Trivia question time: What was America’s first post-war production sports car? If you answered Chevrolet Corvette, then you’re off by four years. Because in 1949, the Crosley car company of Cincinnati rolled out its tiny, minimalist Hotshot roadster.
Sure, there was any number of small efforts to build sports cars in the US, from Glasspar to Kurtis, but none were made in any great numbers, and the Hotshot was sold in the thousands. Not a lot of thousands, but enough to be considered mass-produced.
The Pick of the Day is a 1950 Crosley Hotshot, a rust-free example that has been restored and upgraded “as a nod to the Hotshot that won the 1950 Six Hours of Sebring race,” according to the Newport Beach, California, dealer advertising the roadster on ClassicCars.com.
“This car has the hot Crosley-Bearcat marine “big block” motor of 59cid (!) and the hi-po Braje intake with twin Tillotson carbs, Braje exhaust manifold and dual exhausts, a very hot set up for such a minimalist car,” the dealer says in the ad. “Other ‘race track’ equipment on our Hotshot includes: dual Brooklands screens (original windshield included), Marchal fog/driving lamps, Rundenmeister rally clock and timer, leather hood straps, and a VDO ‘Porsche-style’ tachometer mounted under dash.”
So yes, the Hotshot did have a competitive history back in its day, and its small-bore 4-cylinder engines were often found in race cars during the 1950s, frequently on victory lane in their class.
The Hotshot was indeed something of a little gem, a doorless sports car designed along the lines of British roadsters, and built by a company best-known for its pint-size and economical passenger cars and trucks. As the dealer points out, Crosley was the first company to market an affordable overhead-cam engine and use disc brakes, as this example has.
The Crosley company was founded in 1938, only to be interrupted by war, then it re-introduced its micro-car lineup in 1946. While there were a fair number of buyers, the bigger-is-better trend among American motorists took its toll, and Crosley shut its doors in 1952.
Among its upgrades, this Hotshot has what appear in the photos to be doors that can be affixed to the cockpit openings. The Crosley does look to be very nicely presented in overall terrific condition, and it should make for a totally fun runabout for a little-car fan.
The asking price for this bit of US microcar history is $29,800.
To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.