Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crosley Surrey (AKA Golf Cart) for $250!!!

Man, I no sooner get rid of the Crosley wagon body than I find something else my wife would strangle me for if I brought it home.  Good thing it's two time zones away.
This custom Crosley 'Surrey' is for sale in Fort Worth, Texas for what seems like a bargain price of $250.  I say 'bargain' because the running gear is there and the Aerojet engine turns, so this baby might just might fire up with some coaxing.  Even if not, Aerojets are great rebuild candidates.
Body is a '49 or '50- looks like it's got hydraulic brakes given the filler hole in the driver's footwell.  And the body (what's left of it) doesn't look too rusty.  I'm guessing Fort Worth is in the dry part of Texas.
The seller (on the HAMB hotrod site) calls it a Surrey, but it looks pretty much like the custom Crosley golf carts I've seen before.  One way or t'other it's pretty cool for $250.  If it was half as far away it'd be keeping me up tonight.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

O/T: 1959 Vs. 2009

I don't talk politics, religion, etc. on this blog because it's just not the place.  I have plenty of strong opinions (somewhere my wife laughs in the background) and I know that lots of my friends have very different, equally strong opinions.  But, this is America, after all, and one of the best things about this country is the idea that people with all sorts of differences agree to get along in some sort of mutual respect.  I very much believe that we're all better off for this.

That said, there is a big difference between opinion and ignorance, and it drives me crazy when I interact with people who absolutely INSIST that something is fact, even when it is clearly, demonstrably untrue.   An easy example is astrology- the notion that astrology has ANY scientific basis has been debunked so completely that I can't even pretend to make polite conversation with anyone serious about it... it's like trying to have a polite conversation with someone who is telling you that the earth is flat. I just make a mental note never to bring it up again and walk away depressed at the state of mankind.

I give up because I know that the other person has chosen not to listen, not to think, not to be logical.   We ALL have our cherished myths - all of us.... the key is knowing when to confront your own myths and accept them as such.  You don't even have to do anything different, you just have to internally acknowledge that you are doing something illogical and know it.

I speak from personal experience.  I've been driving old heaps of shit since I learned to drive.  Until Liv and I got married in 2006 (and I became a co-owner of her Toyota) I'd never owned a car made after I was born- and I was born in 1966.  The newest car I ever owned was my first car, a '63 VW bus that was 23 years old when I bought it in 1986.  I've never bought anything newer than a '64 model since.

My own cherished myth was that old cars, having more steel, and being more solid, were just as safe - or safer - than the crappy new cars on the road.  I pointed to my '62 Valiant wagon which survived a direct hit from a '73 Chevy doing 40 mph and drove away from the accident as proof.  It was kinda ugly, but mechanically, it was unscathed.  (Please note that I didn't believe that Crosleys were in any way, shape or form, safe; I knew that I was a goner if I was hit in a Crosley by anything larger than a BMX bike.)

Last year, I was disabused of my beliefs about the relative safety of old cars.  I stumbled across this video from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, made to celebrate their 50th anniversary.  It didn't change my habits - I still drive old cars, and probably always will - but it made me realize that I was wrong. I drive old cars because that's what I do, but at least now I'm not kidding myself, and if anything happens, c'est la vie - I may be dead, but at least I won't be dead and dumb.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Toda Maquina

As a rule, Crosleys don't fare well in movies.  There's the derelict pickup truck that Bluto smashes bottles on in Animal House, and then there's Porky's 3, the less said about which, the better - the fact that the filmmakers were even aware that there is such a thing as a Crosley diminishes the brand.
A more typical indignity is enshrined in A Toda Maquina, a 1951 Mexican flick about two rival motorcycle cops who are sorta like the Mexican Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.  The movie has a long sequence involving an old lady driver and her HotShot.
It's really neat seeing the car in context- on streets jam-packed with normal sized forties and fifties cars it really underscores how damn small they were at the time.  Also of note is the car itself- it's clearly a HotShot, but it doesn't have the rubber grommet around the cockpit- it's upholstered.  That seems odd given that the car would have been no more than 2 years old when the movie was made.
It's a fun sequence- the whole movie is on YouTube (the Crosley only shows up once) and here's the right section.  Crosleying starts at the 2:45 mark.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Crosley Middleman

