Pontiac Parts Hauler: 1948 Crosley Pickup

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I love a vehicle that proudly displays its history for all to see, and this 1948 Crosley Pickup is just such a vehicle. It appears to have spent part of its life as a delivery vehicle, but it has now been retired and is ready to become an interesting classic for somebody to own and cherish. Barn Finder AMXBrian spotted this little Pickup for us, so I have to thank him for that. If you really want a car with some obvious history, then you can park the Crosley in your garage for a mere $8,700. Located in West Greenwich, Rhode Island, you will find the Crosley listed for sale here on Craigslist.

I have to admit that the sign-writing on the Crosley really sparked my interest, so I did a bit of a check via Google Maps for the address on the Crosley. I found that Cal’s Pontiac Co. is no longer at that address and that there is another automotive related company there today. When I look at the Crosley, it’s nice to see that the exterior paint and panels haven’t undergone a restoration that would hide its past. It looks to be solid and clean, with no real signs of significant rust or rot. There are a few minor marks and dings, but nothing that would need attention. I think that fixing them would destroy the originality of the Pickup, so if this was my Crosley, I probably wouldn’t touch a thing.

The interior of a Crosley is pretty basic, and it’s a bit hard to tell whether the seats have received new covers at some point, or if what we see are slip-on aftermarket covers. The door trims also look to be incomplete, but it is nice to see that the radio blanking plate is still present in the dash. The usual optional radio that was fitted to a Crosley was the Motorola “round nose” unit, and these have now become quite a desirable item amongst Crosley enthusiasts. Otherwise, the interior is quite serviceable as it is. We also don’t get any engine photos, but if the engine is original, it should be the CoBra engine. The CoBra designation stood for the style of engine construction, being constructed of “Copper Brazed” sheet metal. These were given the nickname of  “The Mighty Tin,” and produced 26.5hp. The engine and 3-speed manual transmission fitted to this Crosley have recently been treated to a bit of TLC, with the engine receiving new gaskets, while the water-pump has been rebuilt, as has the starter. A new gas tank has also been fitted, along with a new clutch, a new shifter fork, and the rear end has been cleaned and sealed. That should hopefully make the little Crosley healthy and reliable for a few more years.

I love cars like the Crosley because if you compare them with the average pickup that was being sold in the USA at the time, they were tiny by comparison. What they were, though, was plucky and willing. This one is a snapshot into the past, and it still wears its history boldly and proudly for all to see. That makes it a pretty cool car in my book.

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  1. IkeyHeyman

    How cool is this? A buyer might want to consider swapping out the CoBra for the cast iron engine (the CIBA) at some point.

    Like 3
  2. NotSure

    I love this one! The lettering really makes it for me! And “Cal’s Pontiac Co.”? No one ( shouldn’t state “no one”) uses their first names for any business today and it’s getting harder to find a business that still uses the family name… Great vehicle!

    Like 7
    • Brakeservo

      There was of course the famous Cal Worthington on the opposite side of the country!

      Like 2
  3. TimS

    If I had a Pontiac collection, or any Pontiac from about 1950-1980, I’d have to have this in my garage.

    Like 7
  4. FedericoH

    All those Faux ‘Patina’ HotRodders with badly re-created graphics and paint would do well to use this Awesome Crosley as an example of ‘how it really was’.

    Epic Vintage Find.

    Like 6
  5. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    . No word as to whether the mechanical brakes have been up-graded to juice brakes or not.
    . Doesn’t really matter, I remember mine was so slow, I rarley used them when I had one in the mid 50’s ( before we put the ’49 Olds Rocket in it)

    Like 3
  6. Kathie

    This is our vehicle. It is a great truck. Upgraded to juice brakes. It’s so much fun to drive down the road. Folks stop us and tell us that they remember this dealership. We might not sell it. We are struggling with it.

    Like 8
  7. Dovi65

    I love it! I’ve always been intrigued by the Crosley vehicles, how crude, and no fancy-schmancy they were. Substance [such as it was] over styling. The rear cab wall .. simply a piece of sheet metal welded into place.

    Like 3
  8. Bdabs

    I always loved that single rear taillight, and the front end reminds me of a turtle.

    Like 4
  9. stillrunners

    Cool and nice….so glad it’s far far and away…..

    Like 1
  10. Randy

    CoBra engine = trouble. It wasn’t long after these engines were used for post-WW 2 production that, when brazing failures occurred, Crosley footed the cost to switch out these with the cast iron blocks — no charge!

    This truck is a real rarity having that engine still installed.

    Like 2
  11. T Giammarco

    Cal’s Pontiac was a dealership from the 60’s ish. My dad and mom bought a new 66 Bright red GTO from there in 66 as I still have some pretty cool pics of it. The building and lot still exist today as a used car dealership. It was owned by Ralph Madonna.

    Like 1
  12. Tim Hamblen

    I doubt very much it still has the COBRA engine. The lady says they drive it, most COBRAS are long since replaced with a CIBA.Not sure why no picture of the engine room.For that price there needs to be tons of pictures.

    Like 0

    a quick google search found this in Ralph’s obit “Madonna. Ralph was the President and Owner of the former Cal’s Pontiac Co. on Charles St. in North Providence”

    Like 0

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