By definition a sports car is a small vehicle with limited capacity designed to put the driving experience ahead of practicality. If this 12 foot long 1950 Crosley Hotshot project we found on Ebay isn't an early embodiment of the aforementioned criteria, we aren't sure what is.
Introduced in 1949 as a sporty version of the tiny Crosley passenger cars, the 1100 pound Hotshot featured a 26.5 horsepower 724cc. Thanks to its relatively low power output even when it was new the cut down Crosley was hardly ever a speed demon.
The Hotshot was however a relatively cheap ($849 new) and quirky way to get the "sports car experience" in a tiny package—some still refer to it as "the first American sports car. Even with its meager horsepower the little car managed to win the "index of performance"—an award which took speed and engine size into account—at the 1950 Six Hours of Sebring.
Unfortunately for Crosley these odd little cars never really caught on. When they were introduced in 1949, Crosley sales were already starting to slip. Despite the fact the company had sold more station wagons in 1948 than any other American car maker, Crosley was out of business by the end of the summer of '52.
Exact production numbers of the door-less Hotshot (a very similar "Super Sport" model was built with working doors) depend greatly on who you ask, but everyone seems to agree on the fact not a whole lot left the factory. Because they are so rare, we were pleasantly surprised and quite interested when we came across this Hotshot project on Ebay last week.
According to the seller an amateur restored this Hotshot a few decades ago, at which time we assume the gold accents seemed like a better idea. Although the car "yard drives" and was registered in 2010 the seller suggests some attention be paid to the car before it returns to the road. Considering the dangers of driving this car on a modern road even without any mechanical failures, we'd say this is a wise piece of advice.
Currently the bidding on this Hotshot is at $3000 with no reserve. Depending on your point of view that is too much money for a death trap project car or a decent price for a tiny bit of weird and rare sports car history. Despite concerns about being able to wedge ourselves behind the wheel of this Hotshot after we've checked the brakes twenty times, installed a roll-bar and removed the "gold accents" we're still firmly in the second category.