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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

W.L. May Wednesday: A Report From Our Branches: Crosley Cars

A great post from our Seattle Branch: 

When you hear the brand name Crosley, what do you think of? You think of a radios, refrigerators, washers & dryers; but how about cars?

Crosley made cars, as somewhat of a sideline, from 1939-1952. They shared in the pioneering of automobile technology back then with, among other things, being the first to:
Mass-market single overhead camshaft (SOHC) engines in 1946
Use of the term 'Sport Utility' in 1948
American sports car, the Hotshot in 1949
The Farm-O-Road model in 1950, precursor to the John Deer Gator

During World War II, the Crosley became attractive because of gasoline rationing and the good mileage it could achieve: 50 miles per US gallon. Crosley was the last company to cease production of civilian vehicles in 1942, partly to aid Crosley sales to facilitate fuel conservation, and partly because the War Production Board needed time to determine a use for Crosley's small factories. The factories converted to produce the very top secret Mark 53 radar AA proximity fuse.  This was so secret that it was taken to the Lunken Airport in unmarked trucks to be flown to its final destination.  When in combat they were only used on ships so they could not be captured by enemy troops. Civilian car production resumed in 1948.

Humphrey Bogart liked a two-cylinder Crosley, President Dwight D. Eisenhower  had a 1951 CD Surrey, while Boy George preferred a VS Super Sport.

Military Pup
1949 Crosley Hotshot
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