The last thing I need is another Crosley.  Well, actually, let me amend that: the last thing I need is another incomplete, non-running Crosley.
So, you can imagine my inner conflict last week when I saw a post titled 'Crosley Rescue Alert: Napa California!' on one of the Crosley boards I frequent.  The post listed a CD Crosley station wagon body that had to be moved within the week or it was going to the scrapyard!

I called the number and got the details; not much was there.  The body wasn't even on a frame, so no rolling it around for ease.  The  ID tag was still intact, there were a few pieces of glass left and not much rust. The best news was that it had the cool one-piece rear door. 
The owner had bought the body a few years back with the intention of using it to build a hotrod.  There's a long history of Crosley-bodied rods and even a few Bonneville record-holders with Powell's pride straddling a Caddy or Chrysler motor.  This one was slated to be a streetable gasser-style build for the guy's daughter, but she balked when presented with the plan, so it just sat in his storage space.  He'd just bought a Dodge Power Wagon project and the Crosley had to get gone.  Now.
I said I'd come get it, figuring I'd just store it until I could find a home for it. As luck would have it, the Power Wagon was just outside Sacramento, so he even offered to drop off the Crosley on his way to pick up the truck!
A couple of days later he pulled up with the Crosley in the back of his pickup.  In ten minutes we had it on my trailer (so I can move it around til I get rid of it).  It's not a bad car- it has less rust than MY wagon!  Still, I have more than enough projects, so I knew it had to go.  I had planned to put it on Ebay for what I paid for it, but then it occurred to me that I should talk to the Liebherrs in Nevada- they have a lotta space and they REALLY like Crosleys.  Sure enough, Dale said he'd take it.

So, I'm sorta babysitting this Crosley until Dale can come get it.  I'm glad I was able to be the middleman here and am really glad there's one less Crosley in the scrapyard.  Winning!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Better Late than Never: 14,000 Mile 1947 Pick Up

Barn finds - as I learned all too recently - often fail to live up to their potential.  Bats live in barns.  So do chickens, rats, racoons, mice,  and bugs, none of which are particularly good for longterm car storage.  But sometimes, the car in the barn is all you could hope for.
 Such is the case with this incredible 1947 Crosley Pickup that popped up on Ebay a couple of weeks ago.  The truck is a southern California car that was put away about a half century ago with 14,000 miles on the clock.   Pulled out of storage recently, they replaced the tires and radiator cap, boiled the gas tank, added a fuel filter and replaced a missing emblem.  Paint, interior and gauges are 100% original!
The engine is also listed as original, but as we all know,  this fella would have come stock with a CoBra engine that probably started to leak before they'd used 50 tanks of gas.  I'm no Barry Seel, but the block currently in the car looks to me like a late model- not one of the '49 blocks that was offered up by dealers as a swap to cure the CoBra's ills.  The Crosley script on the block looks 'late' to me and I don't think that particular oil filter assembly was available on the early motors - but I could be wrong. One way or the other, the seller claims that the car runs/drives nicely.

I'm fascinated by the interior.  The door panels are in amazing shape, as are the matching seats.  I'm so used to seeing the red interiors that the tan is really intriguing.  Looks great with the door inserts.  The floor mats are also a wonder- I don't recall ever seeing originals in this kinda condition- just amazing.
The body is pretty straight, and the bed is REALLY straight- and note that classic cheapo Crosley touch: the fuel filler goes right into the cargo area because it probably would have cost an extra $1.50 to reroute it!

