1948 Crosley Convertible

Powel Crosley, Jr. made a fortune building refrigerators (Crosley "Shelvador") and radios during the Twenties and Thirties but always remained enamored of automobiles that were not much bigger than his fridges. After a brief fling fortunately cut short by World War II (the cars were underdeveloped and troublesome (to put it mildly)) he entered the market in earnest in 1946 using the single overhead camshaft COBRA engine with Copper-Brazed sheet metal water jackets that the company had built by the thousands for military use during the war. Displacing just 44.2 cubic inches (725cc), the COBRA developed only 26.5 horsepower and had but three speeds and reverse in its gearbox, but to compensate for it Crosley came up with a comparably tiny 80" wheelbase unit body automobile that weighed something like 1,300 pounds. Slab-sided and cramped it had one benefit beyond its fuel economy: it cost under $1,000. A Crosley Hot Shot roadster won (on Index of Performance) the first Sebring, Florida race. The sheet metal water jackets were fine for military generators and pumps but they proved to be susceptible to rust, so susceptible in fact that few survive and the company changed over to a cast iron block in 1950 which most Crosleys have today. This 1948 Crosley Convertible is one of only 2,845 built and it has been given an extraordinary, ground up, nut-and-bolt restoration to Concours standards. Finished in Maroon with Brown vinyl upholstery and a Black vinyl top, nothing -- not even the body seal rubber or gauges -- has been overlooked in its restoration. It is equipped with a heater which in conjunction with its rollup windows with fixed frames makes it entirely practical for touring in all sorts of weather. The engine compartment and chassis are as nice as the top of the Crosley and it needs absolutely nothing to be driven and shown with pride. It is an extraordinary automobile that begs to be filled with clowns throwing candy treats to kids along parade routes.

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