Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ebay Watch: Ultimate Clown Car?

Fresh off his Zero comments, Minnesota Crosley nut Fred Syrdal tipped me off to this Ebay listing for a 1951 Crosley sedan formerly owned by world-famous clown Emmett Kelly!

Looking closely at the listing I was surprised to find that the car has a standard CIBA engine.  I fully expected that this came with a solid gold engine block - the only thing I can think of that would justify the $35,000 starting price.
That said, the car is a time capsule, with only 6000 miles on the clock.  The interior looks nearly new (yes, Crosley seats came wrinkly like that from the factory), and if that's the original paint this has to be one of the nicest still-original Crosley products on the planet.
That's sort of surprising given that typical clown cars tended to be painted up in the gaudiest colors available with plenty of accessory doodads bolted on for laughs (remember the one I profiled last year? It's probably still for sale).   Given the condition, the stock paint and the lack of Aoogah horns, fake sidepipes and portholes, I'm going to guess that this didn't see much - or more likely, any - time in the ring.
That makes sense since I haven't been able to find any pictures of Kelly rolling out of this sedan (or any other Crosley) in the Big Top.  In fact, the only Crosley/Kelly connection I've ever been able to turn up are pictures of this nice '52 wagon which were included in a display labled 'Emmett Kelly's Crosley.'
If you're sensing that I've spent a little too much time thinking about Emmett Kelly's Crosleys, you're right.  This all stemmed from a Craigslist ad I saw several years back... right around the time I first started this blog.  The ad had a small, grainy picture of a Crosley and noted that it had once been owned by an unnamed famous person.  That was enough to intrigue me, and when I called, the seller explained that the car had once been owned by Emmett Kelly.  He also mentioned the price, which I don't remember now - but I do recall that I thought he had to be kidding.

Once we established that he was not clowning around on the price I knew I wasn't going to be buying the car.  I mentioned my blog and asked if I could use the picture on Craigslist, along with a link to his CL ad.  And that's when things got really strange.  He insisted that I not mention the ad, and said if I used the picture he'd sue!  The whole thing was very weird, the CL ad was pulled the very same day, and I've wondered what the hell was up ever since. 
I can't say that this is the same car, or the same seller, or that there's any connection at all.  Just to keep it weird, this Ebay seller -located in Wisconsin- says he's listing the car for a friend - located in Arizona.  What I can say is that $35,000 for a Crosley -whether owned by Emmett Kelly or the Queen of England - strikes me as mighty silly.


Jerry B said...

Another "clown" car on e-bay


Anonymous said...

I've seen this car in a western museum in Tombstone, AZ. The Wisconsin connection is a friend of the owners and transports for a living. The price is still $35,000.