Auto in World War Two / WWII
Auto Production in Richmond, IN
Rest in Peace
This page last updated 2-2-2014.
The company was headquartered in
Cincinnati, OH and made radios, refrigerators and as somewhat of a
sideline automobiles before the Second World War, starting as an AM Radio Station, WLW. From 1939 to 1942 Crosley built 5,757 automobiles.
During the Second World War Crosley was the largest
employer in Cincinnati with 16,000 employees with the most important
product being produced the very top secret Mark 53 radar AA proximity
fuse. This was so secret that it was taken to the Lunken Airport
in unmarked trucks to be flown to its final destination. When in
combat they were only used on ships so they could not be captured by
Crosley had 1,400 employed at the Richmond plant
Not included as production items were
several small prototype military vehicles which included a Mosquito
and Covered Wagon, modified civilian vehicles which were tested by the
US Army at Camp McCoy, WI. Crosley also made 35 CT-3 Pups for
military evaluation and also made one small tracked amphibious vehicle
called the Crosley Duck similar to the Studebaker M29 Weasel.
Some of the design work and maybe the prototyping could have been
accomplished in either plant.
After WWII the Richmond facility was
sold to AVCO which returned the plant to refrigerator production.
Powell Crosley keep the car making operation and moved it to Marion,
IN where it remained in production until 1953 producing another 84,844.
This is a 1941 Crosley as seen as seen at
the National Automotive and Truck Museum in Auburn, IN. With a 2
cylinder, 12 hp engine, it was designed to get 50 miles per gallon of
gasoline, for which those that owned one during the Second World War
would have found it invaluable with the gasoline rationing.
One could get Crosleys as sedans, station
wagons, and pick-ups, as shown here. Author's photo.
Crosley World War Two /
WWII Production Numbers for
Richmond auto plant only: Components for
Walkie-Talkies Radios, IFR Radio guidance equipment, Air Supply units
for Sperry Bombsites (used in B-24s), Air conditioning units, Martin
PBM Mariner bow gun turrets and 1/4 ton trailers. The gun turret was the largest
One of the WWII products in the former Crosley auto plant was this bow
turret for the Martin PBM Mariner. 1,362 PBMs were built.
This photo shows the Crosley built bow
turret in the Martin PBM.
This is a Martin PBM-5A Mariner and is the
only surviving PBM remaining in the world of the 1,366 built and is at
the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, AZ. This is model
unfortunately does not any of the turrets in it as it is a post WWII
This is where the bow turret would go.
The next two photos show a Sperry S-1
Bombsight that Crosley made parts for in its Richmond, IN Plant.
Crosley built 150,000 of these BC 654 radios
during WWII and some of the parts may have been produced at Richmond
along with other radio components it made. This example is on
display at the Ropkey Armor Museum in Crawfordsville, IN.
High tech radio with low tech mule to
transport it with Merrill's Marauders during WWII.
The Pup. This was half the size of a
Jeep and normal passenger number was two.
The Pup was basically one person wide.
Thirty Six were made in the 1942 time frame and tested by the military but
nothing came of it.
This photo is post WWII but shows what the plant would have looked liked
during WWII. After WWII this plant was sold to AVCO and made
Shelvador Refrigerators (They are called Shelvador because they were the
first to have shelves on the inside of the door). Crosley auto
production was maintained by the Crosley Family and moved to Marion, IN
after the war as a new company. Plant size was 200 feet by 1,200
feet. Looking NW in this photo.