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Friday, June 26, 2015

This Brawny Bug is One of the Cutest, Rarest Jeeps Around



When we say “Jeep”… well, we don’t mean an actual Jeep. This teensy ute is what’s called a Crofton Brawny Bug. It was born of the early 1960s and it offered farmers, families and whomever a tough little vehicle that worked like a tractor, but at a fraction of the cost.
If teeny, spunky vintage off-roaders tug at your heartstrings, you’re in luck. This Brawny Bug is up for grabs online, and it’s claimed to be one of only 43 ever built. A shame it would be to rob this one of its spectacular view, though.


In essence, the Brawny Bug is the coolest, most off-road capable evolution of a breed which began with the Crosley car company, notable builders of the Crosley Convertible and the plucky little Farm-O-Road utility vehicle. Tragically, the Farm-O-Road arrived two years before Crosley ended production, but thanks to the saving graces of San Diego’s Crofton Marine Engine Company, it would continue to live on as the Crofton Bug.
These slightly stretched versions went into production in 1958, and came optional with snow plows, vinyl tops, Powr-Lok rear differentials, and dual wheels in the back. The Brawny Bug took it one step further and added off-road or floating tires, skid plates, and dual three-speed transmissions which permitted extra low gearing… all for around $1,800 in its day. The minute four-cylinder Crosley engine under the hood developed 35 horsepower with later versions mustering 45 horsepower and top speeds in the 50 mph range.


Approximately 200 Crofton Bugs (including Brawny Bugs) were built in total, and this one would appear to be nearing the end of a restoration. Rather amazingly, the seller claims it has 71,000 miles on the clock, which is almost a badge of honor for such a tiny workhorse.

Photo Credit: Crosley Automobile Club