A while back, we wrote an article describing the Crosley Hot Shot as America’s First Sports Car.

And though the Hot Shot certainly deserves plenty of attention, it’s important not to overlook the rest of the Crosley Motors lineup, which included an array of wagons, trucks, and coupes.

The entire idea behind Crosley Motors was to give buyers an economical, gas-sipping alternative to a full size car. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

So when we saw a couple drive up to a local Cars & Coffee in this delightful 1951 Crosley CD Wagon, eyelashes and all, we had to go talk to them.

…And we’re glad we did, because they reminded us why many gearheads got into the classic car hobby to begin with.

Crosley Motors’ marketing pitch was a simple one: It’s a Fine Car! (Image/OnAllCylinders)

This 1951 Crosley CD Wagon is owned by Dennis and Sue Coning, two bona fide car lovers that also have in their garage a Ford Model T and vintage Ford station wagon—that once served as a push car at a local dragstrip, no less.

The Crosley designation “CD” is simply derived from a sequential model series, with earlier models stretching back alphabetically, e.g. “CC” and “CB,” etc. The CD models were made between 1949 and 1952, and were available as a sedan, pickup truck, and wagon.

In addition to the flying bird hood ornament indicative of the “Super” trim, this particular car also wears Crosley’s neato spinning propeller grille—and yes, the propeller really spins! (Image/OnAllCylinders)

But the Crosley thing sort of happened by accident. “I was looking for an Anglia,” Dennis admits. “But I stumbled across this one from a guy locally.”

He then describes meeting the seller. “I went up there and we just talked for several hours,” he says. “After that, I pretty much knew I had to buy the car.”

Suffice it to say, the Crosley came home with the Conings.

Out back, Crosley CD Wagons typically had a clamshell-style rear hatch, but a full-size swingout door was available too. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

They’ve had it for about three years, and it hasn’t taken much to keep the ‘lil Crosley happy, just a few leaky gasket replacements, a carburetor rebuild, new plugs, and a conversion from points to a modern Pertronix ignition.

“It’s the same as an old Jeep distributor,” Dennis explains. “So [the conversion] wasn’t odd for this engine.”

The Coning’s Crosley features the later cast iron “CIBA” engine block, which replaced the innovative, albeit troublesome “COBRA” block made from stamped steel that was copper-brazed together. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Beyond the ignition and some cosmetic accents, the car is pretty much stock. And the Conings both say it’s been a fun, reliable ride. Since theirs is a “Super” model, it’s got a few more creature comforts over a base CD Wagon, namely a heater—which is really handy because the couple takes their Crosley all over the place.

The eyelashes and faux crank key on the roof are whimsical additions added by Sue. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Specifically, the Conings have made the trek up to the annual Crosley Auto Club Nationals in Wauseon, Ohio twice already, as it’s only about three hours away from their home outside Cincinnati.

In fact, that first trip to Wauseon is what made Sue fall in love with the car.

“She had not driven the car yet. And when we got to Wauseon, she took off in it, and spent two, three days driving all over,” Dennis chuckles. “It’s been hers ever since.”

The Crosley is adorned inside and out with memories of the Coning’s adventures. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Then, both Sue and Dennis spend a lot of time telling us about some of the finer details of the car, along with where else they’ve taken it—and where they’re going next.

And when we asked them to elaborate on those future plans with the Crosley, Dennis offers this final, salient point.

“We’re gonna keep it. Have fun with it,” he says. “And that’s what we enjoy about our cars, going out, having fun with them.”

Want to learn more about Crosleys? The Crosley Auto Club website has a trove of info on Cincinnati’s innovative car company.

The flying eagle hood ornament was also part of the “Super” trim and added some panache to the admittedly austere Crosley CD. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in 1972 Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.