Live Auctions

UPDATE! Can You ID This Small 1948 Roadster?

UPDATE – When we posted this mystery roadster, we had no idea what the response would be like. Well, it turned out to be one of the most interesting comment threads we’ve had in a while. Some of you posted downright hilarious comments, others pinpointed the exact origin of specific parts, and the new owner Fred T even got on and shared additional photos that the seller sent him! It’s a worthwhile read while we wait for Fred to send us photos of it once it arrives. Our thanks to Fred and all of you that shared your internet sleuthing skills!

FROM 8/3/2021 – Here on Barn Finds we have our fair share of Corvettes and Mustangs and Chargers. Stuff that everybody knows and loves and has plenty of resources available for sourcing parts and knowledge. Occasionally we get some weird stuff to show you. This is one of those times. This listing for a 1948…something…can be found here on eBay. If you know what it is, let us know! I’m sure the seller and the future owner would appreciate the knowledge, too.

Since we don’t really know what it is, we can only speculate on relative reliability and brand heritage. The seller includes no images of the engine or undercarriage, which, I like to think, would have helped immensely. They do mention that there’s “a letter C over a letter L” marked on the four-cylinder engine head. Which…doesn’t really narrow it down much.

The inside is actually the best bet, I think, we have as viewers to guess what kind of car it is. There’s a bench seat, with room enough for two people. The steering wheel clearly has a brand listed, but it’s difficult to make out. I’m guessing it says “Williams,” and there was, indeed, a brand operating under that name in the United States, but they were primarily an engine manufacturer, from what I can gather. They were also active nearly a decade later.

Overall, the condition of the car looks average. It’s not showroom fresh, but not a derelict wreck, either, so you’ll get a good project on your hands, should you decide to take this on. It might even be a self-made project car for all we know, but the craftsmanship is excellent if it is. I’ve been scouring the depths of the internet to try and find a similar microcar, since this does appear to be shockingly small for a postwar (presumably) American car. Far and away, the most successful American maker of small convertibles was King Midget, but this architecture looks more like a shrunken down contemporary Buick than that. Seldom do I want to use my computer screen as a portal to what I’m viewing, but I want to believe so much that if I could just look at this with my own two eyes, I could figure it out. I love the weird stuff and the weird stuff that I am unfamiliar with so much more. What do you think, dear reader? Do you know what this is?


  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    “Williams” was also an arcade manufacturer – at least for pinballs – maybe they built this for fun?

    Like 8
    • Steve Clinton

      The first thing I thought of was this looks like it could have been the bumper car at the carnival that I rode in as a boy.

      Like 13
  2. CJinSD

    Does it have Crosley mechanicals? The listing makes identification pretty difficult. It has a ‘flathead six’ with four cylinders. It runs, but doesn’t have a drivetrain installed. C over L is the only marking on the engine?

    Like 14
  3. Will Fox

    I wonder if the engine in this is a CROSLEY? The body looks hand-fabricated, and the lines say “Buick” to me. The rear skirts look to be riveted on; not a real wise choice if so. The guage cluster looks like a GM item too…not fully sure. BUT…it looks big enough to be somewhat comfy for two, and shows quite a bit of craftsmanship given what it is. The grill/headlamps could be scavenged from just about anything of that period. I’ll be inetrested in hearing who made this, and how many were made. This may be the only one.

    Like 12
    • Lord_KROK

      I think too, this is Crosley

  4. Driveinstile Member

    This is just a wild guess here. But could it be an engine made by Continental? They made 4 cylinder engines back then.

    Like 11
    • Dave

      “C” over “L” was commonly used on blueprints to denote “centerline” and was often found on old castings as a guide for the machine shop.

      Like 12
  5. Robert

    The steering wheel is definitely a Crossley

    Like 4
    • Paolo

      The steering wheel is not Crosley. Crosley wheels are flat, three spoked and black with a tiny black horn button. Very industrial, it would look at home on a forklift.

      Like 7
  6. Brian Barnes

    That front grill looks like a cut down Cord.

    Like 1
  7. Will Irby

    The front end styling reminds me of a Morris Minor. Could this be a Morris Mini?

    Like 4
  8. George

    Might it be a creation by Ernie Adams? He was known for making scaled down Dwarf Cars.

    Like 3
    • Barney

      Not an Adams car. I know him and his cars well. Actually he would have done a better job. All of his cars are Datsun or Toyota powered also

      Like 1
  9. thomas curley

    Might be an American Bantam. Modeled after an Austin 8.

    Like 11
    • William

      I think it started life as a 48ish Austin

      Like 3
    • Lance Conkright

      My first thoughts were Bantam. Something in my old brain is telling me this.

