Renaissance man? Free thinker? Mad scientist? Maybe all of the above. Cheston Eshelman crashed into the inventing entrepreneurship scene. Literally. In 1939, at the age of 23, he crash-landed a monoplane on a “flight to mars”, which inspired the design of a wingless aircraft, for which he won a patent. His successes were also in the fields of garden tractors and miniature cars.
In the years immediately following the cessation of World War II hostilities, Eshelman set up shop in Baltimore, building personal tractors, before moving into scooters and eventually, by 1953, in to his diminutive, personal car design. It promised seating for one, 70mpg and all at a fraction of the cost of a regular car.
The car was powered by an air-cooled Briggs & Stratton engine, a centrifugal clutch, a single-speed belt drive, and four-wheel mechanical paddle brakes acting directly on the tires. A cam device locked all brakes down for parking. With 8.5bhp on tap, 25mph was attainable, though at a little over 5 feet in length, I’m sure would be terrifying in today’s traffic.
The Deluxe model offered here, designated by the rocket side trim, is from 1956, and presents beautifully in two-tone white over baby blue with white seat cushion. An older restoration has held up very well, and is now in a nice, consistent and settled patina. Obviously, minimally used, the car is a wonderful slice of American pop-culture and represents a fantastic and rare opportunity to add to any discerning collector’s garage.