Written by Audrey Lee
“I’m a product of the fifties,” admits Harry Black. A resident at Garden Spot Village, Harry fulfills his time working in the Wood Shop. But he has a specific project: a lifelong lover of cars and vehicle restoration, Harry has the hots for the Crosley Hotshot, originally produced between 1949 and 1952. Harry has been working four to five hours a day in the Wood Shop to build a wood model of the Hotshot.
“I’ve been asked a lot about that car, and I realized that the people I was talking to weren’t even born,” he laughs. “I graduated from high school in 1956. Back then, new car introductions were more exciting than they are now. My friends and I used to sneak around car dealerships trying to find something ahead of a new car introduction.”
Harry caught the Hotshot fever when he was in high school – and all because of a practical joke. “The Crosley dealership was right along the main street sidewalk in town. Out in front on an angled display pad, was a Crosley Hotshot.” Reminiscing back to 1952, he explains, “There’s a lot of stories of putting Crosleys up on porches, and in teachers’ classrooms. Well, four of us were walking by, and we each picked up a corner of the car and turned it around. We didn’t run away or anything. We just thought it looked better!”
When he came to Garden Spot Village, Harry became involved in the Wood Shop. Providing Garden Spot Village residents with the materials, equipment and space to pursue their creative woodworking projects, the Wood Shop is a popular place on campus. Harry built a Mustang pedal car in the Wood Shop last year. “Why the Crosley?” he asked. “I restored cars in years past. Never did a Crosley, but I always thought I’d like to. And recently a good friend of mine restored a Crosley – not a Hotshot, but that got my mind going again on Crosleys. And then I thought, “Okay, I’m going to build that out of wood and have a Crosley.”
His process has been no less than painstakingly attentive to detail. Because Crosley Hotshots are rare, it can be hard to find one to base the model off of. Harry still found an ingenious solution: “My whole project has been to go online and find pictures of the Crosley Hotshot and scale them. Then I put it together.” While he says the model car will be “all show with no go,” he wants to put it in his two-car garage. “It’s going to be ivory with a red interior. Another Wood Shop member has a CNC machine in the Shop, and he was able to engrave the Crosley logo on the hubcaps and produce exact scale fender emblems.”
Since Harry’s love of cars can be traced back to the fifties, there’s been plenty of brands and models released since. Harry keeps up with it all: “I started going to the fall Hershey car meets in 1964, and frequently had a car on display.”
He also restored cars, rebuilding them from the ground up. While he never got to restore a Crosley Hotshot, Harry cites a 1932 Nash Victoria convertible model 970 as his favorite car he’s ever restored.
“It’s been fun. It’s all fun,” he says. Harry’s engagement in the Wood Shop found him a community at Garden Spot Village. He took the opportunity to follow his passion of the Crosley Hotshot – and it’s been a worthwhile, purposeful experience.