Re: Charlie Nicholas Story

Jim Bollman

Jeff I forwarded your photo to Chet, here is his reply with more Charlie stories.


Many thanks for attaching the photo.  Charlie was very proud of his Crosley Flying Saucer.  He drove it to the Indianapolis 500 at least once and I recall it created quite a stir as a rather unusual small American car.  The color was very close to a British Racing Green.  The car came out only on special occasions but one would always see Charlie wearing his customary beige one piece coveralls.

Yes, his sense of humor was great, janitor he was as the shop was always clean.  Humor he had, automobile psychiatrist yes - he listened to hear automotive problems which he then confirmed and repaired.

Crosley’s were his love but his ‘Furrin’ car shop was always full of foreign marks.  He knew and understood them all.  Under Charlie’s tutelage I had the pleasure working on many.  Being short and stout, he always had his footstool at the ready to give him the added height to bend over a fender.  Where he found replacement parts for the foreign marks I have no idea, but UPS knew who and where we were for their deliveries.  Can you imagine anyone giving a 17 year old the opportunity to strip and install a new canvas top on an Austin Healey 100?  Charlie didn’t touch a thing and there was no removal and start over, and it was Charlie who watched me do it.  Charlie Nicholas was good and permitted many to fully enjoy their ‘different’ autos.  It is perhaps a little late, but ‘thank you’ Charlie.  And I appreciate you and your friends watching me siphon gas from a pickup parked at curbside in front of your home, only then did I see you - and you never uttered a word about it.


On Mar 24, 2020, at 8:11 PM, crosleyshortsport <crosleyshortsport@...> wrote:

Chet,  Here is a photo I took this past Autumn of Ted DellaCamera from Yankee Crosley Parts. He gave me a ride in the Flying Saucer !

On Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 7:47 PM Jim Bollman <Jim@...> wrote:
I got this eMail with others familiar with the Flying Saucer and Charlie Nicholas

On Mar 23, 2020, at 10:50 PM, Chet Tschetter wrote:

Today I received my weekly notice from Hyman Ltd. and saw the 1951 Crosley LeMans Team Racecar for sale.  I immediately thought of Charlie Nicholas and his “Flying Saucer”.  I then did bit of ‘googling’ and found your website.  I graduated from Fairmont High School in 1954 and occasionally worked for Charlie in 52, 53 and 54.  I only knew his shop on East Blue Earth Avenue and his home on Tilden Street.  Yes, and met Ruby many times.
Charlie was short and stout, had a hard time bending over a fender to service a normal car engine except a VW or a Porsche, or an MG or an Austin Healey. He also had a bit of a problem sliding under cars as his shop had no lift, only a creeper, standard floor jacks and stands.  I guess that is where I came in at 5’10” and 155 lbs.  I could bend over and crawl under and Charlie would issue instructions and away we went.
I remember his love of Crosleys, a small, economical, well engined, little 4-place car.  I also recall his appreciation of European engineering and his own attention to detail.  At that time it was fix it rather than to replace and I learned a lot from Charlie.  Oh, I could go on and on but won’t bore you with more.  Thanks for remembering Charlie and taking me back on this little trip as well.  Cheers.
Chet Tschetter


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