      Like 6
  10. johnc

    my first thought was …Morris Minor

    Like 2
  11. Rodney - GSM

    This is a fun little car and appears to be street legal. No idea what the car is but the guy standing next to it is a “1948 Joe”
    One of one.

    Like 1
  12. Mike

    It’s got to be hand built. No trunk lid and the weird step in the hood. The seller doesn’t seem helpful with pics or the description. Motor pics? What’s the badge on the front of the hood? The 4 lug wheels might be a clue as well as the instrument panel (borrowed from somewhere). If it is a late 40’s built car, then I don’t think the builder would use something new at the time to start with. Maybe a 1939-41 Bantam? I’m seeing pics of them with 4 lug wheels. We need answers folks. I’m going to ask for more pics.

    Like 9
  13. Rennsport13

    The steering wheel looks near identical to that of our 40’ Buick.

    Like 3
  14. Terrry

    “Hello, Bob’s Auto Parts? Yes, I’d like to see if you have a water pump for a 1948…something”..”hold on a sec,..yes we do, right here on the shelf”.

    Like 4
    • Ike Onick

      “New Old Stock.” My favorite car term of all time.

      Like 6
    • BrianT Brian Member

      “Is this two or four wheel drive? Does it have AC? ” Haha

  15. Dennis gilmore

    Please get to the bottom of this! I can be of no use. Except the steering wheel looks familiar. WHAT IS IT???

    Like 1
  16. jerry z

    It would have been a smart move to take the max amount of pics on fleabay to get someone a better chance to identify the vehicle.

    Like 3
  17. A.G.

    This car resembles a late 40s Austin from the side. The hood ornament and crest don’t match though.

    Like 5
    • Phil Parmelee

      Austin A40 was my first guess as well.

      • Raymond B Clark

        Not an A40 I had one of those as my 1st car and am very familiar with the mechanicals

  18. Paolo

    I’m pretty sure that this little delight started out as a prewar Crosley. I say prewar because all of the styling cues are based on 1940-1942ish American cars. Some folks pointed out the Buick influence. It definitely has GM cues. I also detect some 1941 Oldsmobile in the front end. The bulbous fenders , placement of the lights and the cut-down bumper in particular. I can’t place the instrument panel and steering wheel but they look very familiar. That hood ornament is familiar too. Sort of like a Buick gun sight. Studebaker? Kaiser? The hood ornament could have been added at any time.
    I say Crosley because it seems to be about the same wheel base. The wheels sort of threw me because they are chromed and didn’t seem appropriate for the early 1940s era. Looking closer I realized they are chromed versions of the regular 4-lug Crosley wheels with neat custom dust covers.
    Whoever did this had some excellent design skills. Keeping the sense of proportioning correct is complicated when scaling down something like a full size car. Because it isn’t a replica of a particular car the creator had the artistic freedom to pick and choose what he wanted and it works. It isn’t a clown car. It looks like what was being built in Detroit at the time. Curious what the body work weighs.
    That makes me wonder what would have happened to Crosley sales in 1940-41-42 if they looked like this instead of what they are. Crosley was selling more than one idea with his cars. Small cars are one thing. Small cars that look weird are quite another. I think that proved to be too much for car buyers to accept at once.
    This car should have an interesting back story. Somebody out there knows. And maybe he knows a guy who knows a guy that knows something.
    The Kustomrama website will be interested in this. Spread the word fellas.

    Like 13
  19. Jerry Rude

    Looks “Lincoln’ to me……

    Like 3
  20. Paolo

    And what is City Parcel? Was this car used to deliver Western Union telegrams? Has anyone called Main 4331?
    I said: “Has anyone called Main 4331?”

    “Hello operator, give me Main 4331! Of course I’ll hold. Another nickel? All I have are dimes. Hold on, okay put me through. Hello? Is this the party to whom I am speaking? What is your name sir? Johnson? Are you sure? Never mind that. Tell me something, Johnson…is your refrigerator running? Yes, I’ll hold……… is? Well don’t just stand there palavering at me, chase after it before it gets away! Yes? I’ll hold. You’re welcome. Not at all. No I won’t hang up. I’ll wait till you get back. That’s quite alright…….What a nice fellow he is……………………………..
    Hello? Is that you Johnson? Well, just how far did you go? I see. uh-huh, all that way. And no refrigerator. How do you like that? It was where? The kitchen? Your kitchen? Alright Johnson you don’t have to yell about it! It probably circled back after giving you the slip. These new refrigerators are a lot smarter and craftier than your old timey iceboxes. You’ve got to keep your eye on them. You never know what sort of deviltry they are dreaming up. Sleep with one eye open Johnson. Do you promise? DO YOU PROMISE JOHNSON? DO YOU PROMISE?…. Alrighty then, I have to go now. Well thank you. No really, thank you, that’s very nice, you take care now. I will too, thank you. No, thank you. Okay, gotta’ go now, bye-bye. Nice feller, about as sharp as a bowling ball, if you know what I mean.”

