Saturday, May 12, 2012

New Book: Crosley and Crosley Motors

Crosley and Crosley Motors

An Illustrated History of America's First Compact Car and the Company that Built It

ISBN: 978-1583882931
The subtitle may generate some discussion here and there.  Certainly there was the American Austin, and its successor the American Bantam.  And the Willys Americar coupe.  But what constitutes a compact?  There's one "official" definition by wheelbase, but there are many opinions and cars to fit them, ranging from 60-inch wheelbase autos to 110-inchers.  I'll have some things to say about all this another time.  In the meantime, here's this new book...

Published by Iconografix, it has 126 pages, just about 200 photos and 40,000 words.  Well over half the photos and images are color, giving this volume perhaps the record for color in a book of this type.  I'll share some images from it here and elsewhere later on.  I enjoyed writing it, and included a number of photos that had never been published, as well as info that will be new to many (like Powel Crosley, Jr.'s, scams in the auto accessories business).  I hope readers enjoy it as much.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Available in Aprl 2012, Crosley: A Fine Car has 120 pages and over 200 photos. Plus 40,000 words. Lots of information and a number of photos that you haven't seen!

Available through any bookstore, or at direct from the publisher, OR direct from the author

ISBN: 978-1583882931

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Flying Crosley

Several aircraft designers succeeded in building workable flying cars during the 20th Century, but none caught on. Price was one roadblock to success. Another was the fact that no matter how many times Mechanix Illustrated and similar magazines published photos or drawings of flying cars serenely making there way above snarling traffic jams, there was always the danger of too many aircraft. Can you imagine just 10 percent of automobile drivers going airborne? The stupid mistakes, the air rage, the breakdowns--thousands would be killed every years.

Still designers and manufacturers continue to try. Until some science-fictional crash or stasis field can be perfected--something that will absorb all the energy of a collision or crash--I don't think we'll see flying cars as daily drivers.

Powel Crosley never built a flying car, though he did own over a dozen airplanes in his time. And his famous COBRA engine powered the Mooney Mite, a single-place airplane (breaking cranks and other problems had Mooney switching to Lycoming powerplants). A Crosley engine also provided ground-power to two Consolidated Vultee (aka Convair) flying cars. Dubbed the ConvAirCar, Convair's idea was to unitzed the whole system. An independent fiberglass car body (shown here) had a Crosley CIBA engine in the rear, and onto it could be strapped a wing with booms, tail and control surfaces--and a big Lycoming aircraft engine.

It was ill-fated. One crashed when the pilot ran out of aircraft gas--he was watching the automobile gas gauge rather than the avgas gauge. The second was given to an aircraft museum, which burned down. More on this in later posts.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Do you like firetrucks? Do you like Crosleys? You may enjoy the auction of a 1951 Crosley ladder truck from 2010 by Barrett-Jackson auctions. It went for $100,000. The amusement park ride was built by Overland Amusements of Lexington, Massachutsetts. You can watch the auction at the link below:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

At the Museum

I visited the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum outside Savannah, Georgia, earlier this month. It's the only museum I know of that exhibits a Crosley CT-3 "Pup." Most reading this will know that the Pup was one of Crosley's miniature war machines, developed as an air-droppable battlefield transport. There was room for the driver and one passenger, along with a few cubic feet of miscellany. The Pup was a two-wheel drive machine, propelled by a 13.5-horsepower Waukesha engine. If the fenders look like they're sagging, that's because they are; they're made of canvas. (Click here for more information about the Pup.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crosley and Tucker, Together?

Given a choice, most people back proven winners. Others like to take a long shot, like Lawrence Motors in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, did in 1948.

Or maybe it wasn't a long shot to Mr. Lawrence. The Tucker had been marketed as the car of the future, a fabulous dream machine. The Crosley was another dream machine, of the bargain basement sort. To an optimistic person, Tucker and Crosley was a real dream team, offering cars for the low-end and middle class markets.

I can't say conclusively, but Lawrence Motors of Newcastle may have been the only Tucker-Crosley dealer anywhere. I hope the company sold a lot of Crosleys.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Foto de Antigua Auto Crosmobile

The export version of the Crosley automobile was named the "Crosmobile." I've seen one in person, but it may have been a standard Crosley with the badges change. It looked like other Crosleys of its vintage, save for the Crosmobile badging. I understand that that is the only difference.

A good number of Crosmobiles were manufactured in Mexico (I believe I posted some of the details here). I've read or heard reports of Crosmobiles in Mexico, Cuba, Japan, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Argentina, Columbia, the Antilles (which may include the Bahamas and Jamaica), Belgium, and Italy. (Also, Puerto Rico, along with "straight" Crosleys.) So I wasn't surprised to see the photo here offered for sale at Argentina's version of eBay. You can find it here:
(Does anyone know whether any Crosleys in Canada were badged "Crosmobile?" Crosleys in additional countries?)