Small Giant: 1949 Crosley

031216 Barn Finds - 1949 Crosley 1

Barn Finds reader and car-collector Eric tipped us off to this 12′ long giant. This 1949 Crosley is found here on Craigslist in Clayton, NC, just Southeast of Raleigh. It’s listed at $2,500 and it sounds like it’s worth saving. I’m a big fan of these small cars.

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The seller’s idea of the term excellent condition is much different than mine is. In the first sentence of the ad they mention that this car is in “excellent condition”, which I think you’ll see is maybe not quite the case, at least according to the general definition of the term. It does look pretty solid from the photos and other than surface rust on almost everything and a couple of holes in the floor, this should be a very restorable car. It’s small enough that you can do things in stages and it shouldn’t cost a fortune. These were important cars in their day as they gave people a smaller, cheaper option to owning a new vehicle.

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You’ll most likely want to get to know an upholsterer for this restoration. As Eric mentions, the door cards may be able to be cleaned up and reused. If they’re wavy and wrinkly at all it’ll detract from the rest of the freshly-done interior, but they would be great to use for patterns if they’re too far gone. There is no mention as to if the gauges work, but the car does “run and drive”. Patch panels for the floors are available as are seat covers.

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The 1949 Crosleys used the CIBA (Crosley Cast Iron Block Assembly) engine which was a more reliable and traditional cast-iron block unit as opposed to the former generation of Crosley engines (CoBra, or, The Mighty Tin) which utilized sheet-metal construction. The downfall of the previous engine was a lack regular maintenance and it was starting to hurt Crosley’s reputation. This engine looks really clean as does the engine compartment. I would want this car to be a jewel box so it would be a full disassemble-restore-reassemble project for me. But, there’s no reason that a person couldn’t just get the mechanicals working and enjoy driving this unique car without doing a full restoration.

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Crosleys are fantastically unique vehicles. They’re about 4′ wide by 12′ long. Powell Crosley, Jr. had a good start on turning this car company into a giant, but sales started to decline in the year that this car was made and production stopped in 1952. These can be fun cars for cruise night or driving to car shows or doing weekend duty. There is a lot of club support and there are a lot of parts still available. Do you like Crosleys as much as I do, or do you prefer something bigger?

 

 

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Comments

  1. Ryan

    Only 45 Minutes away from me
    Wish I could pick this up :(

  2. edh

    I want one with the stamped sheet metal engine, I saw one for the first time last year and I was hooked.

  3. Ed P

    Interesting little car. At first glance it appears as if the designers of the Henry J were looking at this.

  4. Cassidy

    In the world of coin and sport car collecting, there are very strict guidelines for condition. Too bad there isn’t something for cars as well. Too many things need to be fixed before this bad boy would be in “excellent” condition, as far as I can tell from the pictures and description. But at least this seller has a few things to say about his car and doesn’t do the one sentence “I’m a man of few words” thing

  5. Howard A Member

    I guess, compared to most Crosley’s that are around, if any, this would be considered excellent condition. I mean, these weren’t popular to begin with, so when one surfaces, it’s kind of a big deal. I hope it’s restored to original, there are so few of these. It may turn into this, however. Pretty rare find. http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/attachments/zh-batto-jpg.2794107/

  6. G 2

    First American car with (spot) disc brakes. T-92 Borg Warner trans, the same as the Power King tractor used ( non syncro).

  7. RON

    I JUST SOLD A 48 CONVERTIBLE RECENTLY THAT BODY WAS WORSE THAN THIS HAD SAT FOR 20+ YEARS AND THE GUY HAS IT RUNNING WITHOUT BUYING ANY PARTS. I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO HAVE FIXED IT JUSTOO MANY PROJECTS AT MY AGE. tHE AVAILABILITY OF PARTS AND CLUB SUPPORT FOR ANYTHING YOU NEED INCLUDING REPOP SHEET METAL IS TERIFFIC AND I WAS SHOCKED AT THE COST. MOST REASONABLE. IF YOU REALLY WANT ONE THIS IS NOT UNREASONABLE, I WOUD FEEL BETTER GOING IN AT ABOUT 2K BUT NOT UNREASNABLE. NOT HIGHLY POWERFUL BUT IN THE DAY WULD DO UPWARDS OF 50MPG. DOUBT IT WOULD DO ITON TODAYS CRAPPY GAS. MY CHOICE IS FOR ONE OF LITTLE PICK-UPS SEDAN DELIVERY’S OR STATIONWAGONS. ONE OF THE THINGS YOU WANT TO CONSIDER IS WHAT YOU WANT FOR BRAKES. THE EARLY ONESS THROUGH ABOUT 49 HAD MECHANICAL BRAKE. THE LATER ONES THROUGH THE END YEAR HAD HYDRAULIC AND YOU CAN RETRO-FIT THE OLDER ONES

  8. Ikey Heyman

    The first car I ever drove (at 13 years old) was a Crosley, so I have always had a soft spot for these. I would love to own one now, but I live in the mountains of Colorado and I am afraid that, at higher altitudes, the engine would prove to be dangerously underpowered.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Ikey, don’t feel bad. It was dangerously underpowered at low altitudes, as well.

  9. Peregrine Lance

    My dad was a friend of actor Billy Barty, and through Billy, the “Little People of America.” Guess what a lot of their members drove???

    As go cars, so go people: Sometimes, great things come in little packages!

  10. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Update: They have dropped the price to $1,900: http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/5567806108.html

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