Homebuilt Offroader! 1948 Crosley on a 1987 Suzuki Samurai

Crosley was an American manufacturer in the first half of the twentieth century, specializing in subcompact affordable cars for the masses. The Suzuki Samurai was the North American version of the Suzuki Jimny and was basically a smaller, lighter version of the contemporary Jeep Wrangler. So what do these two wildly different vehicles have in common? Nothing, except that they came together in this person’s garage to form a small, funky, attention-grabbing off-roader. You can find this 1948 Crosley here on eBay for just $4,500! Hurry up, because the auction ends today!

The frame is donated from a 1987 Suzuki Samurai and has the stock 1.3L, 63 horsepower inline four-cylinder engine sending power to either all four or just the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission and two-speed transfer case. The seller states that they replaced the belts, did basic maintenance, have had no mechanical problems, and it makes a better town runabout than a highway cruiser. They haven’t engaged the 4X4 in a while, so that might need some maintenance if you plan to go rock crawling in this.

The body came from a 1948 Crosley station wagon, their most popular model. Crosleys’ small size and cheap price made them competitive and quirky, if ultimately unable to survive in the postwar American size boom characterized by 25-foot-long cars with only two doors and two-foot-high tail fins. This specific Crosley body has single-stage red enamel paint, so some elbow grease might bring out some proper shine for car shows. No word on if the surfboard is included in the sale, but I’m sure if you ask nicely….

The seller says this is a homebuilt creation, and admits it’s less than perfect. There are some inconsistencies in the paint, the welds aren’t perfect, but all things considered, it’s a nice ride. Inside you’ll find hardwood floors and cross-hatched steel door panels with controls donated from the Suzuki undercarriage. If you’re in the market for an attention-seeking grocery-getter, I don’t think you could do much better than this.


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  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Pretty cool. Just remember your ratchet wrench when you go surfing.

    Like 3
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Caught my interest as my first car was a ’49 wagon that had been used as a chicken coop. Smelled so bad we found a ’48 sedan body, the early style, and put on the chassis. Not much difference driving these stock and riding a motorcycle. This one should be a bunch of fun.

    Like 3
  3. oldcarnut

    the body is actually a 51 or 52 Crosley station wagon

    Like 1
  4. Ken Carney

    What a cool little car! Looks like the
    builder really took some time to think things through before putting it all
    together. It’s nice to see that the
    backyard builder is still alive and well
    in this age of specialization. Reminds me of the times when all the guys you
    knew were working on something in
    their parents garage. Sure do miss those days. Hi Mike! Glad to see you
    posting again too!

    Like 5
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Thanks Ken! Say hey to the family.

  5. tompepper

    The panels on the doors is called diamond plate in my part of the country and look to be polished aluminium.

    Like 5
  6. tompepper

    The door panel are polished aluminium.In my part of the country we call it diamond plate. I never heard it called cross hatch.

    Like 3
  7. Steve

    It was relisted with a reserve

  8. Ike Onick

    Very cool!

  9. Howard A Member

    It is really cool, like a mini Willys wagon, but wretch at the fact is has one of the worlds worst 4×4 basics. Without going into the Samuri’s shortcomings, again, with the AWD choices today, a better unit could have been used. While it’s probably blasphemy to cut up a $27,000 Jeep CJ these days, ( HA!), even a vintage Jeep would be a more stout and reliable conversion.
    All that aside, someone did a fantastic job here, and all these Crosley wagons were turned into gassers, so it’s an outstanding find.

    Like 3
    • Ike Onick

      Good point Howard, but I picture this spending the rest of its days residing in a small town on the Atlantic, Pacific, or Gulf coasts making five mile round trips to the beach.

      Like 3
  10. Christopher Gush

    Cleverly assembled and certainly unique, abandoning the mundane linear body of a Samuri. Should be a lot of fun for its next owner and yes… now with more than the original 27 hp, its utility has expanded exponentially.

    Like 2
  11. Steve Clinton

    Talk about an attention-getter at the next Sunday morning coffee meet and greet!

    Like 2
  12. DeeBee

    Looks like the most fun I’ve seen here in a while!

    Like 2
  13. t-bone BOB

    Bidding has ended on this item. The seller has relisted this item or one like this.

    Ended: May 29, 2021 , 6:13PM
    Current bid:US $5,950.00
    [ 23 bids ]
    Reserve not met
    Item location:St. George, Utah

    Like 1
  14. chrlsful

    builder hit a certain Je me sens nail right on the head!
    That’s a combo of horror (“who recked that great lill charmer?” AND ‘pretty cool! I can see myself climbin da dunes w/that’) and enjoyment.
    I really like the crosley’s and some of my buds have heavily modded the Zuks. May B like above – I’d bring on better components but the beginning in there if had reasonably. That is receding into the impossible. I think this one may have made the rounds (pump me up Mr banker) on-line clubs – fora while. A certain 429 Squire did so to good effect recently too. It had the same vibe-but-different (“family / racer” instead). Tricks of da trade. Corporate all the way, Not fair, etc, etc~

    Like 1
  15. AwHeck Member

    Hoosier farm boy here. My dad bought a ’49 wagon in about 1965 that was very decent for $100. He saved it from being turned into some sort of golf cart. I was early teens and we had a long, drive and an airstrip on the farm. I had so much fun with that car.

    Like 1

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