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.