Thursday, January 15, 2009

Nostalgic Subcompact: Crosley

1947 Crosley

The folks over at Modern Mechanix have posted a review of the "new" 1947 Crosley from a issue of Modern Mechanix magazine. It's a pretty cool vintage article about a very tiny little car.

For those unfamiliar with Crosley, here are the cliff notes:

The Crosley Corporation built some very small vehicles from the 1930s through the 1950s. Some of these vehicles were so tiny, it's kind of amazing they were even street legal.

There were a variety of body styles including sedans, convertibles, pickups, and wagons, and they were all small--really small. However, with their diminutive size came good mileage. Crosleys could be hypermiled to achieve 50+ mpg--and this was the 1940s! There were a variety of engines ranging from air-cooled two cylinders to water-cooled four cylinders. Crosley even had a winning racecar, the Hotshot, which won Sebring in 1951. Crosley-powered racecars were also successfully campaigned in various SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) classes.

These fuel-efficient vehicles were great during during a war-time economy (think gas rationing). Auto production was suspended during WWII, but resumed afterward, however, it wasn't as fruitful as pre-war times. Crosley closed up shop in 1952, but not before leaving its mark in automotive history.

Like many vintage cars, Crosleys have a devout following, and there are many Crosley clubs and Web sites. (Be sure to check out the Wiki page in the links sections, which has a lot of info about the car, and a lot of links to learn more about these vehicles.)

Thanks to Noel for the story idea!

Crosley Wikipedia page
MI Tests the "new" 1947 Crosley


nlpnt said...

You're welcome!

Like I said over on Modern Mechanix, the postwar Crosleys aren't THAT small in terms of length and height, about the same length and floor-to-ceiling height as a Yaris hatch, but are amazingly narrow.

The prewar two-cylinger models are a different beast entirely and are mind-blowingly tiny in every dimension.

Andy Lilienthal said...

I had a co-worker that had one of the two-cylinder models. Unfortunately, I never saw it in person. I did see pics, and it was almost like a Shriner car!