By the halfway point on the first day of the meet my brain was pretty well Crosley-cooked. There were Crosleys everywhere, from hopped up drag cars to spot on restorations, from crazy old customs to barn cars up for sale. I admit it, I was overwhelmed.
My mental state explains how I managed to get exactly one picture of all the Crosley parts vendors at the meet. Service Motors, Edwards Crosley Parts and Yankee Crosley all had booths full of gold that I need for all my various projects. Planning the trip I hadn't even thought abut all the NOS and repro parts that would be available here. How to get a load of stuff back to CA was a dilemma until Mike Bainter kindly offered some space in the truck he was taking back west. Nice guy!
There was plenty of neat stuff on display, including this framed 8X10 of a Crosley dealership circa 1950 (from NY if I remember right).
Probably the single strangest thing I saw all weekend was Paul Gorrell's driveable Crosley sign. This was originally a sign that hung on a Crosley dealer's building - Gorrell got to thinking about how best to display it and ended up turning it into a motorcycle he called 'Skinny.' He drove it all over the meet.
Gorrell is nothing short of a legend in Crosley collector circles. He's got pretty much one of everything, and was even featured on the American PickersTV show. If he wasn't cruising around on Skinny he was walking around with his pet chicken, Elvis, on his head.
One thing Gorrell doesn't have is a Crosley limo. This custom six-wheeler was cruising around all weekend. My picture is overexposed (the car is baby blue for one thing), which is a shame because the bodywork on this baby is impressive. Crosley wagons tend to be wavy even when they're the regular length so the straight sides on this were kinda mind-boggling. The owner ended up winning the long distance award - I think he hauled this car something like 1200 miles to the show.
If the bodywork on the limo was amazing for quality, the bodywork on this two seater is amazing for sheer insanity. Nicknamed 'Sharky,' this vintage custom was a club auction prize a few years ago. The interior is from a Kaiser, the guts are Crosley and I believe the body is fiberglass/bondo (probably equal parts). I don't believe that there is a straight line anywhere on Sharky - including the sides. But, the owners love it and drove it all over the place, so they're stoked!
Another custom two seater was this modified Hot Shot that was up for sale. There were plenty of mods going on here, some of which worked better than others. The grill set up looked pretty well thought out, but the boat-style windshield just wasn't doing it for me. I think the restoration may have been very recently completed- it had some issues during the test drives, most notably the tranny or rear locking up several times. Nonetheless, it found a new owner by the end of the meet, and I saw him backing it over to his trailer since it woudn't go forward!
The opposite of all the customs was this extremely original low mile sedan that was for sale at the meet. It had been sitting inside for quite a few years when discovered at an estate sale. There were various dings on the body (quite probably from being banged up in storage) but the interior was unbelievable.
Crosley headliners were made out of a cardboard material that started deteriorating about the time it left the factory. Consequently, you almost never find the headliner at all, let alone finding one in shiny, like-new condition. The car didn't sell, possibly because the owner never bothered to take it out of his enclosed trailer! A lot of people I talked to never saw it and others didn't even realize it was for sale.
Another rare bird was this incredible Sport Utility. It seems absurd that Crosley started the Sport Utility craze back in 1947, but here's proof. The Crosley version was like a station wagon with canvas top, sides and doors... sort of like a military truck. Offered with hunters and fisherman in mind, this was proposed as the ideal car for driving around the boonies with a couple of pals and all your gear. When I first got into Crosleys I thought about getting a Sport Ute until I found out that they are the rarest of all postwar Crosleys. To this day this is the only one I've ever seen.
A little more common, but still pretty rare was this prewar convertible. I'm kinda spoiled since there were several prewars in the West Coast Club (one of which was owned by a friend here in Sac for a long time) so I don't get all that excited when I see them. I should - they are rare birds, and this one was one of the nicest I've ever seen.
There were actually a lot of nice cars out on Friday. This CD wagon was nicely done, and the one piece rear door was cool.
This blue and white CC wagon was also pretty cool. Note the stock single taillight.
This is the wagon I paid the most attention to on Friday. It was a clean CC that was parked for sale right next to Mike and Rick's swap meet spot. It ran well, had a decent interior, looked pretty good and had minimal or no rust as far as I could tell - it was a good deal at $3100. People test drove it all day and it finally sold around dinner time. It would have sold long before that - to me - if I'd had a way to get it back to California!
I spend somewhere near 40% of my waking hours obsessing over old cars. Usually, this obsessing revolves around an improbable American micro car from the midcentury period-- the Crosley. My fascination began with a quest to strip down my life by driving the world's simplest car.
Turns out that nothing is as simple as it seems.