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
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.