Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crosley Road Trip: 1950

If I spent half as much time in my garage as I do surfing the net for Crosley tidbits, I'd probably have at least one running Crosley right now.  But, then I probably wouldn't find stuff like this:
These days Denny Moore is more of a Ford fan than a Crosley guy, but he's probably logged more miles in a Crosley than even most diehard Crosley fanatics.  In 1950 his dad loaded the whole family into their robin's egg blue Crosley sedan and set out for Berea, Ohio - 500 miles away.  Denny, then five years old, still remembers the trip:

"The back seat in the Crosley was hardly more than vinyl covered plywood. After a few hours back there, you hurt all over and couldn't get comfortable. My mother held my crying baby brother on her lap all the way there and back. My sister wouldn't stay on her side but there wasn't much side to stay on. My father was frustrated and tried to ignore everyone."
"Another family tradition was to stop at state lines and photograph everyone with the car. That way, you didn't need dates or locations on the photos.  When my father pulled over and my mother said 'PICTURES,' we had to climb out and line up unless we were sleeping. Sometimes we just pretended to be asleep. My mother never told me if she did that just to keep us quiet in the back seat on long trips."
I stumbled across these pics on the Hokey Ass Message Board, a site for vintage hotrod devotees that I've mentioned a few times before.  Denny had posted the photos on an incredible thread called 'Vintage Pictures of Days Gone by.'  It's one of the best threads on the HAMB- it has 1258 pages of vintage photos.  I emailed Denny to ask about the trip and he got right back to me.

"The Crosley adventure was sixty years ago and most of my recollections were that of a 5-year-old who felt like being shut in a running clothes dryer for days. The Crosley ran great and we had no trouble on the two-lane highways of U.S. 20.   It might take ten minutes to climb a hill in the Crosley, but this was before interstates." 

He says they made it back to home base, Oneonta, New York in one piece, too.
The Crosley was the Moore family's 'second' car; they also owned a 1938 Plymouth.    Denny's dad spent WWII in the Navy, much of that in the Pacific, where he once survived having a ship torpedoed out from under him.  He made it through the war and was doing pretty well in the late forties - well enough to afford a 'second' car.    The picture above was taken right after they bought it - when it was still green; Denny's dad is on his uncle's Indian!

"It was used and bought for my mother.  I think the original color was a faded green. My mother found a can of robin's egg blue enamel in her father's barn and with brushes, she let me help paint it."
Denny graciously allowed me to share his memories and pictures.  Thanks much to him, and of course, to his dad, who risked everything, but thankfully came back to his family in one piece.  These kinds of stories are one of the things I love most about being a car nut - cars are cars; it's the people make them special.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The LAST Post on Golf Carts!

OK, I swear this is the last post on golf carts - I don't want one of these things - I don't even like golf! That said, I feel compelled to finish what I accidentally started...
So here's what got everyone all excited about Crosley golf carts: President Eisenhower's Crosley golf cart.  It started out as a '51 or '52, but there's not much Crosley left from the dash back. I can't even tell if it started out as a wagon or sedan or even a pickup.  It has a lot in common with the Fiat Jollys that were once common in the Philippines, but not so much in common with this:
This started out as a mid-40s Crosley but ran afoul of a customiser at some point.  It's got a similar seat arrangement as Ike's cart, but that's about the extent of the similarity.  That didn't stop the owners from labeling it as Ike's ride.
There are rumors about what happened to Ike's Crosley, but I haven't heard a definitive answer yet - still, I'm willing to bet this ain't it.  The back end is funkier than the front. (photos by Pokeanose)
Contrary to the theme established with all the ragged carts I've posted about this week, there are Crosley golf carts that were well cared for.  This 1949 model owned by Mike Adams showed up on the Crosley Automobile Club's page as the 'Crosley of the Month' a few years back.
Adams got the cart from super Crosley enthusiast Jean Allan who got it from a fellow in Indiana.  Looks like Mike takes good care of the cart, and he mentions that he'd like to hear from anyone who knows any history of the car.  Check out those tires - this one is ready for some off-roading!
So, that's the end of my parade of golf carts.... not a path I ever intended to go down.  But, though not my thing, I do have to appreciate that they illustrate the endless elasticity of the Crosley design.  How many other small automakers can claim to be the source of so many variations: sedans, station wagons, jeeps, farm vehicles, golf carts, fire trucks, sports cars, and yes, even the dreaded clown car.  No Crosley hearses to report - yet!

Monday, April 4, 2011

'Nother Golf Cart?!??

Just saw that the 'Crosley Surrey' I linked to the other day had sold, so I did a quick search for 'Crosley Golf Cart,' because... well, that's the sort of thing I do. Anyway, I was surprised to find this baby in Akron, Ohio.
The Surrey made some sense, but this baby is funky.  Dual headlights?  On a golf cart?
The ad lists it as an 'Eisenhower Edition,' but I'm fairly certain Ike would have rather have gone back to being an aide to Douglas MacArthur than ride in this.  $1500 and it's all yours...