    Like 17
    • Dave

      Ah, life before caller ID and the yucks we had with a pay phone on a Saturday night.

      Like 6
  21. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    “It runs but the motor is out ” How funky is that ?

    Like 9
  22. Big Time Charlie

    Front bumper, grille, and steering wheel look to be from ‘41 Cadillac.

  23. John Walsh

    Has anyone thought of the lines of an Austin Summerset or or Austin Devon. Maybe a smattering of the Cyclops model. Just a thought as the dash looks to have very similar lines, as does the steering wheel.

    Like 2
  24. davetanman

    I get great pleasure from looking at your ‘Barnfinds’ every night ,downunder in Australia so Thankyou All The first thing I thought of when I saw the pic was “SKODA”. Having read the comments I agree it looks too American and a bit flash to be a Skoda.I remember back in the late 40’s or early 50’s,friends of my parents bought a new Skoda, green and I believe it was a a bit quirky, a 4 door sedan but without a centre pillar between the doors.Very vague recollections, however, if there is $10 grand in it for the correct answer I’ll stick with Skoda for my answer.

    Like 4
    • wizzy

      I agree. Skoda, circa 1940 ish. Excepting cut down front bumper which definitely looks like Olds / Cadillac, etc. of the period.

  25. Tom71mustangs Member

    Let me clear up this “mystery” once and for all for all of you speculating…. It’s a…. I have no idea.

    Like 3
  26. bobhess bobhess Member

    3 things: One, I don’t know what is is either. Two, Crosley engines were overhead valve. Three, taillights are British (old Jags, Morris Minors, Healeys, etc.).

    Like 1
    • Dave at OldSchool Restorations Dave Perry OldSchool Restorations Alabama Member

      Hi @bobhess Been a while. Glad to see you are still kickin’ it.

      Crosley is an Overhead Cam engine… not OHV

      Dave Perry

  27. Jim Thomason

    Paolo, you should go on tour with that routine!! I don’t care what it is, but sure enjoyed the comments

    Like 2
  28. Ricardo ventura


    Like 1
  29. Bob

    The general rule of thumb is that if you don’t know what it is, it’s a Fiat, but in this case, that may not apply.

    Like 3
    • Peter


  30. Rick Member

    It looks as though someone left the Continental outside in the rain and it shrank.

    Like 1
  31. Nick

    There is a person in the southwest that has built a number of miniature cars. They have been featured on Dennis Gages’ My Classic Car I believe.

    • wizzy

      Yes, I’ve visited the garage in Albuquerque where three of them are stored, but this car is not one of them nor is it built by that person. Hemmings has a good older article on those cars BTW.

  32. Newt

    The Lane Motor Museum will have half a dozen of them.

    Like 7
  33. GH

    To be sincerely honest, and in my humble opinion, without being sentimental, and of course, without wanting to offending anyone who may think differently from my own opinion, but seriously looking into this matter, with perspective distinction and without wanting to condemn anyone’s point of view, I honestly think and believe that I have nothing to say.

    Like 25
    • Majik

      ~ I’m sure you offended SOMEONE.

      Like 11
  34. LarryS

    1951 Inelegante.

    Like 2
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


      It’s a Bentley “Incontinental”, with the wrong grill.

      Like 1
      • Paolo

        Pretty sure it’s a Rolls Canardley. They are basically the same car, just different radiator caps

        Like 3
  35. Erik

    Looks like something created using a VW Beetle pan and a mishmash of other car body parts.

  36. Dennis

    I think the Skoda guess is on the money. It appears to be a Skoda Tudor.

    Like 2
  37. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Judging by the little wings on the front And then searching for cars with that emblem I think it’s a Hyundai.

    Like 1
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      John, please be specific. It surely must be a Hyundai LE – Limited Edition.

      Like 2
  38. Lance

    Why does Elmer Fudd come to mind???

    Like 9
  39. Gary Rhodes

    Looks like a Ford banjo steering wheel to me. With the way the side of the hood has that weird piece that comes up from the fender I would say it was a nicely built homemade car. I’d like to have it to putt around town in

    Like 2
  40. Rick Member

    Interesting engine configuration. According to eBay, it is a 4 cylinder flathead 6.

    Like 3
  41. Randolph Dull

    Following (for reasons unknown to even me…)

    Like 4
  42. Howie Mueler

    So how do they know it is a 1948? Maybe a large group of clowns would know.

    Like 6
    • MikeH

      He got it from the title. No wait, if he had a title he would know what it was.

      Like 2
  43. Bruce Skinner

    About 50 years ago I owned a 2952 Sunbeam Talbot.
    While the grill, hood and the dashboard are different, the body shape, and steering wheel reminds me of my Sunbeam.

