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From the Spokane EXAMINER:

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  • LouRugani
    Crazy little Crosleys were America s first micro cars of the modern era. Powel Crosley was a successful industrialist who manufactured millions of radios and
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 13, 2009
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      Crazy little Crosleys were America's first micro cars of the modern era. Powel Crosley was a successful industrialist who manufactured millions of radios and refrigerators and owned the Cinncinati Reds baseball team. When buyers complained that they couldn't pick up any stations on his low budget radios, Powel Crosely started his own high-powered broadcasting network. But Crosley wasn't satisfied - he wanted to produce basic, economical vehicles that anyone could afford.

      The first Crosley car was introduced in 1939. It weighed less than a thousand pounds and cost just $250 when a Ford cost $850. Still the little bantam struggled to find a place in the market and ceased production during WWII, resuming just after.

      With just under 25,000 little Crosleys sold, the car-starved postwar market gave the slab-sided cartoon beast its best sales year in 1948 but soon the Big Three manufacturers got new designs on the road. Though Crosleys got 50 miles per gallon, gas was cheap and no one cared. Americans flocked to buy Detroit's big, flashy new models and Crosley was doomed. He sent his workforce off for the 4th of July holiday in 1952 and closed the plant forever.

      CROSLEY FIRSTS

      Micro compact
      First mention of Sport Utility Vehicle
      Mass-production of OHV engine
      Four wheel disc brakes
      First postwar sports car
      Slab sided body (no separate fenders)
      All-steel station wagon


      CELEBRITY OWNERS

      Humphrey Bogart
      Gloria Swanson
      Frank Lloyd Wright
      Paulette Goddard
      General Omar Bradley
      Pamela Harriman (bought #1, 1939)
      Dwight David Eisenhower (CCOC Member 1,000)
      Since 2007, the Smart Car has taken Crosley's place in the autoscape, the first microcar to make serious inroads into the U.S. market since Powel Crosley's little car that could.


      Crosley cars: America's first micro car beat the Smart by 60 years
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