Crosley Motors

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Crosley Transferable (1939)

The Crosley Motors, Inc. was an American automobile manufacturer, which was based in Cincinnati , Ohio from 1939 to 1952 . There were also plants in Richmond, Indiana, and Marion, Indiana . The company was founded in 1939 as the Crosley Corporation by Powel Crosley jun. At the time, Crosley was the only small car manufacturer in the United States.


The industrialist Powel Crosley Jr. from Cincinnati, owner of the radio station Crosley Broadcasting Corporation and the baseball team Cincinnati Reds , had made a fortune first with cheap radios and later with other household appliances. Now he planned to build a cheap small car and built assembly plants in Richmond and Marion. In May 1939, the first car was shown at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway . It was a two-door convertible that weighed less than 450 kg and sold for $ 250. The vehicle was not granted a great sales success, but other body styles were offered in 1941.

The chassis had a wheelbase of 2,032 mm (80 "), the rigid front axle was suspended on semi-elliptical leaf springs and the rear axle on quarter elliptical. An air-cooled two-cylinder boxer engine from Waukesha with a fan built into the flywheel was used as drive . The engine power was via a sliding gear with three gears and an articulated drive shaft forwarded to the rear axle, so that the engine moved a little during compression.However, this design proved to be unreliable, and from early 1941 a universal joint was installed behind the transmission.

In 1941, the model range was expanded to include a four-seater convertible, a convertible sedan , a station wagon , a delivery van, a pickup and two models called Parkway Delivery (delivery van with a closed box without a roof over the front seats) and Covered Wagon (convertible pickup with removable rear seats). Crosley's first all-steel sedan, the Liberty Sedan , was introduced in 1942.

During World War II , when gasoline was rationed, the Crosley became particularly attractive because it only consumed 4.7 l / 100 km. Crosley Motors was the last automaker in the United States to cease production of civilian vehicles in 1942, partly because they wanted to allow customers to buy a Crosley for as long as possible to save gas, and partly because the War Production Board did some It took time to find a suitable area of ​​application for the small Crosley assembly plants.

Crosley CC station wagon (1948)
Crosley CD Station Wagon (1950) in the Central Texas Museum of Automotive History
Crosley Super Sport (1951)

In 1945 civil production was resumed at the Marion plant. The Richmond factory had been sold during the war. The new CC model had the chassis and chassis of the pre-war model, but a new engine and structure. The new streamlined pontoon body with Humpback tail was of at Sundberg & Ferrar in Royal Oak , Michigan has been designed. It was 3683 mm long, 1245 mm wide and 1499 mm high. The vehicle weighed 524 kg empty. The engine designed by Lloyd Taylor was built by Crosley during the war for applications such as generator drives on torpedo boats and aircraft. It was therefore very light with an aluminum crankcase and a short stroke and an overhead camshaft designed for high performance.

Crosley introduced a number of innovations into the US automotive industry, such as the first and sport utility called vehicle in 1948 (which, however, was an open vehicle on the basis of a station wagon and not a station wagon vans chassis), the first engine with an overhead camshaft in a large-scale production model in 1946, the first post-war car with smooth side surfaces in 1946, the first station wagon with an all-steel body in 1947, the first US car with disc brakes on all four wheels in 1949 and the first US sports car , the Hotshot , 1949. 1950 came the Farm-O Road model, a 1,600 mm wheelbase delivery truck that became the model for the John Deere Gator and other agricultural transport vehicles.

Pre-war models with air-cooled Waukesha two-cylinder boxer engine:

  • 1939: Series 1A with cabriolet and convertible sedan
  • 1940: Series 2A with limousine, deluxe limousine, coupé, “covered wagon” and station wagon
  • 1941: Series CB41 with sedan, deluxe sedan, coupé, “covered wagon” and station wagon
  • 1942: Series CB42 with convertible sedan, deluxe sedan, convertible and station wagon (all with 2 or 3 doors)

Post-war models with water-cooled CoBra four-cylinder in-line engine:

  • 1946: CC series with sedan and coupé
  • 1947: CC series with sedan, coupé and 3-door station wagon
  • 1948: Series CC with sedan, convertible sedan, “Sport Utility Sedan”, station wagon, delivery van and pickup

Post-war models with water-cooled CIBA four-cylinder in-line engine:

