What the Hell? "1947" Fiat-Crosley Thing

Straight lines are for sissies
Straight lines are for sissies

My first thought was Dr. Seuss Goes Racing. Beyond that, it devolves into a bunch of “huh?” and “what?”. To begin with, ain’t no way this is a 1947 anything. The seller bought it from the daughter of the original owner (and likely, builder), meaning we’re at least two levels removed from the real story. The eBay questions seem to provide more answers.
In typical mono-block allcaps bold style, the seller describes the car as follows:

THE CAR IS 12 FT LONG BY 4FT 5IN WIDE BY 3FT 9IN HIGH.  THE CAR HAS AN OHIO STREET LEGAL SELF ASSEMBLED TITLE DATED 1952.  I DO NOT KNOW THE CAR’S MILAGE.  I BELIEVE THIS IS A SCCA H-CLASS RACER.  IT IS AN OLD FIAT RACE CAR FROM THE 1940’s FOR SURE.  AARON BOUGHT THE CAR WHEN IT WAS “A FEW YEARS OLD” AS STATED BY HIS DAUGHTER AT AARON’S ESTATE SALE.  THAT DATES THIS LITTLE CAR TO AROUND 1947 OR 1948 OR SO.  THE CAR HAS TUBE TYPE FRAMES IN THE FRONT AND REAR WITH A SHEET ALUMINUM MID COCKPIT SECTION.  (SEE PICTURES) THE BODY AND HOOD ARE MADE OF FIBERGLASS.  THE ORIGINAL OWNER RACED THIS CAR IN SPORTS CAR COMPETITION EVENTS.  THE SECOND OWNER (AARON, WHO OWNED “AARON’S AUTO PARTS” (SPEED SHOP) AND A COUPLE OF ENGINE MACHINE SHOPS IN THE TOLEDO, OHIO AREA) PURCHASED THE CAR WHEN IT WAS A FEW YEARS OLD AND THEN CONVERTED THE CAR FOR STREET LEGAL USE BY ADDING WHAT WAS REQUIRED FOR STREET OPERATION AS STATED BY AARON’S DAUGHTER.  HE HAD THE CAR STREET TITLED IN 1952.  HE DROVE THE CAR FOR MANY YEARS ON THE STREETS OF TOLEDO, PARKING THE CAR IN HIS GARAGE IN 1989.

Seems like Aaron would’ve been a cool guy to know. A question offers some insight based on the pictures:

The motor’s 103G serial# makes it a Fiat 1100cc, and the chassis parts are probably an amalgam of Fiat & Crosley; Certainly not the first time this was ever done (what length is the wheelbase?!). The windshield is from a Nash Metropolitan, which didn’t go into production ’til 1954…The swoopy wheel openings and squared rear fins appear, fashion-wise, to be textbook ‘1961 dreamcar’.

For a current $1000, it’s cheap enough to enjoy unraveling this mystery. All we can think of while reading this is Concourse D’LeMons, baby!
(So much) More over at eBay.
Tip of the sombrero to Juanito Amorhombre.

0 Comments

  1. I see possibilities here. Remove the windshield, the lights, the turn signals, and the bumpers. Then add a small windscreen back and it wouldn't look TOO bad. It is hideous in its current road legal state, but as a race car it would be pretty neat. If this was down the street and $500 I would have a hard time passing it up. If nothing else it would make a great conversation piece for the garage and give you great stories for years.

  2. Aw, c'mon. The thing is so ugly and just plain bizarre that it needs to be preserved just as it is. I wouldn't change anything, just rebuild the pathetic engine so it doesn't smoke too much. Would you rage on an ugly little dog because he's old and decrepit?

  3. This is the 1959 Lahti Special. Aleksis Lahti was a freshman architecture student at the University of Michigan when he began to build his car in 1958. Lahti designed and built the unusual body of swooping curves with plans to enter the 980-pound Crosley-powered midget in local sports car challenges. He completed the car the following year after investing $1,300. After graduation, he studied at the Accademia Di Belle Arte in Florence, Italy before launching a successful career in architectural, product, interior, and graphic design specialties. Over time, the Lahti Special was heavily modified. The Crosley engine died and was replaced with an Italian Fiat tucked beneath a bulbous hood scoop, which replaced the original breather pipes that poked through the flat hood. The headlights were moved from their original mountings within the grille to the tops of the fenders in order to meet state regulations. And the framed glass windshield replaced the original which had been a piece of Plexiglas scalloped at the top. A large photo of Lahti seated in his car when it debuted in 1959 will appear soon in the book "Orphan Babies – America's Early Economy Cars, Volume 3, 1943-1969." See http://www.orphanbabycars.com for details about the book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here