    Like 1
  44. Bob L Member

    I think it has alot of Crosley in it…crest on the front of the hood and shape of the hood.

    Like 2
  45. t-bone BOB

    Located in:
    Danville, Washington

  46. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Oh wait, it’s an early version of Columbo’s Peugeot.
    Gif bless America

    Like 3
  47. Mike

    When I saw it was in WA, I thought road trip! But then I looked up Danville and it’s way up by the Canadian border between Seattle & Spokane. Too Far. Contacted the seller and haven’t heard back. Looks like we will get answers when the new owner comes forward with more detail. Still RNM at $3k though.

    Let’s keep this comment section going. Now I really need to know!

    Like 3
  48. Mayhem

    Reminds me of a Playboy or a Bobbi-Kar. But, it is not.

  49. rob lane

    That is a 1948 Buick hood ornament for sure.

    Like 3
  50. Chris Munn

    Noddy and Bigears drove on in Enid Blighton’s books…parp parp.
    Kind of like an Austin A40 convertible

  51. Richard Kirschenbaum

    Whoever the genius was that built this must be looking down on us and laughing himself sick. Whoever you are kudos to you! Well done my friend, well done!

    Like 6
  52. wudy

    well , i looked at the add on e-bay,, something not quite right ,, e-bay says it has a flat head six motor,, but ebay listing has the specks as a 4 cylinder engine… cant think that would work well…

    Like 2
  53. moosie moosie

    I believe it’s a 1 of none 1947 Henway. Quite rare, how many others have you seen ? Peace out, Smile & be Kind !

    Like 4
    • Will Irby

      Henway? What’s a…never mind.

      Like 4
      • moosie moosie

        Sorry Will Irby , I just had to do it.

        Like 2
    • Will Irby

      At least I played along, instead of spoiling it usual “What’s that?” or “What is a henway?”

      Like 1
      • JagManBill

        about 3 pounds…

      • Chuck Simons

        Average weight 6-10 lbs

      • Dwcisme

        I thought it was a Kenworth.

        “What’s a Kenworth?”
        “$10.95, same as a Barbie.”

        Like 1
  54. Lou Rugani

    City Parcel was at W 407 2nd Avenue in Spokane, Washington.

    Like 6
    • Paolo

      Thank you Lou. Do you know anything more? I’m thinking that City Parcel could be revived as a viable business. This looks to be the vehicle perfectly suited for home delivery of parcels of Marijuana from the local dispensaries.
      Imagine the the customers reaction when they see this happy little car arrive with the goods.
      This car was very possibly conceived within a cloud of pot smoke. I’m pretty sure they used to grow lots of hemp in eastern Washington.

      Like 5
  55. Stu Neilson

    A close up of the sticker on the windshield would tell a great deal about this car, even if it didn’t contain make / model, at least it would give a hint as to location or use

    Like 1
    • Araknid78

      Zooming in on the sticker and reversing the image you can see that it say Washington with 1948 underneath. But, I can’t make out what the bottom row says

      Like 2
      • Araknid78

        well shoot. That didn’t work how about this

        Like 1
  56. Chris Becker

    Is it from Arizona?
    There’s a guy who makes dwarf cars out in Arizona.
    Look up dwarf cars and dwarf car racing


    He the way by witch the car came to him, DO YOU THINK THAT MAY HELP to ID a little? Why are there no photos of the engine/chassis. My guess this is a custom jst by the odd shaping around the rear of the hood, otherwise stumped!!

    Like 1
  58. Paolo

    FWIW I sent the seller a message yesterday through ebay with a few questions. No answer yet.

    Like 3
  59. Mike

    Got a message back from the seller. No comments about the questions I had about more pics and what was used as a base. He did say that the badge on the hood might be from a Buick. Hope it sells so we can get answers from the new (and hopefully more helpful) buyer.

    Like 1
  60. Kenn

    If there is no title or registration, how was it determined to be a 1948? And if there is one or the other, wouldn’t the make be on it?

    • Robert Deull

      Speedometer is MG TD

  61. Rick Member

    Someone suggested that it might be a Morris Minor. I feel that it is closer to being a Minus Mourner.

    Like 5
  62. Dave in VA

    The sticker says Washington 1948. The name on the horn button ends with a Y…

  63. George Birth

    I have seen a few Morris Minors in the past and the interior of this one is a very close match.

    Like 1
  64. martinsane

    Its very cool and looks and reminds me alot of the old Disney short and “Susie the little blue coupe”

    Like 2
  65. Glenn Reynolds Member

    Probably not English- left hand drive. Don’t see anything suggesting Crosley. Hood ornament looks Buick. Overall style, American. No windshield wipers.
    Still have no clue.

