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.

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