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One of One? Fiberglass-Bodied Crosley Special

Fiberglass-Bodied Crosley Special

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, eBay

As a true developing market, American sports specials of the late ’40s and 1950s are always a fantastic study. The sheer variety of cars produced and the craftsmanship and creativity in their construction is what hooked us on these creations — and it helps that they were fast too! This Crosely-based fiberglass sports special on eBay is owned by a reader and friend in the Daytona Beach, Florida area, who reports that it's the only one of its kind.

There’s no manufacturer listed, but we’re told that the fiberglass body was manufactured sometime around 1959 in the Sacramento, California area. The body has some truly unique lines, and it reminds us a lot of the 1959 Corvette XP-87 prototype, seemingly a logical source of inspiration. It actually appears to be in nice condition as well, with dash and interior panels present and no major damage present. A sleek, laid-back windshield is installed, although its source is unknown.

A 1951 Crosley provided its soul and mechanical parts to get the sports special this far, and the Cincinnati, Ohio-based manufacturer was building several models at that time, including station wagons, sedans, small farm rigs and the HotShot sports car. All models made use of the new cast-iron CIBA engine, which had recently replaced the stamped-steel CoBra engine. While the Mighty Tin was far lighter at less than 15 pounds, it required quite a bit more maintenance than other engines, especially in the cooling department, as its sheetmetal parts overheated quickly if the cooling system was not operating properly.

Getting back to the cast CIBA (Cast Iron Block Assembly) engine, it’s a bit counterintuitive, as the crankcase was actually cast aluminum, while a single cast iron cylinder, port and valve seat assembly was used. At 724 cc, the engine produced around 27 hp at 5,400 rpm. A high-compression version was also available in limited numbers, dubbed the QuickSilver, which provided around 30 hp.

Getting back to this Crosley sports special, the seller reports that a restoration was started on the car and many original Crosley parts are included in the sale, like some dashboard and gauge components, emblems, manuals and an original wiring harness that will aid in creating a new harness. The engine is reported to spin over easily and the valvetrain is in good condition. The nice-looking wire wheels are also a great bonus over the diminutive steel Crosley units.

The starting bid on the car is listed at $4,500, and it can be seen here on eBay.

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Crosley Sports Special