    Like 2
  66. John Iozza

    Hello. Can you please let me know the location of the car. And the phone number of someone to speak to about the midget car in Danville Washington. Thank You. John Iozza Boston 978 930 1782

  67. Mike

    Looks like my post didn’t get through last night, so I’ll post it again:

    Got a message back from the seller. No comments about the questions I had about more pics and what was used as a base. He did say that the badge on the hood might be from a Buick. Hope it sells so we can get answers from the new (and hopefully more helpful) buyer.

    Like 3
    • MikeH

      Does he have a title?

      • t-bone.bob

        The seller says in the eBay listing that he does not have a title

        Like 1
  68. Bob

    The more I look at it, the more it looks like an amusement park ride.

    Like 1
  69. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Japanese Buick
    God bless America

    Like 2
  70. willy boy

    it doesnt look like it has windows, no cranks or inside door handles. just two home-made wind deflectors. one plastic and one tin(?). hood ornament looks like the pontiac chieftan inside an olds circle minus the rocket.
    maybe the car was designed by a committee; with each designing a separate part with no info as to what others were doing.
    have engineer brother thats not sure of which end of screwdrive to use.

    Like 1
  71. Kurtis Erikson

    The hood ornament looks like a Buick hood ornament from that era. I suspect this is a Buick that was modified or cut down. The lines are very similar to Buicks from 1948

  72. ruxvette

    Problem solved on the flathead 6 vs 4 cylinder dilemma:
    During a drag race with a Cushman scooter the huge exhaust pipe allowed 2 cylinders to blow right on out. Lost the raccoon tail hangin off the antenna, too. Well, actually, the whole antenna blew off. Musta been doin close to 30!!!
    The thrill of it all.

    Like 2
  73. Richard Williams

    At first glance I thought the grill was the older Nash, maybe in the 40’s. The body looks like Buick as well as the steering wheel. As for Crosley I don’t see anything Crosley. Might be underneath. Crosley had 4 lug bolt wheels. They say it runs, doh with out any guts? Pretty neat. Crosley’s after 46 had 4 cyl. over head cam engines. Trans and rear-end set up were like the old Fords. So my take is a home made job. You think?

  74. Lou Rugani

    The horn button on the banjo wheel has script that I’m unable to decipher. Pity there aren’t more photos. A beautiful car if it’s restored.

    Like 1
  75. t-bone bob

    Well, the area code for eastern Washington is 509 and back in the old days phone numbers took the first two digits of the prefix from the word (MAin=62


    So, I found three combinations that came up as active phone numbers

    Like 1
    • Slow & Relaxed

      There were no Area Codes until 1953.

      Like 1
      • t-bone BOB

        True. But they do now. I was trying to come up with combinations of numbers for a phone number that might still be active

  76. Dennis

    I see it is a Carson top with no visible means of attaching at the rear deck. I guess it just sits on the body.

    Like 2
  77. Dennis

    I found City Parcel Delivery. It was operated by Orville A Johnson at 169 S McClellan in Spokane according to a 1948 ad. Phone number was Main 4331.

    Like 5
    • Paolo

      How weird. A couple days ago I posted some fiction here about making a prank phone call to Main 4331 where I reached a guy named Johnson.
      And now I learn that number belonged to an Orville Johnson.
      A little spooky.

      Like 8
  78. Mike

    I was thinking it might have been some kind of promotional vehicle since it doesn’t have much room for any parcels. Bidding is now at $3,250 with almost 2 days to go.

    Like 1
  79. Chris Munn

    It’s kinda like a box of chocolates

    Like 1
  80. Mike

    Anybody hanging in there till the end? Just a day to go and still RNM at $4,250

    Like 2
  81. David Croydon

    Definitly a Jawett Javelin, British. Never seen a convertable version. Back end might be a one off.Spats certainly look home made.

    Like 2
    • Simon Lucas

      It is not a Jowett Javelin. The convertible model by Jowett was a Jupiter.

  82. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    OK, now that everyone else has chimed in on what this might be, here’s my 2 cents:

    1. It began life as a former 10 cent kiddie ride, the type you found outside a store or shopping center in the 1950s or 1960s. You know the type of ride, the car would move forward and back for a couple of minutes on that dime.

    As the body became rather dated, and the ride mechanicals probably wore out, some guy decided to add mechanicals, dashboard, a drive train, as well as a removable top, but he never finished the car.

    So it ended up sold to the parcel delivery company as a promotional piece.

    2. It was created by a very clever and experienced body man who used various body parts from many different junkyard cars, all cut up and then down sized, to make this great looking [but unfinished] little car. I’m guessing that while the guy was very gifted at sheet metal work and the use of a cutting torch, he wasn’t that good with mechanical or drive train stuff, so he never really had it on the road.

    So it ended up sold to the parcel delivery company as a promotional piece.

