Monday, March 31, 2014

Vettes On Monmouth

Let's start the week with some of the many Vettes that were on display at this past summer's Rides on Monmouth show.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

One More From Cruise-A-Palooza

Here is one more post of cars from this past year's Cruise-A-Palooza. Hope you have been enjoying these. If you have, maybe try to make it to this year's event.

Friday, March 28, 2014

America's First Sports Car

Powell Crosley, Jr. was indeed one of the true cutting edge entrepreneurs of his time. He was an innovator in early radio and television and was even a driving force behind one of the first networks. As owner of the Cincinnati Reds, he used his radio and later television stations to bring this brand of entertainment into many more homes, making the Reds one of the most popular teams of that era.

In 1939 he had a crazy idea. As most of the car making companies were concentrating on larger, family sized automobiles, Crosley, with the help of his engineer brother, decided to turn out a small, subcompact vehicle. What they made was the Crosley, a car that weighed under 1000 pounds and cost $250 new. Though initially it was just a two-door convertible by 1941 other trims became available.

During World War II with all of the gasoline rationing that was going on, the Crosley was extremely popular because it was not only cheap to buy but cheap to operate. The car got in excess of 50 miles per gallon. That's way more than the expensive, over advertised hybrids of today.

Like other firms, during the war Crosley shut down the car lines to make equipment for the military but in 1946 his Marion, IN plant became the first to start rolling consumer vehicles onto showroom floors. Other firsts followed. Crosley was the first to coin the term "sport utility" which was introduced in 1948. They manufactured the first mass-market single overhead cam engine. They also had the first four wheel caliper style disc brakes.

In 1949 they introduced the country's very first sports car, the Hotshot. Not what we would consider a sports car by today's standards, the Hotshot was light weight but still under powered with a four cylinder 44 cubic inch engine that pumped out all of 27 horse power. Still, that was enough, along with some good luck, for the car to win the very first six hour race at Sebring in 1950 as well as the 1951 Swiss Grand Prix.

Though innovative, the engines had a lot of problems. Despite being small their single cam overhead design was in almost constant need of attention. This greatly hindered what could have been a very handsome sales run for Crosley. In 1952, after seeing a high four years earlier of nearly 25,000 sales, just a little over 1500 cars were sold. My early July Crosley pulled the plug.

The Hotshot seen here is a 1951Concours quality VC Convertible.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Still More Random Rides From Monmouth

Though the occasional club will show up together the cars at the Annual Rides on Monmouth show are pretty much lined up on the street in the order in which they arrive. That makes walking around fun because there seems to be an endless variety of cars on display.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

More Monmouth

Here are some more of the cars that were lined up on the streets in Newport for the Annual Rides on Monmouth this past summer. This is such a great show and with so many cars it takes all day to really wander around and enjoy them all. You, though, can just scroll through and find your favorites.