gear, this 1950 Crosley Devin is an interesting looking car. It is a lightweight little vehicle that seems to promise the next owner plenty of enjoyable motoring. Located in Gilbertville, Massachusetts, this is a car that has generated plenty of interest since it was listed for sale here on eBay. Solid bidding has pushed the price along to $3,800, but the reserve hasn’t been met. Interestingly, there are currently 132 people who are watching the little Crosley’s listing.

Devin Enterprises was a company that was renowned for the production of automotive accessories and complete cars before fiberglass car bodies became their core business. The molds that they utilized were quite ingenious in design, being comprised of 50 different pieces that could be fitted together in different configurations to produce a total of 27 different and distinct one-piece bodies. The smallest of these was fitted to the Crosley, which is what we have here. The styling is extremely attractive and has hints of design features from a number of different sports car manufacturers of the era. This particular car appears to be in good condition, with no obvious signs of cracking or fatigue in the fiberglass. The yellow paint looks shiny and consistent, while there are no obvious signs of rust in the floors or frame.

Apart from the carpet on the floor, the interior of the Crosley looks like it was designed with a sense of purpose as a competition vehicle, and that was the most common use for cars like this. There is little in the way of upholstery, but what there is appears to be in really nice condition. The lightweight, body-hugging seats look like they would be quite comfortable, while a 4-point harness ensures that the driver should be held firmly in place during hard cornering. Their passenger will need to make their own arrangements at those times, but the handle on the dash might provide some assistance. The painted dash is neat and simple, with a good collection of gauges to monitor speed and engine health. Weather protection? Forget it. The Crosley doesn’t feature either a top or windshield, so it definitely isn’t a car that is designed for use in inclement weather conditions.

Powering the Crosley Devin is a 724cc 4-cylinder Crosley “AeroJet” engine and 3-speed manual transmission. In standard form, this little engine could produce 26.5hp. However, I suspect that this one might not be 100% original, and the twin Tillotson carburetors and exhaust headers certainly hint at performance improvements. The owner says that the engine is strong, but that the clutch and brakes will need some work. The car has recently been fitted with new tires on the Austin-Healey wheels, while the electrical system has been updated to 12-volts.

With both Crosley and Devin Enterprises being but distant automotive memories, cars like this 1950 model are not a common sight. This one is a nice little car that looks like it will need only minor work before it is ready to hit the road once again. It is a car that has sparked plenty of interest since it was offered for sale, and I suspect that one drive of this little classic would put a smile on your face that would be pretty hard to wipe off.

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Comments

  1. Rovinman

    Looks as if it is riding a little high – Off-roading perhaps ? ? lol

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  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Body looks high to me also. So part of the question is why there is so much copper under the hood, was that planned?
    Could be a fun toy to wheel around the track.

  3. bobhess Member

    The copper tells you that proper shaped hoses aren’t available. Done that many times but usually paint the copper black. Those are early Sprite/Midget seats. Very light and comfortable. Don’t remember horse power numbers but have seen 10,000 rpm capable engines in race cars.

    4
  4. Christopher A. Junker

    Rebuilt to lower the body and this could really be fun. I’m looking at the seat backs which show enough room to lower the body over the frame and clear the seatbacks. It should have a 4 spd and if you are lucky, the chassis may even have Crosley disc brakes. I also hope this is the cast iron block engine, not the brazed copper sheet metal one. Even modestly modified, 60 hp is possible and usable on the street. I’m curious on what it weighs, hopefully under 1000 lbs. A Crosley Hotshot with this engine won the first Sebring on Index.

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    • Randy

      If it is truly an Aerojet engine then it is a later ‘marinized’ engine. They were produced in the very early ’60’s intended for use in a boat. Came as an integrated V-drive/gearbox/rudder/prop assembly — I bought one new in the early ’60’s. All cast iron block. The brazed sheet metal blocks did not last long, and Crosley replaced them in their cars free under warantee early on in their production.

