Category: Crosley

A Brief History of Crosley Motors

A Brief History of Crosley Motors


Crosley Motors was an American automobile manufacturer that was founded by Powel Crosley Jr. in 1939. The company was known for producing affordable and compact cars that were designed for economy and efficiency.

Powel Crosley Jr. was a successful businessman and inventor who had made his fortune in the radio and appliance industry. He saw an opportunity to produce a small, affordable car that would appeal to consumers who were looking for a more economical alternative to larger, more expensive cars.

In 1939, Crosley Motors introduced its first car, the Crosley CC. The Crosley CC was a small two-door sedan that was powered by a 26.5 horsepower four-cylinder engine. The car was designed to be affordable, with a base price of just $325.

The Crosley CC was a success, and the company went on to produce a range of other models, including the Crosley Station Wagon, the Crosley Super, and the Crosley Hotshot. The Crosley Hotshot was a sporty two-seater that was designed for racing, and it became popular among amateur racing enthusiasts.

Crosley’s all-steel Wagons were their best sellers (1947–1952) (Wikipedia)
1950 Crosley Hotshot (Wikipedia)

During World War II, Crosley Motors shifted its production to support the war effort. The company produced a range of products for the military, including radios, generators, and other equipment.

Crosley Farm O Road (Wikipedia)
with rear bed extension (Wikipedia)

After the war, Crosley Motors resumed production of its cars. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the company produced several popular models, including the Crosley Super Sport and the Crosley Farm-O-Road, which was a small utility vehicle that was designed for farmers and other rural workers.

1951 Crosley Super Sport (Wikipedia)


Crosley Motors produced a range of small and efficient engines that were designed to power its compact cars and other products. The company was known for its innovative engine designs and its focus on economy and efficiency.

The first engine used by Crosley Motors was a two-cylinder air-cooled engine that was used in the company’s first car, the Crosley CC. This engine was designed to be lightweight and compact, and it produced 13 horsepower. The engine was made from aluminium and was very efficient, allowing the Crosley CC to achieve excellent gas mileage.

Crosley CoBra Engine Complete with Transmission (Wikipedia)

In 1946, Crosley Motors introduced a new engine, the CoBra (Copper Brazed), which was a four-cylinder water-cooled engine. The CoBra engine was designed to be more powerful and efficient than the previous two-cylinder engine. It produced 26.5 horsepower and was made from copper-brazed steel, which made it very durable.

In 1949, Crosley Motors introduced another new engine, the CIBA (Cast Iron Block Assembly), which was a four-cylinder water-cooled engine that was designed to be even more powerful than the CoBra engine. The CIBA engine produced 44 horsepower and was made from cast iron. It was used in several Crosley models, including the Crosley Super and the Crosley Hotshot.

One of the most innovative engines produced by Crosley Motors was the CoBra Marine engine, which was used in small boats. This engine was based on the CoBra car engine, but it was modified for marine use. It was very lightweight and compact, and it was designed to be easy to maintain.

Despite its early success, Crosley Motors faced several challenges in the 1950s. The company struggled to compete with larger car manufacturers, and it faced financial difficulties. In 1952, Crosley Motors announced that it would be discontinuing its car production.

How a Tiny Crosley Hotshot Beat Ferrari and Jaguar To Win the First Sebring Race – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


Briggs Cunningham prepared his stable of entries. Luigi Chinetti and Alfredo Momo looked over the Ferrari they would drive. John Fitch, Jim Kimberly, Fred Wacker, Phil Walters, and Bill Spear, they all circulated through the pits as exhaust notes from Jaguars, Astons, and MGs rapped, roared, and rumbled. The former Hendricks Army Airfield buzzed with activity as American sports car racing’s most well-known names of the time gathered for the first race of what was billed as America’s counterpart to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, each driver and car owner as confident as the rest of their abilities to win the race.

Even the trio gathered around a 1949 Crosley Hotshot way down at the back of the 28-car field, a car that had only been entered in the race a day before and that had an advantage the far more powerful cars ahead of it didn’t: math.

