Straight Fire! A 1946 Crosley Coupe with a Kick
A straight eight from a ’52 Buick shoved into a 1946 Crosley Coupe? Yes, please. If you’re familiar with the minuscule 27hp straight four cylinder that came in the Crosley Coupe from the factory you would agree it has plenty of potential for livening up.
The issue with most swaps into these cars is the little engine has a tiny engine bay to match but Steve DiMartino didn’t let this get in his way.
The 1946 Crosley coupe has been stretched 27 inches and his buddy Charlie (whose ’32 Roadster we’ve already featured) chopped the top while he was at it. Charlie’s been doing this a long time, and Steve told us Charlie did the job in less than a week.
These changes, along with other exterior choices like the steelies with flipper hubcaps and mahogany framed window inserts, have given Steve’s Crosley a real Bonneville look. This makes sense too, given that Steve’s a salt flat junkie from way back.
While he’s never made an all-out pass at Bonneville in this particular car, he did get the old Crosley up to 125mph in the standing mile. To put that into perspective, this is the sort of result you might expect from a 2000s-era Camaro. In fact, this Crosley holds a number of land speed records for its class.
The 263c.i. Buick Fireball Eight is an awesome, off-the-wall swap for a car like this. To deliver torque from the nearly seventy-year-old straight eight Steve’s mated a 5-speed from a Datsun 510 to the motor.
Suspension-wise Steve’s made use of a Mustang II front end while out back the Toyota theme is maintained with leaf springs out of the pickup the axle was borrowed from.
It’s certainly not a car for the purists and this is something Steve was quick to point out to us. He has a collection of other oddball Crosley’s, not to mention a healthy handful of other interesting cars, and he tells us that lots of collectors like to turn their nose up when they see something like this.
But, when Steve shows them what he started with, the guys usually admit that they would have just thrown the car out! Over the years Steve has salvaged plenty of bodies and chassis that were destined for the scrapper and turned them into real gems.
And to help lighten the mood, under the hood you’ll find a curious addition to all of Steve’s builds. Steve calls it a “Kentucky hot water tap” and says it’s where hillbillies get their hot water. Obviously, it serves no actual purpose besides to spark a conversation.
Looking inside the car, it’s all been done up in simple, period correct guise. He’s got a wolf-whistle horn and you’ll notice cupholders and other nice touches that make this car a good cruiser, too.
Enjoy the gallery below, and check back soon for a look at Steve’s ProStreet Falcon.