Monday, December 14, 2009

SCAM ALERT! Crosley Midget Race Car on Ebay

Didn't think much about it at first when I saw this Crosley Midget Racer on Ebay... I was curious to see what it would go for since I knew my pal John was selling a similar car, minus engine, for about $1000. Of course, provenance is a huge deal with vintage race cars, and the seller gives an interesting history:

"Vintage 1950s Crosley TQ midget.... Has a original crosley racing engine that had been rebuilt some time ago,crosley rearend and transmission,Hand brake on the left side,Original steering wheel and guages ,Fuel tank,belts, Aluminum frame,wheels,tie rods,and all linkage,every piece of original body pieces including front grill,radiator... This car was built in North Carolina and race all over the country,Georgia,indoors in Oklahoma and Los Angeles,ascot ,south gate,El toro, corona,and Balboa park in San Diego"

John's Midget Crosley Race Car
A closer look revealed that the car looks a lot like John's... and the seller is right down the road from him to boot. The more I looked at it, it looked exactly like John's car with a new rattle can paint job. Touching base with John confirmed that he had in fact sold the car to the guy. Last week. Curious, I emailed the seller to find out a little more:

Great car- amazing! Do you have any documents relating to the race or other history of the car? How long have you had it?

A: Hello,Yes I have a racing history that is written down by the 85 yr, old gentleman I got the car from.I have had the car for some time and thought I would sell to a collector rather than it just sit and take up shop space.

OK, technically I guess one week does qualify as 'some time.' I sure hate it when my projects fill up my shop space for a whole week!

John emailed me after he saw the Q&A on Ebay, saying, "I'm not 85 and never signed any info letter." (And 'not 85' is quite an understatement, considering that he's not even old enough for Social Security.) John had owned the car for years and had never established any history other than it was 'supposed to have been raced in North Carolina'. I started to smell a rat.
Midget's 'race' motor
John also pointed out the 'race' engine. John sold the car with an old tin block mocked up in position- not bolted up, just sitting in the frame. When the current Ebay seller picked it from him he mentioned that he'd recently bought a Crosley engine off Ebay to go with it.

this stock motor was on Ebay last month. note oil filler
A little sleuthing turned up this auction for a used Crosley motor from last month. It's clearly the same 'race' motor in the Midget Ebay listing- you can see the custom 'stacked' oil filler tube on the driver's side with the same rag wadded in it.
Midget motor, passenger side
And it still has the same piece of tape over the fuel pump slot on the other side.

And, just in case there was any question, the guy who sold the engine last month specifically says, "This motor was not raced EVER. It is a stock crosley engine" right in the listing. Nice.
ebay motor from last month. same piece of tape
Hard to believe what some people will say or do to make a little money. Not sure what can be done other than warn people away from this loser. Pretty lame, folks, pretty lame.


Anonymous said...

I reported it to eBay using your link. More people should.

Ol' Man Foster said...

I reported the auction to Ebay this morning- don't know what their policy is, even though this clearly constitutes fraud. If enough people complain they may do something.

Ol' Man Foster said...

SOLD for $3500. Whoever bought this is in for an ugly surprise when they pick it up.

I looked into the legality of this sort of thing- turns out what the seller did is fraud and could result in a felony conviction if Ebay and the seller push it.

Check this link for a similar case:

Anonymous said...

Do you know if they built very many full size midget cars with the Crosley engine? Im looking at one with a Crosley engine, transmission, and rear end. It's not a TQ midget.

It's a full size Midget race car supposedly run in the 50's


Ol' Man Foster said...

Gary, I'm not that familiar with many Crosley-powered midget racers (not TQ Midgets), but I'm no expert. You might want to post your question to the Crosley Gang bulletin board- several Crosley racing experts there, and ALL very helpful!