Alec Ulmann had taken part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans many times before World War II and after immigrating to the United States looked for a place to replicate the famed race. Though its surface was bumpy and better suited to the B-17 bombers that flew out of the base during the war, Ulmann decided to focus his efforts on the runways and access roads of what had become Sebring’s municipal airport. His initial effort, slated for December 31, 1950, didn’t have the length of Circuit de la Sarthe (3.5 miles versus 8.4) or the duration (six hours versus 24) but it would have a Le Mans-style running start, the blessing of the SCCA, the aforementioned drivers and owners, and an index of performance.

At many other endurance races before and since, overall winners completed the most laps in the given amount of time. Different classes of cars might take to the track at the same time and have their own separate class winners, but the method of winning still boiled down to the same criteria of distance covered. With the index of performance, which set a target distance to cover based on the vehicle’s engine displacement and which would be the sole deciding factor for the overall winner of the race, Ulmann intended to level the playing field and ensure that smaller cars could compete against larger cars. As Sports Illustrated explained the index a few years later, the index actually favors small cars.

No. 19 in race trim. Photo via Bill Cunningham.

The small cars … can generally exceed their set minimum average by a wider margin than the big ones. Thus, if you are driving a 66 cu. in. machine and have to average 58 mph, it is easier to up this average by 10 mph than with a 330 cu. in. car which must average 70 mph, all pit stops included.

Nobody at the race seemed to realize the full implications of Ulmann’s decision to declare the overall winner based on the index of performance until Tommy Cole laid eyes on a most unusual car. Cole, who had entered a Cadillac-powered Allard J2 in that inaugural Sebring race and who had raced at Le Mans earlier that year, needed tires and called around Florida Cadillac dealerships until somebody at Vic Sharpe’s Cadillac dealership in Tampa answered the phone. Sharpe also held the local Crosley franchise, and his son, Vic Sharpe Jr., volunteered to drive the tires down to Sebring in a Crosley Hotshot on the dealership lot. Almost as soon as Sharpe arrived, according to Ken Breslauer’s account of that first Sebring race, Cole looked over the Hotshot, questioned Sharpe about its cast-iron overhead-camshaft 724-cubic-centimeter four-cylinder, and asked to take it around the track that Ulmann had laid out.

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1954 Crosley Powered Roadster Proposal Resulted in “Panda”- Monium – @UndiscoveredClassics


Crosley Powered Roadster Proposal Resulted in “Panda”- Monium
By Robert D. Cunningham

Following Crosley Motor’s 1952 demise, it seemed as if the glut of intrepid entrepreneurs who gave birth to dozens of postwar baby cars was nowhere to be found. Then, Norwegian immigrant Finn S. Hudson stepped forward. Hudson was a mechanical engineer and one of few former Crosley dealers to come up with a viable plan to keep the Crosley dealer network afloat.

In February 1953, he established Small Cars, Inc. in an outlying section of Kansas City, Missouri. His stated purpose was to manufacture and distribute the Panda, a Crosley-based “small utility vehicle” — so described because of the public’s resistance to the term “sports car.” But Hudson’s Panda truly would be a sports roadster powered by the durable Crosley engine.

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Hemmings Find of the Day – 1951 Crosley Super Sport – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


26.5 hp, 4 cylinder engine, 3 speed manual transmission. I purchased this from the estate of the second owner. Clean! only 19,000 miles, no rust, paint has some blemishes I can’t say for sure but I have been told it has the orignal paint. Runs good. Chrome is in great condition with optional front bumper guards and chrome wheel trim rings. The convertible top is in good condition along with side zipper-in-place windows and convertible top boot cover. Engine has been fitted with adapter for modern oil filter. Comes with a clear NYS registration.

See the listing here


Cheap Fun: 1952 Crosley Super Sport


Cheap Fun: 1952 Crosley Super Sport

There probably isn’t a single one of us here who doesn’t dream of finding a Cobra or some other super rare roadster hiding in a barn, but the truth is, very few of us will ever have that kind of experience. That doesn’t mean that there still aren’t a lot of other great finds out there, many of which fit into any budget. Sometimes the budget finds are just as much, if not more fun, than the expensive ones anyway. Sure this 1952 Crosley Super Sport won’t ever beat a Cobra in a race, but it would bring just as many smiles to my face as any high dollar exotic. The fact that I could drive it like I stole it and not have to worry about breaking any speed limits would be a massive plus. This one is going to need a lot of work before it will be ready to be driven hard, but there really isn’t a lot to these little cars. Find it here on eBay in Houston, Texas with bidding at $2,000.