Junior central

1958 Firemite

click on any picture to enlarge it

Big and little
Sales meeting
Huntsville AL.
Hillside CA.
Philly PA.
Original postcard.
original color photo

    Back in the days when the new car introduction was a real event dealers were always looking for ways to get customers in their door. Someone must have really been thinking back in 1957 when they came up with the idea for the Firemite! As a promotional tool it was great! One dealer, Lori motors of Hempstead NY. even gave one away with each station wagon it sold.others gave free rides to the kids and the parents had to come along. While the kids waited in line for a ride the parents got to talk to a salesman. (Lucky them) dealers would pull such stunts as putting one in the back of a truck and bringing it down to the local grade school during recess. Coupons would be handed out for a free test drive of a Firemite and the trap was set. Since they were introduced in November of 1957 they were often given away as door prizes for Christmas, of course the parents had to fill out the entry form. They saw use in parades and even Christmas displays and television shows. The only literature that I am aware of shows an illustration of the car as a 1957 series not a 58. (The 1958 cars had not been released yet)

Built to fall apart?

    While the cars were good looking they could not handle the pressures of use. Many of them had cracked bodies before they were even received by the dealers that ordered them. Instead of using fiberglass bodies the bodies were made with polystyrene plastic that was vacuum formed. In the cold of winter the bodies would freeze and crack when handled. The fact that a small gas engine powered them did not help! Add in some bumps in the road and some poor driving skills and they did not stand a chance. I have personally tracked down 6 of them in Iowa alone and they all have the same story. The body busted up and then we ran it till it would go no more and then the chassis was discarded. There are currently 3 of them known to exist but I am sure that more of them are out there hiding. What condition they are in is anyone's guess. Of the 3 that have survived 1 of them has a fiberglass body. Was this the prototype? Recently found information would tend to lead us down another path.
According to this site the Robel Corporation was given the task of fixing the problem of the cracking bodies. Fiberglass was a new industry back then and not many people were very good at it. We don't currently know but evidently some of the bodies were replaced with fiberglass ones.
follow the link at the bottom of this page to visit the Robel website

Details of construction

    The car was done In 3/8 scale that breaks down to 6 ˝ feet long, 33 inches wide, and 19 inches tall 29 inches if you count the windshield. The motor was a 2 hp Briggs and Stratton type 6-B that could be acessed through a opening decklid to put gas in and start it. There was a kill switch on the rear quarter along with in on the dash. The frame was all steel nd had a 44 7/8 inch wheelbase with 2 inch road clearance. The 10" X 2.75" whitewall tires rode on ball bearing rims. Headlights horn and 2 taillights per side were run by a pair of 6 volt hotshot batteries
After many years of research i have still been unable to determine who made these little jewels! and how many were made is anybodies guess. If you have one you want to sell my email link is at the bottom of the page

Houston TX.
Charlestown WV.
Detroit MI.
Clinton IA.
Evansville IN.
Aunt Jus TV show.
Robel flyer.
Robel flyer back.

Link to Robel website

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Use of images and information on this website for Magazine articles/car club newsletters

If you want to use information or images from this website for magazine articles please contact me so that I can help by providing more information addition images or Higher resolution images. So little is known about these little cars that education of the collecting public can only help find more of them and find more parts or parts sources for them. Generally I only ask for of a copy of the final issue and mention of the website in the article in return. Even though promotional cars have been around for a long time they have only recently become very collectable. Any article written about them can only help to find “Automotive archeologists” With information on these rare and unusual mini cars

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These are common and sometimes uncommon ways to mis-spell the primary words on this site! I provide this as a service to the phonically challenged because they are people too! Or maybe they have a typing handicap like myself. Corvete, Crysler, Chrystler, Christler, Desota, De Sota, Desotoe, Desoda, Dasoda, Edsil, fibre, fibreglass, Gokart, Go-kart, go kart, Mo Par, Mustange, mircury, Peddel, Peddal, Peddle, pedel, Plymoth, Plimoth, Plimouth, powercar, power car, Tbird, T-bird, Thunderchicken