    Whoever ends up with it, please do send us an update, and more pictures showing the underside of the car, as well as other “hidden” areas.

    Like 5
  83. David Croydon

    Definitly a Jawett Javelin although I have never seen a convertible version. I suspect this is a one off.
    Coincidence or not, Jawett made a lot of small delivery trucks.

    Like 3
    • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

      No David I don’t think it’s a Jowett Javelin or a Jupiter. Doors open suicide style on Javelin models, on this one they open from rear. Jupiter’s have a completely different front grill. Also, the grill on the Javelin went all the way across, not like this one. It’s possible it could be a mixture of several models.
      God bless America

      Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Not a Jowett of any type, I’ve owned or worked on almost all the Jowett body styles.

      Like 1
  84. Mike

    Passing $5k and still RNM

    Like 2
  85. Ray

    American Bantam from Butler Pa.
    The company ceased production in 1956.

    Like 1
  86. Dennis

    Not an American Bantam. They all had fenders more like cycle type and did next extend from front to back.

    Like 1
  87. Rick Member

    Someone offering over $5,000 must know a lot more about this car than I do.

    Like 1
  88. Mark Mitchell Member

    It’s really a shame when a seller has something that is this rare and interesting, but provides little information and poor photos like this. I tried using photoshop to see if there were any other details lurking in the shadows. The rear of car is completely in a shadow, but after lightening it up, you can see that there is a small rear opening (for a spare tire?) and a gas flap. The contours that I revealed are not very smooth, leading me to believe that this section was probably sourced from the top of a donor car. Same with the rear fenders. It is likely that the entire car is built up from various ’30’s – ’40’s cars found in a junkyard. I doubt that this was an existing car that was modified. I would have been a bidder, but there are way too many unanswered questions (would a 6′ man even fit inside? This would be a good one to know before bidding!).

    Like 3
  89. Howie Mueler

    Sold $9,800, 36 bids.

    Like 2
  90. Mark Mitchell Member


  91. Kendra Kendra Member

    I gave up at $7,250. Would have bid higher if the seller had posted more detailed photos.

    Like 2
  92. Mike

    $9,800 final bid! Now how to figure out who got it and pester them for more pics!

    Like 2
  93. Araknid78

    Ended: Aug 07, 2021 , 4:45PM
    Winning bid:US $9,800.00
    [ 36 bids ]

    Like 1
  94. Fred Tison

    i’m the buyer of the car on ebay.
    So, the seller sent me some pictures of engine, can you help me to know the origin.

    Like 6

      So far it looks like a Studebaker flathead 6 to me

      Like 2
      • Fred Tison

        yes, it’ the same engine of studebaker flathead…thanks Carhunter for your help

        Like 1
  95. Fred Tison

    engine 2

    Like 1
  96. Fred Tison

    engine 3

  97. Fred Tison


  98. Fred Tison

    dashboard 2

    Like 1
    • Fred Tison

      the name write on it is: Whitney

      Like 1
      • Terrry

        Oh! J.C. Whitney built it! Maybe they still have parts??

        Like 3
  99. Fred Tison


    • Kurtis Erikson

      I’m confident that’s a Buick hood ornament. In the posted photos, it looked like there was s a circular instrument blank on the dash that had US Navy written on it. And of course, everyone is trying to figure out what’s written on the steering wheel horn button. I’m still leaning in the direction that this is a modified Buick. The fenders are right for a 1948 Buick but the grill looks different and the size is too small.

  100. Bob

    Fred, what does it say on the center of the steering wheel? I tried to enlarge that without luck.

  101. Howie Mueler

    129 comments on this one. Yes i am bored.

    Like 4
    • Sam Davis

      It’s a Nash.

  102. Paolo

    Congratulations Fred. When you get a chance, could you measure the wheelbase and the wheel-track? I would like to compare those dimensions with some other small vehicles. I still think the chassis is a prewar Crosley. It sure looks to have chromed 4 lug Crosley wheels..

    And what does the center of the steering wheel say?
    Good luck, I hope you love it.

    Like 1
  103. Fred Tison


  104. Fred Tison

    Whats this…the name of the owner?

    Like 1
    • Kurtis Erikson

      I’d say J T McGill is his name and Flc stands for fleet logistics center since this is a badge for a navy repair base.

      • Kurtis Erikson

        I googled J T McGill and got this memorial page. Seems like a good fit for the era of the car and the badge. This guy was in the navy in the1940s and stayed after the war ended for a twenty year stint. Anyway, check out the link if you’re curious.

        Like 2

        I had pointed that US NAVY tag before early, but we never saw it up close. I don’t know how to get a photo here, but maybe we missed something – McGill was in Japan at the end of WWII Toyota was building cars by 1948 take a look at the Toyopet (Toyota) SD SB cars very similar to what we see here. I think he may have just built an entire custom car, not many have picked up I ID’d the engine as a Studebaker 6. The owner needs to find a family member and interview them about the man, that may be the only link, did he have children?

