This 1948 Crosley C/A Altered dragster is what state-of-the-art in drag racing looked like in the early ’60s. Minimalist bodywork, an extended frame, and one big honkin’ engine. Along the way, you’ll discover some very clever tricks that make the car a fierce competitor, even today in the nostalgic drags and it’s virtually guaranteed to draw a crowd.
Modeled after the famous Wild Willy Borsh Winged Express, this cool Crosley altered wheelbase dragster definitely has an old-school look. Just about the only Crosley part left is the body shell, and it’s got a cool look with that little station wagon shape atop that wild chassis. Finish quality is exceptionally good, as if this dragster was built for show as much as going fast, and the bright red paint is as good as any show car we’ve seen lately. The cute little Crosley face peeking out from behind the gas tank has a wonderful appeal and you can see exceptional attention to detail everywhere you look. It’s likely that no in-period dragsters were ever finished to this level, but today it makes a statement no matter what it’s doing, and that’s really what matters. Lettering on the doors has a sentimental look, advertising Frog’s Hot Rods & Race Cars, but otherwise it’s rather restrained (well, for a race car, anyway). We’d be lying if we said we didn’t love how this thing looks.
The interior is pure race car minimalist, with old-school fiberglass buckets and every single component drilled full of lightening holes to shave weight. It’s actually pretty easy to climb in with full-sized doors that open properly, and once you’re situated behind the wheel, it’s reasonably comfortable. And there’s a lot of style here, not just functionality. The pedals and shifters are beautifully crafted from aluminum, the sheetmetal work on the floors and sides of the tub is very nicely done, and tricks like the giant connecting rod used as a steering column bracket are pure cool. Original Crosley gauges are still in the dash and yes, it does have an AM/FM/8-track radio that’s definitely from another era. With two seats and harnesses, you can take a friend along for the ride, but the rear compartment is full of cooling system components (fluids run through the frame, by the way) so it’s done being a cargo carrier of any sort.
The hardware is what this car is all about, and it all focuses on a 468 cubic inch big block stuffed in the Crosley’s nose. With a steel crank, H-beam rods, and 14.5:1 compression, it definitely qualifies as a race piece. The heads were, of course, ported and polished and there’s a sizeable cam in there, too. The stunning Hilborn fuel injection system with velocity stacks is as much art as fuel delivery, and the front-mounted gas tank uses a Hilborn pump and inertia to help feed the beast. A Vertex magneto lights the fires and 2-inch white-coated zoomies cackle and spit right out the Crosley’s front fender wells. A Borg-Warner clutchless 4-speed spins a Winters quick change rear end with either 3.75 or 4.53 gear ratios. The front suspension is 1940 Ford with wishbones and adjustable spring perches, while out back there are 48-inch ladder bars with coil-over shocks. The rolling stock is old school, too, with skinny magnesium mags up front and Radar 15x10s out back, all wearing whitewalls for just the right look.
There’s a ton more going on here than we can adequately describe here, but if you want to be the hit of the nostalgia races, nothing does it better than this wicked little Crosley.
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