Thursday, November 17, 2011

Resto Debate: HotShot and Super Sports Floor Covers

There has been a vigorous debate raging over at the Crosley Gang Yahoo Group for the past couple of days, begun when 'Cutworm' posed a seemingly simple query:

"All my Hotshots either have or show signs of carpet being glued to the floorpan.  I also have pics from Wauseon showing black carpets used. Is this right? What about the goofy cover over the trans-shifter assemblies?"

Determining what would be factory-correct is easy for almost any other auto of the period, but like so many other details of Crosley build history, there are no stats, no notes in the manuals or parts catalogs, and dang few factory photos. What were the floors of Crosley roadsters covered with when they came from the factory?  I'd always believed that they came with rubber mats, but I realized that I didn't really know.
User L. E. Hardee weighed in, saying that he didn't believe any Crosley came from the factory with carpets.  "Black rubber mats are what I have seen," he said, and then offered an interesting tidbit:  "The drive shaft hump was just paint."  Phil Rowland disagreed, noting that while rubber mats were correct,  the drive shaft hump was definitely covered.  Club prez Dave Anspach and Pete Berard came in on Hardee's side: uncovered hump.
Phil took it to the next level, actually digging out some documentation. Sure enough, Tom McCahill's 1949 Mechanix Illustrated review of the HotShot shows rubber covering the hump.  Jim Bollman jumped in with even more detail:

" regularly built Crosley ever was delivered from the factory with carpeting. That is not to say someone might have pulled strings to get a one off or a dealer may have added carpeting to get a premium price.

"The June 1951 Mechanics Illustrated shows very clear pictures of the interior and it shows a pebbly surfaces rubber mat that is one piece over the hump and all. I have seen the same material in a very original HS (have 35 mm slides around somewhere showing it). I also managed to salvage a small piece of the material from a mat that was beyond saving, for my files, it has a fiber material attached to the back side to absorb noise and retain moisture to insure a rusted out floor."
Then Phil went even one better, adding personal side to the story. "I looked over a NEW '49 Hotshot in a Crosley dealer showroom and remember it well.  It definitely had a rubber mat covering the tunnel.  It surprises me that so many people believe otherwise.  Must be they're too young to have been there back then.  I have advantage being 80 years old."  I did a little digging myself, and in a Crosley factory photo it sure looks like the hump is covered with a rubber mat.
Pretty amazing that the conversation started without a consensus and ended with that question definitively solved, details on the exact coverings used, and even including a photo of factory-correct interior from the period. 

As if that wasn't enough, the conversation then shifted to a discussion of the material on the storage area behind the seats.  'Brawnybug' quickly responded with a description and then a photo from his very original Super Sports: "Here's a picture of the material covering the floor and fender wells....  It's gray and stipple textured, kind of a linear pattern."
And there we left it.  This is the sort of thing that used to only happen among experts at the annual Crosley Club meets - now it's any time, and all out in a public forum, documented for everyone.   This has become THE site for Crosley nuts, and it's really pretty amazing.  The Crosley Gang rules!

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