Americans love baseball, and we have always loved automobiles. There is something about the two that go hand-in-hand, and this connection was directly felt in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio a number of decades ago.
These days the Cincinnati Reds play in a fantastic facility called Great American Ball Park. You couple that with beer, hot dogs, and hot rods, and you have an over-the-top red, white,and blue experience.
Before they moved into Great American Ball Park the Reds played in a cookie-cutter stadium called Cinergy Field. Prior to the days of corporate sponsorship, Cinergy Field was called Riverfront Stadium. This is where Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion and the rest of the fellows carved out the legend that became known as “The Big Red Machine.”
If you take it back one more step you enter Crosley Field. This is where the Reds played from 1934 through 1970. Prior to 1934, the same stadium was called Redland Field.
The place was called Crosley Field because it was named after the owner of the Reds, Powel Crosley Jr. He was a very successful businessman who had his hand in many different types of endeavors. Crosley was an early broadcasting magnate, and he decided to try his hand at the automobile manufacturing business in 1939.
The idea was to produce a very inexpensive, diminutive compact that would be attractive to families that were looking for a second car. Crosley produced the Series 1A in 1939, and Series 2A in 1940, the Series CB41 in 1941, and the Series CB42 in 1942.
After that, American automobile production was halted because of the onset of the American involvement in World War II. Auto factories were used to support the war effort.
Production returned in 1946, when the Crosley CoBra engine was introduced. It was small and lightweight, but the car itself was also a featherweight. As a result, the performance was decent.
The best year for Crosley was 1948, when almost 25,000 units were sold. Things went downhill from there, and by 1952, the bottom dropped out. Sales plummeted to a mere 1500 or so, and that was the final year of production for the fledgling Crosley.
For collectors, a classic Crosley is a great find. They are rare, there have an interesting history, and there is even a car club that is devoted to the Crosley.