      • ruxvette

        I can’t see the Mc before Gill. Is it just J T Gill? I think the F1c stands for Fireman First Class. 387-60-35 could be his Navy serial number. Is the J T McGill profiled above and the J T (Mc) Gill on the key tag one and the same?

    • Randy

      When I joined the Navy Reserve in 1963 the serial number they gave you was in the format ” xxx-xx-xx “. To this day that number is still ingrained in my memory.

      These days I understand you number is your ssn.

  105. and Member

    That steering wheel center just might be as unique as this little roadster:

    Scroll down to details of a very, very few automobiles made under that name.

    Like 5
    • Andrew S Mace Member

      Sorry my name didn’t come through on this comment!

  106. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


    I suspect the center of the steering wheel had a circular opening for a horn button, now long gone, and the Whitney hub cap just happened to be the same size, so it found a home! I doubt there is any other connection to the little car.

    Great detective work!

    Like 8
    • Andrew S Mace Member

      Indeed, I can’t imagine any other possible connection between a handful of steam-powered vehicles made in 1902-03 and this one-off circa 1948 car, other than the (presumably exceedingly rare) hubcap fitting or having been made to fit the steering wheel! :D

      Like 1
  107. Mike

    I can’t believe this thread is still going on! BF should do an updated post.

    Fred Tison: Pleeeese post good pics once you get the car home. The seller’s photography skills were not helpful at all. This car needs to have its own website and restoration blog! Make it happen Fred. A lot of people want to see this thing on the road!

    Like 7
  108. Dean Bourland

    I’m not a subscribing member of this group but I follow the threads religiously. I tripped over that car many times as it languished in the City Parcel warehouse in Spokane, Washington. City Parcel is a local courier and delivery service there. From what I was told, it belonged to the company’s founder, (whose name escapes me). He used to drive it in parades.

    Like 6
    • Lou Rugani

      City Parcel was founded in 1929, but this car seems to date to late-’40s styling. Was it Ellis I. Snyder’s?

      Like 2
    • Dennis

      “City Parcel is a local courier and delivery service there. From what I was told, it belonged to the company’s founder, (whose name escapes me).”

      Orville A Johnson was listed as owner in 1948.

      Like 1
  109. Jeffro

    Maybe Johnny Cash did get the parts one piece at a time! 🤣

    Like 1
  110. Frank

    The correct answer cannot be found on Ebay.

  111. Cobra Steve

    It is a prototype CraigsList car….

    I’ll go back to my room now.

  112. PairsNPaint

    Looking at Mr. Tison’s photo of the front, it seems that the area for the original hood badge was pressed into the metal. I believe that would require a large press and die, unlikely available to a home builder.

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      Could that not be a decaying rubber gasket or plinth for the original hood badge? Looks like old black rubber to me, with a little polish wiped across. I don’t see it as being embossed into the metal.

      Like 1
  113. Steve RM

    I’m basically leaving a comment so I can track this thread. Very interesting and cool little car.
    Fred Tixon,
    Congrats on your purchase. I hope you let us know how it goes.

    Like 1
  114. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Thanks for the updated pics Fred. Still a lot of questions I’m sure you’ll be investigating, please keep us informed; enquiring minds want to know. This car is so unusual none of the experts have correctly identified it.
    God bless you Fred
    God bless America

    Like 3
    • Tom Wasney

      Looks like Roger Rabbits girlfriends car …

  115. George Rogers

    Alis Challmers? Could that be the engine? I NEED to know more!


      We determined it’s a Studebaker 6 engine.

      Like 1
  116. Paul R.

    Prototype for Disney’s “Susie The Little Blue Coupe”

    Like 1
  117. Sterling

    this car is like ones you see at a fair that move 10 mph now days they use model T;s that r smaller. i would bet it was and someone put a real motor in it. the fact no wipers on it and no trunk.. when i was young like 50 years ago i recall seeing cars that looked like old cars but were smaller. used at fairs.

    Like 3
  118. jim hoffman

    after looking at all the pictures and reading that the engine runs but is a flat head 6 with 4 cylinders and no drive train, following the clues, i believe that this is a 1948 Hardly Rolls!

    Like 1
  119. Edward Skakie

    Perhaps someone could contact John Allen McGill and/or John Andrew McGill to see if there is any family knowledge or photos of the car. It is a fascinating little auto.