  • 1949: CD series with deluxe sedan, coupé, station wagon, pickup and delivery van; VC series with Hotshot Roadster and Super Sports Roadster
  • 1950: CD series with sedan, super sedan, coupé, super coupé, station wagon, super station wagon; VC series with “Hotshot” roadster and “Super Sports” roadster; Series FR with "Farm-O-Road" (and various modifications)
  • 1951: CD series with business coupé, super sedan, station wagon, super station wagon, super coupé; VC series with Hotshot Roadster and Super Sports Roadster; Series FR with Farm-O-Road
  • 1952: CD series with standard business coupé, super sedan, station wagon, super station wagon, super coupé; VC series with Hotshot Roadster and Super Sports Roadster; Series FR with Farm-O-Road

With 24,871 cars, 1948 was Crosley's best year. From 1949 sales fell, and the introduction of the Hotshot and the Farm-O-Road (a cross between a tractor and a jeep) in 1950 could not stop the decline. In 1952 only 1,522 Crosley vehicles were sold. On July 3, 1952, production ceased and the plant was sold to the General Tire and Rubber Company. From 1950 to 1952 vehicles were also manufactured at the Planta Reo de México in Mexico.

Despite its short construction period and small size, the Hotshot became known as a phenomenal sports car in its class. The hot shot not only won the Index of Performance in Sebring in 1951, but also the Grand de la Suisse in the same year. A Siata 300 Crosley engine won the 12-hour race of Vero Beach of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). Throughout the 1950s, Crosley engines dominated the 750 class, winning 10 out of 12 SCCA races on the west coast alone.


Crosley-CoBra engine complete with gearbox

The engine of the first Crosleys (type CA) was the model 150 from Waukesha , a side-controlled two - cylinder boxer engine with 580 cm³ displacement and 13.5 hp (10 kW), which was supplied by Waukesha Engines, Inc. in Waukesha, Wisconsin and in 1939 –1942 was used. Another source gives 3 " bore , 2.75" stroke and 38.87 cubic inches , which corresponds to 637 cc.

For the CC, which was built from 1946, it was replaced by the CoBra (for “Copper Brazed”, “copper-soldered”) with a displacement of 721 cm³ from our own production, a four-cylinder in-line engine with a vertical shaft driven overhead camshaft . This engine in turn gave way to the CIBA (for "Crosley Cast Iron Block Assembly") with a cylinder block made of cast iron in 1949 .

Crosley CoBra (1945-1949)

Crosley-CoBra cylinder block and valve cover

The CoBra engine (Copper Brazed, also known as “The Mighty Tin”) was originally designed by Lloyd Taylor of Taylor Engines in California for use in the military, for example for generating sets on board torpedo boats and B- 17 bombers developed. These engines with a relatively high compression ratio of 9: 1 had an output of 35 hp (26 kW) and were mainly used to drive generators, cooling compressors and the like. The crankcase was cast from aluminum, the cylinder block with the liners , cylinder head ( bag cylinder ) and cooling water jacket were a part made of sheet steel soldered instead of cast iron , as in most other engines. The aim was to achieve a constant and thin wall thickness in order to avoid hot spots around the combustion chamber, which could lead to spontaneous ignition of the mixture and thus to the engine ringing . The engine was very light: the engine and all its attachments, including the flywheel, weighed only 60 kg. The displacement was 721 cm³. For the CC Crosley the performance at 26 bhp (19 kW) was at 5,200 min -1 throttled. In the engines of automobiles, corrosion of the parts exposed to the cooling water became a problem. At that time, the frost protection in the cooling water was achieved by adding salt, which led to electrochemical corrosion of the steel parts soldered with copper. This ruined the reputation of the Crosley cars from 1946 and led to the development of the CIBA engine.

CIBA (1949-1952; 1955)

charged Crosley (Aerojet) -Rennmotor with attached Roots blower

The CIBA (Crosley Cast Iron Block Assembly) had a cast cylinder block that no longer rusted through and five main bearings instead of just three as with the CoBra with otherwise the same design. When Crosley Motors, Inc. was sold, the engine was renamed AeroJet and continued to be manufactured. Production of the AeroJet ended in 1955 and the manufacturing rights were sold to Fageol Motors , who then sold them on to various companies, which finally ended in 1972 with the Fisher Pierce Bearcat 55. Changes to use as a boat engine mostly included increasing the displacement and converting to operation with a vertical crankshaft.

In Europe, the Crosley-CIBA was used with great success in sports cars of the 750 series, for example in the Bandini 750 , with a modified cylinder head and two overhead camshafts, as well as in cars from Nardi and Siata.

Well-known Crosley drivers


Web links

Commons : Crosley  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. prospectus from 1948
  2. Crosley Hotshot and Super Sports at (English)
  3. Classic Car Catalog: Crosley 1940 (English, accessed October 3, 2018)