Meant to get up a link to this auction  while it was live last week, but time got away from me and next thing I knew it was over- but no worries.... Reserve wasn't met at $5200, and the $12,900 Buy-it-Now is, uh, 'optimistic.' As of today, the truck is still available at San Diego Classic and Musclecars in Escondido, CA.  Call (760) 781-1473 and ask for Joseph M Petralia.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Can You Take Me to Funkytown (in this Crosley)?

Speaking of crazy Crosleys, here's one of the kookiest I've seen in a while - a Hotshot that puts the 'modified' in HMod.
This bizarro bolide looks like one of the Hungarian specials featured in the Economist a few months back, but no, it's just a '49 HS with all sorts of something going on.  The seller claims that it was built by the inventor of the barcode, which only makes it better.
From the front it sorta looks like a Berkeley, but the back could only have come from the mind of an American kustom enthusiast.  Note that the pipes (plural???) exit from the fins, and that it has more lights on the rear than a stock '46, '47 or '48 Crosley had on the entire car.
The whole thing is just weird, but from the gauges and aircraft style instrument panel it looks like it was actually set up for racing- although one of the gauges lists speed in 'knots' so maybe it was built to race Amphicars. The seller even includes the original towbar! 

Price is still pretty reasonable for a running/driving special, i'll be curious to see where it ends up.  This is a total kooknik Crosley of the highest caliber, proving that Crosley folks were always a little different.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Crazy Crosleys

As usual, I've been poking around the internets to keep an eye on Crosley stuff for sale.  Seems like there's always plenty of cars - a far cry from the good old days (i.e. 1996) when I was looking for my first Crosley - it took me months just to find a car to go look at!  Shees.  With all these cars available, there are bound to be some oddballs, and here's a few crazy Crosleys I've stumbled over recently.
First up is this '51 'Hotshot' (which actually looks to be a Super Sports) located in Atlanta for $5500.  Crosley roadsters sorta beg for headlight modifications, but this 'Jane Russell' treatment is the most extreme solution I've ever encountered. Makes you not even notice that giant grill that came off who knows what.
The stock driveline has been swapped out for a Datsun 4 cylinder, and the seller says it runs and drives.  I'd imagine it goes like stink, but unless they did some pretty impressive suspension work I can't imagine the Crosley frame (or brake system) is going to be happy for long.
This '1946 Sedan Delivery' has been on offer for quite a while- it's in Modesto (a couple hours from me) and has been on all the West Coast Craigslists a bunch.  I'm not sure what to make of it - Crosley didn't offer a sedan delivery (or even a station wagon) in '46, so I'm assuming this just got retitled wrong at some point.  Looks like it's a '47 or '48, but, with this I can't imagine a correct vin would really matter.
Engine is a Ford V6 (which I don't even know how they stuffed in the engine bay) bolted to a C4 tranny and a narrowed Ford rear.  I'll spare you those photos, along with those of the '80s minivan interior.  I'm really befuddled by that rear door, but honestly, I'm pretty befuddled by the whole thing.  That said, I don't have anywhere near the skills to put something like this together, so maybe I'm just lacking imagination.  $4500 and it's yours.
Last up is a car that is totally not my bag, but which appears to be exceptionally well thought out for what it is.  Listed as a '1951 Crosley Hi Boy,' this car is taking some cues from the many Crosleys that ended up as drag racer bodies back in the fifties.   The car was built by the Hot Rod Garage in  Bakersfield (nicer, bigger pics of the car on their site here), a full-service hot rod/custom shop, and from the detail pics it sure looks like they knew what they were doing.
I can't say for sure what that motor is, but according to my rule (any old car the color of an easter egg is 99% likely to have a Chevy 350), I'd say that a bowtie is a safe bet.  That header/collector going into the lake pipes is a thing of beauty.

Though all three of these Crosleys are unique creations, the Hi Boy is way ahead of the curve - it's the only one of the three that actually looks like someone planned it out ahead of time.  Of course you gotta pay for that, and at $17,500, it is more than triple the cost of the other cars.  Street rods aren't really my thing, but I will say that, unlike the two cars above, this one will probably handle better than any stock Crosley.