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The Crosley is an automobile manufactured by the Crosley Corporation and later by Crosley Motors Incorporated in the United States from 1939 to 1952. (It must not be confused with the Crossley made by Crossley Motors of Manchester, England.)


Industrialist Powel Crosley Jr. of Cincinnati, Ohio, owner of a broadcasting company and the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, had ambitious plans to build a compact car and developed assembly plants at Richmond, Indiana, and Marion, Indiana. In May, 1939, the first car was shown at the Indianapolis Speedway. It was a two-door convertible that weighed under 1000 lb (450 kg) and sold for $250. It wasn't an instant success, but in 1941 more body styles were introduced.

The chassis had an 80-inch (203 cm) wheelbase, half elliptic springs with beam axle in front and quarter elliptics in the rear. The power came from a two-cylinder Waukesha air-cooled engine that had the fan as a part of the flywheel. The engine was connected with a three-speed transmission and then directly via a torque tube to the rear axle, thus eliminating the need for joints.

In 1941 the body styles available were expanded to include two- and four-passenger convertibles, a convertible sedan, a station wagon, a panel truck, a pickup, and two models called "Parkway Delivery" (a mini-panel with no roof over the front seat) and "Covered Wagon" (a convertible pickup truck with a removable back seat).

During World War II, the Crosley became attractive because of gasoline rationing and the good mileage (50 miles per U.S. gallon, 5 L/100 km). Crosley was the last company to cease production of civilian vehicles in 1942, partly to allow car buyers the opportunity to purchase as many Crosleys as possible to aid in fuel rationing, and partly because the War Production Board needed some time to determine a useful purpose for Crosley's small factories.

Civilian car production resumed in 1945, but only at the Marion plant; the Richmond facility had been sold during the war years. The Crosley HotShot was the first post-war sports car produced in the United States. It was also the first U.S. car to have disc brakes.

With 24,871 cars sold, the best year was 1948. Although there were four models, including the Crosley Hotshot and a combination farm tractor and 4X4 road vehicle called the Farm-O-Road, sales continued to decline. In 1952, only 1522 Crosley cars were sold. Production ceased that year, and the plant was sold to the General Tire and Rubber Company.

The Crosley Hotshot won the first Sebring endurance sports car race in 1950.

Discontinued Models

Crosley Hot Shot

Crosley FarmORoad

Crosley Series 1A

Crosley Series 2A

Crosley Series CB41

Crosley Series CB42

Crosley CC Four

Crosley CD Four

See Also

External Links