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All-wooden roadster up for bids on eBay

A super-rare and unique hand-built wood roadster went up for bids on eBay this week. The "Speedball Special" was originally built in 1959 and is now being auctioned by the St. Louis Car Museum.

A super-rare and unique hand-built wood roadster went up for bids on eBay this week. The car was originally built in 1959 and featured the rare 1952 Ariel Square Four motorcycle engine, a four-cylinder 1000cc engine that could produce 42 horsepower.
The St. Louis Car Museum is the current owner of the car and is putting it up for bids.

At press time, there were no bids on the one-off car. The listed “Buy It Now” price seemed to be a true bargain for this special car: $29,200. The description in the eBay listing reads:
“A truly one of a kind work of automotive art! Built by a west coast boat builder in 1959, this awesome wood car will complete any collection. The story behind the car is that the builder wanted a unique hotrod, one that reflected his superior woodworking skills along with his knowledge and love for boats. He started by building a wood body modeled after a Modern Mechanics Magazine article, then he sourced out an ultra rare 1952 Ariel Square Four motorcycle engine and transmission for the power. The suspension was taken from a Citroen of the era, and rest was all hand fabricated.

“Many parts are period correct new car pieces, the taillights are Cadillac, the headlights are generic part store replacements, and the fuel cell is a California Speed shop special.

Driving this car is an experience only a lucky few will ever have. Starting the engine is easy, just turn the key. The pedals are like that of a normal car, the shifter is a sequential 4 speed, braking is done by four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. The real fun is cruising around town and seeing the looks on people’s faces, accelerating thru the gears is exhilarating, but the car stays stable while doing so. The exhaust note is fantastic due to the hand built side exit pipes. Proper running lights for legal street driving where installed when the car was built, however comforts like climate control are absent.

After building and driving the vehicle for a short time the builder put the car in storage, and later sold the car to a Nevada collector. The car remained in the care of that collector until it was purchased by a friend of the museum during a Rare Motorcycle hunting trip to Vegas, shortly after the car was transported to St. Louis it was sold to the Museum. It is important to note the original condition of the vehicle, the high build quality and excellent care the car has received over the years has preserved it very well, a piece of Americana from a similar time of innovation and individual creativity. The car does have a clear Missouri title as a 1952 Ariel and carries the VIN from the motorcycles engine.”

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