This is a custom built one of a kind mid engine sports car probably built sometime between 1957 and 1960. This car came from a collection in Wyoming but the builder is unknown. He used a Packard grille, Studebaker front fenders and Nash rear fenders. The mid mounted engine was missing but I suspect it might have been a DKW air cooled V twin. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any knowledge about the history of this tiny little gem of a sports car. I will add a very detailed description soon.
PLEASE NOTE: It can be difficult to buy something as complicated as an auctomobile sight unseen so I have just added 96 larger and more detailed photos of this unique mid-engined sportscar to a website. Please go to photobucket.com and sign in as toysanyone and use the word vehicles for the password to see about 60 albums of things I am now offering. Please email me at email@example.com if you have any questions or have difficulty with the website. I will be adding more detailed information to this description tomorrow. Thanks a lot.
A few days ago I received the following message from an automotive enthusiast in Switzerland: "Hi there, I'm a young men (oldtimer-enthusiast) living in Switzerland.The chassis from this car come from an Fiat-Topolino, made from 1938-54. This car has originali a 4 Zyl. engine with 0,554 ltr. monted on front with a 3 speed gearbox. The frontaxle and rearaxle are also original Fiat-Topolino, and also this red-spare wheel where I can see, that it is from an first serie (1938-48) Topi. The engine mounting-point on back left and right (rubber) are also the original-ones, original mounted on front of the chassis. Hope this is a little help for you, sorry about my english, hope you understand all and kind regards from Switzerland, Wilfried." This information coincides with a statement from the man I bought this car from in Billings, Montana this spring. He said he recalled that a hub cap in the car said FIAT on it. I looked for the cap and it was not in this car. He claimed he had no idea where it might be if it was not in the car. I would be very interested in knowing more about these FIAT hubcaps. Do they say anyting on them? Do you know where I might get some? Thanks a lot.
I have spent some time digging through my car spotter's guide to determine where some of the body components of this car came from. I am certain that both of the front fenders are from a 1947-1949 Studebaker Champion automobile. I am certain the the grille center section and the extension bars on both sides of the grille came from a 1948-1950 Packard Eight, Deluxe Eight or Super Eight automobile. The cloisonne enamel emblem in the center of the grille is also a stock Packard emblem of that vintage. I believe both of the rear fenders are from a 1951-1954 Full size Nash automobile. My spotter's guide does not show good rear photos of these cars so please help me out here if I am wrong.
Please notice how the still unknown builder extended the line from the side of the cockpit opening gradually downward and backward across the side of the rear fenders. The Nash rear quarter panels are fairly smooth and do not have this distinctive line swooping downward as it extends backward to the tail light. The builder accomplished this distinctive detail by adding a panel to the outside of the original Nash rear quarter panels. This extra panel seems to be held in place to the Nash panel only with some type of bondo filler. You can see the bondo oozing through some 1/4" holes in the Nash panel if you look at the proper picture of the inside of the quarter panel on the website mentioned above. Because the major body parts came from a Nash, Packard and Studebaker, I have christened this tiny jewel as being a "Nackardbaker". It has an amazing resemblance to a 1955 Ford Thunderbird in many ways even though it appears to be considerably longer in the rear quarters due primarily to the mid-engine design.
It is interesting to note that the 15" disc wheels have hollow tubular rims similar to the 21" welded wire wheels used on the Ford cars from 1926 through 1929 and on Lincolns of the same period and up through 1935 or so. These unusual (for USA cars of this period and size) are held in place with 4 brass lug nuts that have a shoulder on the inside that registers in the hole in the wheel. The 2 wire wheel hubcaps show do not sell with this car. I borrowed them from a friend in order to dress up this little gem. Please look at the photos at the end of the website to see how ugly this car is without any headlamps, headlamp bezels or wheel covers.
I have no idea what the bumpers might be from. The front bumper guards say HELMS on the top of them. The rear bumper guards are fairly ornate and fragile and may be some kind of accessory item. It is frustrating to notice that some idiot cut a rectangular piece from the galvanized sheet metal that forms the back of the passenger seat. The metal salvager must have had no appreciation for the effort the builder put into forming both seat backs. It is interesting to note that the cockpit is surrounded with electrical conduit tubing. The builder used flexible exhaust tubing to get around the sharper corners instead of bending the conduit. I think this is rather ingenious since it was all covered with white upholstery material originally.
The only history I know of regarding this car at this time is that it came from the estate of a car collector in Wyoming. I called the family and they know nothing or do not care about this unique vehicle. I also talked with several car collectors in the area and they also know nothing about this car. If you have any idea who built this car, PLEASE email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (406) 586-1847 anytime. I am a history buff and feel that the original builder deserves some credit for this very unusual little car that was way ahead of its time.
The quality of the work on the steel body is not superb but it is way ahead of almost every other similar creation I have ever seen. The quality of the cutting and welding on the chassis does not really measure up to that of the body. It is almost as it 2 different craftsmen worked on this project. I have corresponded with several people who have been just as fascinated as I am with this unique vehicle. One person suggested that this car may have never run under it's own power. I doubt this is the case because the vehicle has a muffler located inside each rear quarter panel. One would not normally install mufflers unless the drive train was already in place.
I suspect this cute little car spent most of its life in a warm and dry climate. There is absolutely no evidence of corrosion anywhere from road salt. The only corrosion on this vehicle is limited to minor pitting of the floor boards due to neglect and the build up of dirt before I bought this car. The floors are still very strong. It is interesting to note that this car does not have a firewall. There is a considerable opening between the area under the front hood and the passenger compartment. This would also indicate usage in an exceptionally dry area because the front tires would throw water onto the passenger's feet and legs. I am betting that this car was built by an amateur and not professional builder somewhere in California or Nevada sometime between 1954 and 1957.
The real stickler so far is what type of engine was used to power this vehicle. I believe it must have been air cooled because there is no room for a radiator up front and no evidence of any plumbing to run coolant anywhere. I don't believe that there is room enough for any in-line engine, clutch, transmission and drive shaft behind the seats and in front of the differential. The engine bay is not wide enough for an opposed engine. I therefore suspect that some type of air cooled V-twin engine may have powered this car. One man I corresponded with suggested that an air cooled twin engine from a pre-war Crosley may have powered this unique ride. Please let me know what you think an email me at email@example.com I will measure the car tomorrow and add a note with its dimensions. Thanks a lot for your interest and responses.