Saturday, January 3, 2015
1949 Crosley Hotshot
The first sports car produced in postwar America was a major hunk of junk. Actually, at 1,100 lbs and 145 in. long, the Crosley Hotshot was a minor hunk of junk, but at least it was slow and dangerous. A wondrously mangled and compacted Hotshot can be glimpsed in the 1961 driver's ed scare film Mechanized Death. The Hotshot was the work of consumer products pioneer Powel Crosley Jr., of Cincinnati, he of Crosley radio fame. But what he really wanted to do was build cars, which he did with middling failure until the doors closed in 1952. A Hotshot actually won the "index of performance" — an honor for the best speed for its displacement — at the 1950 Six Hours of Sebring, puttering around at an average of 52 mph. What killed the Hotshot was its engine, a dual-overhead cam .75-liter four cylinder, not cast in iron but brazed together from pieces of stamped tin. When these brazed welds let go, as they often did, things quickly got noisy, and hot.