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This is kind of a cool moment in automotive history: During the 1950s you could pick up a used Crosley compact (which originally sold for $325) and a complete kit from Almquist engineering ($275) to turn it into a fiberglass-bodied roadster race car: the Sabre. And now one of these beautiful roadsters is for sale.

It looks like Almquist advertised its bodies as fit for any 78-inch chassis. In its ads it named the Fiat 500 cc, American Bantam, and the Crosley. Crosley Motors Incorporated made compact, fuel efficeint cars from 1939 through 1952 right here in the U.S.A. The craze for oversized land yachts of the 50s put Crosley out of business. But it didn’t rob the company of several “firsts:” mass-produced overhead camshaft engine, first car with four-wheel caliper disc brakes, first “sports utility” branding for a jeep-like vehicle, and first post-war volume production sports car with the “hotshot.”

The classic Almquist Sabre Roadster currently for sale on Bonhams is built on a 1952 Crosley chassis in 1957. But in the past six decades, it has enjoyed a ton of tasteful modifications. It’s powered by a 1939 Ford “Flathead” V8 with three Stromberg carbs, bored over with a racing cam and racing pistons. Its manual four-speed gearbox is taken from a Mustang II and modified with closer gear ratios. Also from Ford is its open eight-inch differential. The steering gearbox is from a Corvair. All the suspension has been recently restored and the front discs upgraded to units form a Datsun B210.

But it still has the original Crosley’s gas tank and instrument cluster. Though the latter is set into a custom aluminum dash panel. My favorite feature is the very 1950s mooneye hubcaps and laker pipes. Those side exhaust pipes are actually driveshafts from 1936 Fords, cut down and polished up. Hotrod fabulous indeed.

Red vintage roadster body on a Crosley car.
1952 Crosley Almquist Sabre | Bonhams Auctions

As with many vintage racers, it has some modern engine cooling equipment. This includes an aluminum radiator, electronic water pump, and modern fan. As a result it reportedly has good oil pressure once it warms up (35-50 psi at idle) and runs very cool. Having done a bit of vintage racing, that alone is worth the price of admission.

All-in-all, this little Roadster is far from an original anything. Its got parts from at least a dozen different vehicles. But the result is a beautiful retro race car that, reportedly, can hit 110 mph on a race track. And I’ll bet its even more fun in the twisties.

See a different Almquist Sabre, this time done up withe a supercharger as a drag racing car, in the video below: