Does Curbside Classic have the most comprehensive history of Crosley on the Internet? If not, we’re surely pretty high up on the list. Jeff Nelson’s excellent article on the history of the brand is a must-read if you want to know about America’s home-grown microcar company what went against everything that American manufacturers were doing (and brought us something that looked like it belonged in France). Now you too can experience a Crosley, provided you’re strong of stomach and wallet.
Our featured model is a beautifully restored 1950 Roadster model finished in mellow yellow with a red marine-quality interior. The five-digit odometer shows an indicated 26,265 miles. Being a 1950 model, the engine is a 721 cc Cast Iron Block Assembly (CIBA) four cylinder engine producing 27 horsepower, mated to a three-speed manual transmission. Standard equipment includes a steering wheel that seems to be bigger than the wheels it’s connected to, full instrumentation (if you don’t need a tachometer), a radio and the labor of a man who claims to have restored cars for the last 45 years.
From the pictures you can tell that it really has been restored to a very high standard. The paint shows that no expense was spared in restoring it to its original glory. According to the seller, the top is Hartz Cloth and completely new, as is the back window and the wiring loom. It comes with radial tires, a new wiring loom, and a rebuilt engine. Hydraulic drum brakes also make an appearance. Really, if you want a microcar there’s only one drawback: the price. No point in beating around the bush, it’s $25,000.
Personally I’m not particularly fond of microcars, as they’re more often a product of a society that needs them rather than wants them and as such, the compromises are high. Consider the single front door of the Issetta, the seating arrangement of the Messerschmitt KR200, and the lack of power which defined both of them. That’s not to say they did not fulfill their intended purpose using some rather clever engineering, but the only reason you’d drive one today is if you’re really really passionate about them.
And boy do you have to be passionate to spend twenty-five grand on one. Just so you know, this Mercedes CLS is also on sale on eBay with a list price of $25,000. I’m also willing to bet that our Crosley’s restorer is still making a bit of a loss on his project. He must’ve known that it was not economically viable, so why would he even do it? The listing gives us an answer.
MY WIFE WANTED ME TO RESTORE THE CAR BECAUSE SHE THOUGHT IT WAS CUTE.
Godspeed man, I salute you. The listing is here if you want to take a look or share it with someone who likes microcars. Me? I’ll take that AMG CLS, even though I’m sure it’d stiff me for another ten grand of repairs the second I were to drive it off the lot.
While I’m not the microcar type, I sure am glad that someone so dedicated and so talented has restored one to such a high standard. Quality work, and gives a good idea of what these little guys must have looked like showroom-new. it does have some charm!
Showroom new condition? Not to be seen in this example, its WAY BETTER than any Crosley ever looked in the showroom! Not even the very cars Powell Crosley himself likely ever drove looked this fine. As far as showroom, these car were handled by Crosley dealer who also sold the company’s refrigerators, freezers and radios…….were as well finished as your average appliance.
Where I’m impressed is that it has the original engine – or at least an absolutely correct replacement. Most Crosley’s I’ve run across invariably have a more modern drivetrain (1200cc Datsun anyone?) just so the car would be driveable at something resembling modern highway speeds. I don’t think you can really run one of these with an original engine much over 45mph.
Would make a good car for $4 plus per gallon era , for running around town in. Back in 1950, this sort of car was not the norm. The only other car to compete with is the Rambler Metropolitan, just a bit later.
The Metropolitan had double the displacement and double the power by the end of its run, but that was quite a few years later. Crosley engines were used in some European sports and racing cars though, like this Siata.
The Crosley sheet metal engine was also used on Mooney light weight air craft…
Dad bought a Crosley right after he got out of the Army in Oct, 1945. Cars were hard to get but he was able to buy one of these. He would smile when he mentioned it, don’t know if it was new or how long he had it but he liked it. He said you didn’t get into it, you wore it.
There is something I can appreciate about any car. After decades I am still searching for it with Crosley.
Crosleys actually fit into today’s other CC article on delivery beaters. These convertibles or coupes were never seen on the road, but Crosley station wagons and panels were common in the ’50s. They often served The Ice Cream Man or grocery delivery.
I still taste Creamsicles when I see a Crosley!
Does the prop spin?
Yes. It’s passively spun by the wind when the car’s moving forward.
Ok that’s the absolutely coolest feature of this car!
Not usually a fan of microcars, but will always make an exception for the 49-50 Crosley.
As a kid in the mid ’70s we had a neighbor for a few years who had a green station wagon. To the best of my recollection it was always a project, and I don’t remember ever seeing it run, but it seemed like a perfect sized car if you were 8. 🙂
For contrast, the other half of their garage was home to a K5 Blazer.
I actually owned a Crosley station for a short while. I think it was a 1950, but can’t remember for sure. I bought it from our landlord while I was attending graduate school at Oregon State University in Corvallis…that would have been in 1962. It was red with white trim. After one trip down the road to Monroe I decided that it was a little on the slow side, towed it to western Washington, and sold it to a wrecking-yard pal for the same $50 I’d paid for it.
Being 6′ 1 and a half and a Vanessa Feltz look a like I’ll have one for each foot
I like tiny cars but Crosleys were wretched IMO .
Nice to see so many being saved and restored though .