Lot 157

Hershey 2018

1948 Playboy A48 Convertible


$132,000 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
  • An unusual and very rare American post-war microcar
  • The 88th of only 91 examples produced
  • Equipped with a retractable hardtop!
Addendum: Please note that this lot is now offered without reserve. Please also note that the title is in transit.

The brainchild of Louis Horwitz, a Buffalo Packard dealer; Charles Thomas, a Pontiac engineer; and service station owner Norman Richardson, the Thomas-designed Playboy made its debut at the Statler Hotel in Buffalo in the autumn of 1946. The prototype car was a three-passenger runabout with a canvas top, propelled by a rear-mounted Hercules four-cylinder engine. By the summer of 1947, they had changed to a front-engine configuration and were building a few Continental-powered cars, now with a manually operated retractable hardtop.

Franchises were sold and the trio managed to put together some 97 cars. Alas, they fared no better than all the others. Two stock promotions fizzled, and the assets of the company were sold at auction in the 1950s. The remaining cars, including the rear-engine prototype, the last car built and a wooden body buck, ended up with Alvin Trumbull, the Hartford, Connecticut, distributor, who sold many of them to a former dealer in Massachusetts. Reportedly the name was fondly remembered by one Hugh Hefner from his childhood . . . and the rest is history.

The current owner acquired this 1948 Playboy from a Florida collector who had owned it from the 1960s. The new owner had a bare-metal repaint done in a period Seafoam Green color, some eight years ago. The robust Continental engine runs well, and with its three-speed transmission and overdrive, it operates very well.

The Playboy remains an important and innovative example of the interesting genre of post-war startup motor cars. This is almost certainly the only example available for sale today.