Sunday, January 30, 2011

Midwest Crosley Dragster

I don't know a whole lot about Arnie. I've been following his posts on various sites about his Crosley-powered rail dragster for a couple of years and I also found out that he's into Amphicars as well as Crosleys. The dragster almost got sold last year, but then he found a Pepco blower for it and I guess he decided to keep it.

He posted this video of the car on the track (with and without blower), and I hope he won't mind that I've linked to it here. It's good footage, and there's a great Crosley moment at the 38 second mark where the car he's racing zips by like the Crosley is standing still. I've always felt that the motor is the best part of a Crosley, and thank god for guys like Arnie, the Liebherrs, and the Hmodders, all of whom are doing Lloyd Taylor proud.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pig's Blood, Chicken Feathers and Shellac

One of the best parts of being known as the 'weird car guy' is that people send me cool stuff. Magazine clippings about Crosleys appear under my windshield wipers and on my porch, and quite a bit of stuff comes in over the interwebs.
Josh Chaffin, a Sacramentan now displaced on the east coast, recently sent a clipping from the Economist detailing the history of Magyar (defined as 'of the Hungarian people') microcars. The Economist is one of the world's best magazines, so I knew this was gonna be good.
One look, and wow... just wow.   Hungarian cars make the Isetta look normal.  They make a Crosley seem opulent.  The car above, the Fesztival, has a body made of pig's blood, chicken feathers and shellac. No, I'm not kidding. I dug around a little bit and found the article online here. It's well worth a read and there are plenty of great pictures.
Thanks to Josh for the tip!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Liebherr Crosley at Bonneville: VIDEO!

Fellow Crosley kook John McKnight found this cool in-car video of Dale and Rob Liebherr's 1947 Crosley coupe burning up the salt at Bonneville:

The Liebherr's Never Paid 4 racing team has been trying to capture the J Production class record for about two years. That record, 103 and some change, is currently in the hands of the Evil Tweety team. They hopped in their Honda 600 and took the record back from Crosley of Kentucky's Gerald Davenport about ten years ago, and have been inching it upwards ever since.

Liv and I spent a day on the salt with the Leibherrs a couple of summers ago during their first trip to Speed Week. We had a blast, and if you have any interest in this stuff, GO. It's an amazing event.

The Never Paid 4 team haven't quite cracked the century mark yet, but every trip is moving the needle. They just built a brand new motor and switched over to disc brakes, and last I heard, all was looking good for 2011. Can't wait!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ugly Duckling is Back

Looks like the 'ugly duckling' HMod I saw on Craigslist last month is up for sale on Ebay.  The seller has cleaned the car up and taken much better photos.  I'm betting he'll make a decent profit for his efforts.  The side shot is nice- probably the best angle for this car.
Seller also suggests that it might be an early Devin, a guess I'm pretty skeptical of.  The vintage Devin photo he's posted is a Hot Shot that Bill Devin modified before he started making fiberglass bodies - and it doesn't look much like the car for sale anyway.  I'll be curious to see what it goes for...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Is David Carradine's Crosley For Sale?

Just stumbled across this nicely-restored 1950 Hot Shot for sale on Ebay.  It's clean, but the $19.5K asking price is, uh, 'optimistic', even if an unnamed Hollywood star is claimed as the former owner.   Maybe you could hope to get that kinda scrilla if this was James Dean's Hot Shot, but for any lesser star you're probably looking at about half that.... maybe.  Interestingly, the ad is silent on the star's identity, although it does mention that he is dead.  Hmmm...
 Some years ago I read that actor David Carradine (Kung Fu, Kill Bill) was a Crosley fan.  I have no idea where I came across this bit of info, but I do recall finding out that he had bought a Hot Shot for the then astronomical price of $13,000.  OK, that'd still be an incredible price for a Hot Shot today, but it was even MORE incredible back then.  I'd always found it an interesting factoid, and wondered if he would someday drive into the West Coast Meet in his roadster, ready to take all comers in the Funkana. It never happened.

When Carradine met his end a few years back, I (and pretty much everyone else) was a bit surprised - his particular hobby was not one I usually associate with Crosley owners - it turned out that Crosleying was the least of Mr. Carradine's quirks.  If you're not sure what I mean, I'll refer you to google.  In any case, he seemed to suddenly drop off the list of people fellow Crosley owners bragged about.
I'm guessing that this is probably Carradine's car, and the circumspect nature of the info in the ad is due to the lurid nature of the star's death - why else would a seller not list a famous former owner?  Apparently the buyer will get documentation of the star's identity... if this car ever sells.  Sadly, I just can't see a Carradine connection bringing this car to the price they are asking.  There's no speed equipment - or even a radio.  With nicely-restored VCs regularly selling for $7000-$8000, I can't imagine who would spend $19,000 for this car.

Now James Dean's Crosley... that might be worth $19,000.  Dean never 'officially' owned a Crosley, but, according to the late Dick Scanlan, he used to drive one.    The story, as Dick told it to me, was that there was a Hot Shot used to get around the Warner Bros. studio lot.  Dean, being a sports car nut, immediately commandeered it while working on one of his films.  According to Dick, Dean used the Hot Shot as his personal car the whole time he was making the movie, and then turned it back in when the filming was done.  The car went back into regular use on the lot, and then was sold a few years later.
No documentation exists, and no photo of Dean driving a Hot Shot has ever turned up, so the story could well be pure bunk, but Dick Scanlan swore by it, and until the day he died he claimed he had the original interior from James Dean's Crosley in the rafters in his garage.  For all I know, it still might be there.  Find THAT Hot Shot (and prove it) and you'll have your $19,500 car.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Resolution #1: MORE POSTS!

As 2010 was coming to a close I noticed that I'd averaged under 25 blog posts a year for 2009 and 2010.... that's quite a few less than I'd planned when I started this blog back in late 2008.  It's not that I haven't had ideas - there have been plenty of missed opportunities - I just haven't been making the time.  This year, one of my resolutions* is to make TWICE as many posts as last year!
And with material like this, lord knows it should be easy! Check out this flame-jobbed clown car from Florida on Ebay right now... looks like a pretty straight, early (1946!) sedan.  No running lights, even!  What could make this even better?....
 That's right, the matching 1950 Hot Shot, for sale from the same seller!  Pick this pair up and you can immediately become a contender for the Most Hated Neighbor Award!  I'm simultaneously charmed and horrified by the paint jobs... they are true corn, but have a genuine postwar hotrod feel, before Rob Powell's sleek flamejob style had been co-opted by every paint slinger in the world.
 These are supposed to run and drive, and are reputed to be actual circus cars.  Neither has hit reserve yet, but we'll keep you posted.
*My resolutions this year: 
Spend more time in the garage
Spend more time on my surfboard
Play more music with my friends
Get at least one of my Crosleys on the road
Make at least 50 posts on the blog!