    Like 2
  120. Steve S

    The hood ornament looks exactly like a 50’s Buick eight hood ornament

    Like 1
  121. Steve S

    The hood ornament on the car looks exactly like a 50’s Buick eight hood ornament

    Like 2

    I did some research and the mans name of the Navy tag has a a research charity in his name, I emailed them to try and find family, I thought I may have found his son on facebook, I never got a response from either asking about the car. I think this may have been the man from that Navy ID Tag Navy connection and to Spokane. Also we are really trying to solve this, it is just counter productive to make all the silly jokes and I say this only because it is making the thread longer and longer which is keeping people from reading all the posts- example; we said it was not a Crosley in the beginning so a month down the road someone says it’s a Crosley! I would really like to find out it’s actual story, so many folks on here with a some real solid info and we still can’t figure it out!!

    Like 2
    • ruxvette

      Are you sure your J T McGill and and the J T McGill on the key tag are the same? Someone had a profile of J T McGill and it mentioned he was an officer in the Navy. I believe the key tag belonged to J T Mc Gill Fireman First class (F1c enlisted) and, like the horn button, may have been something used to plug a hole in the dash.
      Perhaps you should research Orville A Johnson (mentioned above) and his family. I believe he came from Spokane and his family owns a company in Tacoma called TMS or Tacoma Motorfreight Service, an LTL company that, I believe, has roots in Spokane.

      Like 2
  123. Dennis

    I did search for more information on Orville A Johnson in newspaper archives. The only mention in that time period was a couple of ads for City Parcel Delivery in an obscure newspaper, the “Seattle Jewish Transcript”.

    Like 2
  124. Mark S Smith

    I believe this car started life as a 1940 NASH, Dash, trunk & back of car & grill are for sure NASH.

    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Mark S Smith,

      I restored a 1940 Nash for a customer. I suggest you take a look at google images of 1940 Nash vehicles. The dash and instruments are not even close to the Nash, as those were very linear, not round. While the center grille suggests the Nash 600, when compared to the Nash grille, it’s clear this little car has nothing to do with any Nash products. Same with the rear of the car.

      Like 2
  125. Sterling

    Trunk? there is no trunk! there is not one thing that opens in the back. yes maybe grill is part of a Nash but other cars had same thing. but you r not looking at the size of this car! no Nash is this small! dash does not look anything like a Nash. No Nash, Hudson was ever this small. go look at all photos of there two person cars there way bigger than this one. like 2 to 3x in size and that would still be small. there is some British cars that look kind of like this but there also bigger.

  126. Mike

    Just waiting for Fred to post some really good detailed pictures when he gets the car home. Then we can really delve into the fascinating details of this custom car.

    Like 2
  127. Sterling

    i came across a photo of a odd car brand that from side looks like it but hard to find anything on it like none , was a 1947 DNA 12, it had more of a Lasel hood. shorter back(just trunk part) but the side looked same as this. tried looking this odd car up and could not find anything. wish i copied the photo. looked like same wheel base and everything. with a name of DNA you can see what came up when i looked for it. lights were on fenders like a Pirres arrow. so if you can find were this car was made and all, you will find who they took the body from. also motor was in back.

    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


      I think you might be referring to a French car from Panhard, the DYNA. Yes, the Dyna is reminiscent of this little convertible, but the Dyna is much larger, capable of seating 4 adults. And the Dyna mechanicals were very different, as it featured a tiny opposed 2 cylinder, air cooled motor with front wheel drive.

      Like 2
  128. Sterling

    other name it was by was alca Volpe! as only 10 were made. this 1948 copied this body concept from 1947. Italy car. it real could be FIAT or some other Italy made car and turned into a front motor car. in 1948 Italy had many car brands and most did not make many cars. You look at this concept from the side and u will see it is same car! just find who used the Volpe as there mold for there car.

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


      What may surprise you is the Volpe [Italian for Fox] was actually smaller than this featured car! However if you compare the 2 cars, it quickly becomes clear this isn’t a Volpe.

      And as for the drive train, the Volpe had been planned on using a 125cc 2 cylinder air cooled motor in the rear, however it appears none were ever equipped with a motor, as the company was unable to find an engine manufacturer.

      And when you think about it, a 125cc TWO cylinder motor would mean each cylinder was only 62.5cc. It’s quite possible my thumb could get stuck in one of the cylinder bores! I have drum brake cars with front wheel cylinders that are bigger!

      There is only one Volpe known to survive, and based on limited info for the car, it was never equipped with an engine. So that begs the question: The odometer shows about 10,000 kilometers, how did it manage to accumulate about 6,000 miles?

      Like 2
  129. James Aldi

    to me it looks like 1940 s Lasalle…

  130. Edward Skakie

    Bill McCoskey, 10,000 kilometers is about 6,200 miles. Google, sometimes, is your friend. :>))

    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


      I used to live in Europe, and have been back many times. I know exactly what the difference is, that’s why I used the word “about” before the 6000 mile words.

      Like 4
  131. Mike

    Anybody still here? Fred, did you get the car in your driveway yet?

    Like 2

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