Super Small! 1951 Crosley Super Convertible

While this 1951 Crosley Super 2-door Convertible isn’t pristine, the seller tells us it’s running and driving and that the reason they are selling it is that they just don’t drive it enough! The little car is located in Dayton, Ohio and is listed for sale here on eBay without a reserve. Surprisingly, at least to me, the current high bid on the car is only $1,636, which has left visions of a Crosley under the Christmas tree (okay, outside near it) in this writer’s head!

The car seems very complete and solid, with the owner telling us there is no rust-through and that the faded red might even be the original paint. The external spare is standard for the Super.

Although the car appears mainly stock, I think the added front grille (that looks like it belongs there!) may be from an Austin A30 or A35. Personally, I’d leave it in place along with the nice badging, because it really adds some styling to the plain front end of an un-modified Crosley. Besides, there may be some history worth saving–does anyone recognize this distinctive little car?

Licensed and insured for the street already, I want to go to Dayton and take a test drive. I fear that would be the end of my self-restraint, though.

The owner states that the mileage is unknown, and I’m guessing that means at least some of the gauges are inoperative. It sounds like some fun tinkering over the winter; you certainly don’t need much space with the car being only 137″/3480 mm long and 51″/1295 mm wide! Powel Crosley certainly knew what he was doing when he reintroduced these little, economical cars right after the Second World War (the first ones were made in 1939), but he was way ahead of his time. Sadly, the last Crosley was produced in 1952 after about 84,000 had been made.

This Crosley is powered by the later CIBA (Cast Iron Block Assembly) engine, which interestingly was produced long after the Crosley cars were discontinued. As a matter of fact, the last variation on this engine, by then known as a Fisher-Pierce, was in production all the way to 1972 for industrial and marine uses. With the stock rating of 26-1/2 horsepower, it wasn’t a screamer, but modified versions powered small-displacement racing and sports cars for many years. It’s a nice touch by the seller to take a picture with the engine running (look at the fan) to prove it does so. Are you already planning your trip to Dayton? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Comments

  1. Rick

    Knowing nothing about Crosleys, that’s a fairly industrial looking shifter. Surely they weren’t all that way?

    Like 3
    • Jorn Jensen

      Correct. They were not that way, but some were modified by owners. That one has been modified. The Crosley problem is a long-throw shifter – so, low gear, your hand just about hits the driveshaft tunnel – a throw to 2nd gear and you knuckle the dash. Crosleyites get used to the factory shifter, but they were far from great.

      Like 1
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Rick… the original shift lever was a long, lanky thing that got in the way of everything. The full bodied cars weren’t much better but all of them had a pretty hefty throw. No messing around with the girl friend in the one I had. This piece is a good solution mostly used in race cars.

    Like 6
    • Little_Cars

      Shift lever is correct, but the other thing sticking straight up must be one helluva manual parking brake???? Do you pull the handle straight down between the seats to activate? Looks pretty dangerous but then again the whole works would have National Highway Safety testers up in arms.

      Like 1
  3. hatofpork

    Grill is from an Austin A70.

    • luke arnott Member

      Or an A40 Somerset perhaps?

      Like 2
  4. Coventrycat

    With that grille and some wood on the dash, the car that could have beat Britain…

    Like 1
  5. JimB

    This could be a clown car from the Shriners. Back in the 1960s, the Shriners dressed like clowns and drove go-karts and small cars in parades. If it is a Shriner car, then it probably was maintained well and it may have very low mileage.

    Like 1
  6. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Didn’t Goofy drive one of these? They were known as clown cars when I grew up in the 50’s. I even saw a softball game where the players drove these little cars around on the field. That was about as hilarious as donkey baseball.
    God bless America

  7. Karl

    The Crosley history is very deep he made the majority of his money via radio stations his were called the stations heard round the world in the days of no limits on how much transmitter power you could use it is possible. The next big invention he came up with was on his home line of products he was the inventor of shelves in the door of the fridge I don’t know how much money he made on that but between the radio empire and his home products he had enough money to open an auto manufacturer company, we all know how that went for him. The timing was perfect the execution was deeply flawed. The cars are extremely interesting and very revolutionary for their time, definitely a nice sized piece of history!!

    Like 2
  8. Del

    I think Crosley still warranties these 😁😂🤣

    Like 2
  9. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Like………

  10. Larry

    Little Cars, bobhess is correct that the shifter handle is modified. The emergency brake is the Chrome handle beside the steering column, you simply pull out on it to engage it.

    Like 1
  11. chrlsful

    “…that the shifter handle is modified….”
    it just a pivot

    Like 1
  12. Little_Cars

    Upon closer examination, I humbly defer to Rick, Bob Hess, Larry, chrlsful and others–I didn’t notice the vertical handle is attached to the shift lever on one end, and a pivot nearer the driver’s right hand. Looks very riding mower-ish to me!

    Like 1
  13. JimB

    Do any of you know what the three knobs on the dash do? One is probably headlights and another is the choke. But what is the third black knob used for? I still think this is a former clown car and that knob may do something clown-related like: open an exhaust cut-out, open the hood to let something pop out, or turn on a loud speaker with music or laughter. Is there a simpler explanation?

  14. Little_Cars

    Black knob could be to manually open the two side cowl vents for air flow? Pulling it may yank on some sort of Y cable to open them both at the same time. Sure, many open Crosley’s led their later lives as a clown car, but I don’t think the numbers were that high. Just as many were purchased as commuter cars and soon their owners stashed them away because gas was cheap or more space was needed. To me, Crosleys were a response to a question nobody was asking in the 40s and 50s. A distance cousin claims to have owned one before the Korean War, it was waiting for him when he returned and it was a station wagon used to haul a small family around his farmland property in Tennessee.

    Like 1
  15. Paolo

    Powell Crosley was genius inventor. He was a pioneer in radio broadcasting and developed a line of quality, affordable radios. He was famous for the “Shelvadoor” refrigerator. For the war effort he invented the proximity fuse for arming bombs and artillery shells, a significant addition to the “Arsenal of Democracy”

    Like 2
  16. Kelly Breen

    That is one cute little car. I would have a hard time saying “No” to that one.

    Like 1
  17. Lou Rugani

    Actually every Crosley Hotshot and Super Sports (this car’s the latter model) was powered by the five-main-bearing Crosley CIBA engine. The CoBra engine had already been discontinued long before the sports cars were introduced.

    Like 1

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