1948 Crosley Station Wagon
It was a simple idea: make a small, basic car which would be cheap to operate and soon the world would be clamoring for it. Unfortunately, this was in 1939 and in the automotive world at this time, this was a weird idea. Powel Crosley, Jr., however, was a man who was used to having weird ideas and his ideas had made him a fortune. In 1939, he incorporated Crosley Motors and began assembling mini-cars in Richmond Indiana. The first Crosley was a two-door convertible. It weighed less than 1,000 pounds and sold for $250. In the beginning, his idea was for these small cars to be sold in department stores that also sold his radios and refrigerators: since the car was only 48 inches wide, it could be moved through a standard commercial store door. While there were some stores, such as Macy's in New York, that displayed Crosley automobiles next to the Crosley refrigerators, the idea of selling cars in department stores did not really catch on. According to some reports, Mrs. Averell Harriman was the first Macy's customer to buy a Crosley.
For consignment, from a manufacturer thinking ahead of its time by offering subcompact cars to the American consumer. Crosley Motors had a small niche in the crowded auto marketplace of postwar America. The best year for Crosley was 1948 when 24,871 cars were sold and this car before us is one of them. While most Americans were living under the guise of bigger is better, Crosley hit a homerun with the same mantra my beloved bride has become accustomed to, size doesn't matter. Purchased from a museum with some custom touches for the paint and lighting all the while retaining the mini-car charm that is strictly Crosley, read on and indulge in something small yet satisfying.
Small but any stylish would best describe this half scale station wagon. This example, well restored and bathed in red, shows a few flaws in the form of pops in the clear coat of the roof but still retaining a deep lustrous shine. Otherwise, all straight steel with well minded gaps present nicely as this mini wagon does a splendid job emulating the looks of the wagons produced by the larger, (both in size and volume), automakers of the day. Much smaller scale though but still using the curved hood, integral fender mounted rounded headlights and split mesh style grille. Long, (think relatively), slab sides are now adorned with custom airbrushed woodgrain inserts, starting small at the front fender and sweeping out along the doors before culminating into beautiful reddish brown mahogany, fitting perfectly into the indented rear quarter panels. Chrome is kept to a minimum with only the bumpers, mirror, and emblems shining brightly in the sea of red. Lightly smoked glass surrounds the passenger compartment and on the back is more airbrushed wood on the dual opening tailgate which is flanked by custom LED tail/signal lights. Red painted 12-inch wheels with chrome Crosley moon capped centers are on all 4 corners and are wrapped in blackwall 155R12 rubber.
Swinging open the light but long, again relative, doors we see 2 low back buckets covered nicely in black vinyl and in the back we see simple black covered panels along with the red wheel houses and a full size spare tire. These are fronted by a red metal dash with more custom woodgrain airbrush work along with twin round gold faced Crosley gauges in front of the driver. In the center is a brushed metal finish radio delete plate along with a few knobs and the ignition. Facing the passenger is a gold mesh speaker grille. Clean black carpeting floods the floors and from under the dash rises the long arm black shifter. More black vinyl for the inserts on the doors, which are surrounded by red steel with a spattering of airbrushed wood. Chrome actuators grace these doors but alas, the windows don't wind down, they just slide halfway open. Rounding out the tour, a black headliner hangs tightly above and is highlighted by chrome divider strips.
A lift of the mini hood reveals an all buttoned up and fully restored gasoline engine. This sums up as a 44ci 26.5hp 4-cylinder powerplant. This was a tiny, but very potent and surprisingly durable engine. It had a very long production life that surpassed Crosley by decades. The engine is backed up by a three-speed transmission which sends power to a 5.17 geared rear axle. This engine bay can best be described as pristine!
No runs drips or errors and even no rust under here as it has been meticulously restored. Leaf spring suspension is seen fore and aft, and mechanically actuated drum brakes are noted on all 4's. A stock style single exhaust system is on to handle spent fossil removal.
You will not hit any breakneck speed, but you will have plenty of power to haul stuff around as well as two slightly overweight Classic Auto Mall employees. It fired right up and idled very smoothly. It honestly rides like a buckboard, but then again how far are you really going to go?! All was running nicely, although the temperature and oil pressure gauges were inoperable at the time of the test drive.
A not oft seen example of a mini-car that has all the styling of the big boys rolling down main street. Add in some custom airbrushed woodgrain, a clean interior, and you'll be the belle of the ball at your next car meet. Swing by our Hallowed Halls and get on board with my wife...Bigger isn't always better.
Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special interest automobile showroom, featuring over 650 vehicles for sale with showroom space for up to 1,000 vehicles. Also, a 400 vehicle barn find collection is on display.
This vehicle is located in our showroom in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, conveniently located just 1-hour west of Philadelphia on the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike. The website is www.classicautomall.com and our phone number is (888) 227-0914. Please contact us anytime for more information or to come see the vehicle in person.