Friday, September 23, 2016

Datsun Powertrain Swap: 1948 Crosley Wagon

Cincinnati Reds owner Powel Crosley Jr entered the automotive market in 1939 with a two-door convertible that cost $250 and was powered by a 2-cylinder Waukesha engine.  A few years later Crosley built their own engines and the little sports car versions did surprisingly well in SCCA racing, but today's Crosley is extraordinarily zippy. Find this 1948 Crosley Wagon here on eBay offered for$8,200 buy-it-now or make-offer located in El Cajon, CA.

By 1948, Crosley was not using Waukesha 2-stroke power, and instead this would have been powered by a 724 cc watercooled inline-4 called the CoBra.  The CoBra put 26.5 (that 1/2 horsepower is significant) into a 3-speed manual gerarbox and into the rear wheels.  It may have used a conventional inline powertrain layout, but the total package was anything but conventional. 

This Crosley is now powered by a 1.6 liter L14 engine borrowed from a '77 Datsun and it is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.  The customization was done by the late great "Smilin" Ed Hale and it was later sold to the current seller's father who won car shows and drove it to church on the weekends.

See a faster Crosley for sale?


  1. That poor little Crosley looks like it is carrying the weight of the world on its shoulders. We should do something to cheer him up. This one looks pretty happy. Maybe they can become friends on FaceBook.

    [image src="" width="400px"/]

  2. That Datsun engine is a great improvement over the original engine which was made from sheet metal rather than cast iron. It's longevity was measured in hours.

  3. I think with the advent of electric cars we will loose the great faces of the past.
    With no need for a radiator and lighting becoming advanced cars will probably become pretty plain faces.
    I am going to miss expressions like this one.

    1. I was thinking the same thing as a new Tesla went whooshing by me yesterday.


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