April 28, 2005

Today in Automotive History 1939

Today in Automotive History

1939 Crosley's Miniature

Powell Crosley produced America's first miniature or "bantam" car.

Crosley led a remarkably scattered life which included, in his own words, 50 jobs in 50 years. A born entrepreneur blessed with family money Crosley engaged in everything from selling novelties to owning the Cincinatti Reds. His greatest love was automobile making, however, and he considered the production of the Crosley Miniature his greatest achievement.

Mass production of the car was stalled until after WWII, but, in 1948, he produced 28,000 cars. The Crosley was a foot shorter and a 100 pounds lighter than the pre-war Volkswagen Bug and far smaller than anything offered by American manufacturers. Unfortunately Crosley was never able to lower the price of his cars to his intended sticker of $500.

His $800 price tag wasn't low enough to convince consumers to purchase a miniature car when they could by a full-size car for a few hundred dollars more. The Crosley Car Company failed badly and even the injection of Powell Crosley's personal money could not save it. Crosley sold out of his endeavor and retired to dote on his beloved Cincinatti Reds.

Posted by Quality Weenie at April 28, 2005 08:48 AM