Dean Weller Special: 1948 Crosley Micro Car

Dean Weller’s retirement avocation was running Grandpa’s Garage in De Soto, Kansas. Weller was a car customizer extraordinaire. His primary interest was Model A’s, but over the years he tackled an Edsel, a Lincoln, and a DeSoto, among others. Some of the cars were replicas of very special cars on common chassis; others vaguely resembled their original bodies, on original running gear. For instance, “America’s Sweetheart” was a Model A made entirely of scrolled wrought iron. Here on eBay, is Dean Weller’s one and only 1948 Crosley for sale, currently bid to $3,383, reserve not met. This diminutive car is located in Sioux City, Iowa. Of course, T.J. sent us this tip – master of oddballs that he is.

Powel Crosley of radio fame began making cars in 1939. The early four-cylinder motors were made of brazed stamped tin, which caused the welds to fly apart when hot. The brakes utilized aluminum parts that corroded when roads were salted in the winter. These phenomena did not do much for Crosley’s reputation. Crosley did introduce a conventional cast-iron four-cylinder engine in 1949 for the Hotshot, and this lump was retrofitted to many client cars. If you had a “modernized” engine, it carried an “R” stamped in front of a new engine number, indicating “rebuilt”. Our subject car started life with one of the early CoBRA (copper brazed) motors, but it shows the tell-tale “R” leading the engine number, so it’s probably cast iron. Whatever is in there, it produces about 26.5 bhp, making the Crosley scoot up to 80 mph. This car runs although the clutch chatters; the brakes do work. The owner has driven it minimally since he purchased it.

This car comes with a custom body designed and built by Weller. It has no top. The fender skirts are removable. The mechanical details are meticulously recorded by Weller in the build book accompanying the car. The seller indicates he bought the car in Kansas. The Plain Dealer, a newsletter put out by the Model A club in Shawnee, Kansas, ran an ad in November of 2019, wherein Weller was holding a dispersal sale including some 27 cars, including this Crosley. Unfortunately, Dean Weller passed away in 2021.

The cosmetics look great. The paint shines, and the undercarriage is as clean as I have ever seen. Barn Finds has covered a few vehicles lately that are particularly unique and this Crosley certainly qualifies. A normal Crosley is weird enough, but a custom – well, you are just not going to see another one coming at you down the block.

Comments

  1. Denny N. Member

    If anybody cares, Mr. Crosley’s first name was spelled with ONE L (Powel).

    Like 4
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Thanks, I fixed it. Didn’t mean to delete your comment, not sure how that happened! Sorry.

  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    This one out “Bugeyes” the “Bugeyes”.

    Like 1
  3. DelBoy

    Adorable, but wouldn’t be caught dead in it. At any speed; and certainly not at 80mph.

    Like 2
  4. scott m

    This would be a great little grocery getter, and for puttering around the neighborhood- wouldn’t take it on a thorofare, highway and no way freeway!

  5. Robert White

    I collect De Forest Crosley console tube radios otherwise known as Superheterodynes. Crosley has the right ideas, but they needed ironing out just like everything does in Mechanical Engineering.

    Heck, Mechanical Engineering would not be as great as it is if people like Crosley didn’t attempt to make super cheap engines bronzed together.

    It’s all about the experience of failure that makes great engineering even greater.

    Bob

    Like 8
  6. Marcus

    Head lights ?

    • scott m

      I think they are behind the front grill

    • Jules Rensch

      There was more Daylight in 1948….LOL

      Like 3
    • Kelly Breen

      Hidden behind the grille.

  7. Steve

    Had a friend in college whose father loved Crosleys so much he named his son Crosley.

    Like 1
  8. Jimmyzee

    That maybe the best looking Hotshot ever!

    Like 1
  9. Chas H

    The hand drawn repair manual is worth the price of the car.
    Hard to believe a page from it wasn’t included in this article.

    Like 1
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      It was; see the link embedded in the words “build book” in the article.

      • Chas H

        OK, there was link. But as I posted no page from the book that is just as impressive as the car.
        I wish I had room for this Crosley, but I’ve got 2 cars sitting out doors already- and 4 indoors. I’d buy it solely for the build book with the car being a bonus.

  10. Kim in Lanark

    He is to be congratulated. He made a Crosley uglier, no mean feat. It reminds me of various post-war European microcars.

    Like 1
    • Jules Rensch

      Ugly on not, his design was effective in reducing air drag…..streamlining was pretty much a forgotten art in American car deign by 1948, when the boxy trend arrived.

  11. Gerard Frederick

    Now this is THE Crosley beauty! As a fan of small cars, this really yanks my chain!

    • Jules Rensch

      Love the Crosley I do….this one is a real beauty!
      Fender skirting …..great!

  12. Psychofish2

    As I expected: the safety and “concern” trolls flock to comment on this.

    Never worry about skateboards, scooters, bicycles, motorcycles or getting in and out of the shower or bath tub…. but THIS….OMG.

    Spare me.

    Like 3
    • Jules Rensch

      Right on Psychofish 2…..How about those wonderful 700 HP Detroit bombs that can’t even stay in a straight line under acceleration?
      Bravo Crosley…fun cars to drive, fun cars to own!

      • Big C

        That’s why they created traction control. Available on all 700hp. Detroit bombs. Plus excellent brakes. So they don’t run over your Crosley! :)-

        Like 1
  13. Howie

    Looks great, i hope it sells, check out the size of that radiator.

    Like 1
  14. Troy

    Don’t know much about them but the pictures remind me of those little cars on a merry-go-round at the county fair

    Like 1
  15. RoughDiamond Member

    If memory serves me correctly, while Dean Weller was still alive, one of the episodes of “Chasing Classic Cars” featured that auction.

  16. Steve Widlund Member

    Pinto wheel covers, classic!

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