  5. Brakeservo

    Looks like a recent build to me. I suspect there is no “history.”

    1
  6. allentires@att.net

    Funny how the “grass green” upholstery matches the lawn.
    My Dad was in the process of building a Devin in the late 50s and early 60s. But due to job and residential change he lost his garage. (Henry J frame with V8 Oldsmobile power) the chassis was assembled and waiting for the body. I was quite young “then” but never knew what he really had in mind until I found the original Devin sales packet in his personal effects after his death. We eventually restored a couple of Corvettes. He kept one as a daily driver for several years.

    3
  7. Christopher A. Junker

    In the early 50’s Italian sports car and engine builder Bandini sold several of their 750 cc cycle fender sports cars for SCCA class racing. The SCCA outlawed cycle fender cars for competition and several Reutter Bandini Crosley cars were made and re-engined with modified Crosleys. Bandini is reputed to have also designed a DOHC head for the Crosley. I’m curious if there are any Italian parts on the chassis or if it is a true Crosley chassis and engine.

  8. Billieg

    My Harley has more than twice the HP and only weighs 800 LBs…. This won’t get out of its own way.

  9. bobhess Member

    Randy… My’49 station wagon came with the the cast iron block. Body was used as a chicken coupe so we found a ’48 sedan body to put on it to solve the stench problem. Neat little cars but slow with stock engines. Last contact with a Devin body was on a Fiat chassis with a 4 cylinder Mercury outboard engine. Do the math… it was fast!

  10. ccrvtt

    I always admired the lines on Devin’s bodies. Great sense of proportion. I just read Bill Devin’s wiki page – I highly recommend it. Like John Fitch, a real pioneer.

  11. James HGF

    This ‘project’ per the seller appears to be an ‘Italianette’ driver not a race car. The ‘Aerojet’ engine should provide plenty of get up and go compared to an original Hot Shot. Photo # 3 on eBay listing just barely shows the coil spring torque tube rear suspension and the single flat leaf that functions as a radius ‘rod’ for the 1950 Hot Shot frame.

    Seller doesn’t mention adapting a 4 speed Fiat, Morris Minor, MG, etc. gearbox thus probably the standard 3 speed with stock 5.17 rear axle ratio. The 145 x 13 tires give it a higher effective ratio than the original 4.50 x 12. My guess is around 4.7 which would bump top speed (@ 7000 rpm) to around 90 mph. Not too shabby.

    The body does have an anomaly on the left side that may be the result of repair or glassing in a door opening. The seats can’t be lowered without a custom frame. Stock frame is narrow with no space between side rail and torque tube for a seat. The green Sprite seats look good and appear to be adjustable – see lever (photo #4).

    A lower panel added to the body might disguise (hide) the chassis height and filling in the wheel openings as on the 1958 Jones – De Camp Devin Crosley HM might (??) eliminate the tiny wheel look. Interesting project with lots of potential depending on one’s skills, time, and that old bugaboo, money.

    Six grand now and the reserve is…

    1
  12. ChasH

    The engine in this car is indeed cast iron. As the cylinder block and head are cast in one piece I gotta doubt a replacement head was offered. These little bombs had an aluminum crankcase with 5 main bearings and a shaft/bevel gear drive for the overhead cam.

  13. James HGF

    Sold for $6,600 this morning. Would be interesting to know how the new owner will complete/modify this project Devin.

    Mention of Bill Devin by ccrvt reminded me to post link to Devin Special page which is filled to the brim with photos, old articles, and adverts:

    https://www.devinspecial.com

    Check out the old add data in yellow that lists body sizes. One would have to have length and width (front & rear) to determine which body this special has.

    Excellent article on the 1950 Crosley Sebring win @ crosleyautoclub dot com/Sebring/Sebring.html —– I used data from Racing Sports Cars 1950 race results to determine winning Crosley averaged 53 mph while 2nd place Ferrari 166 averaged 63 mph for the six hours. Love the image of the Crosley drivers using their upper body as an air brake in competition.

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