Our family car (Crossley) in Hong Kong, circa 1951 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Our family car (Crossley) in Hong Kong, circa 1951

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Our family car (Crossley) in Hong Kong, circa 1951

Our family car (Crossley) in Hong Kong, circa 1951. The family of Bandmaster Leslie Fereday, Wilshire Regiment. With my mother, two sisters and younger brother.

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Monday, January 1, 1951


That's the first time I've seen one of these Crosley cars - they look very distictive. Also looks as though it was quite a squeeze to fit everyone inside?

Hello Daivid.

You are correct! My father really struggled to maintain the car due I beleive to restrictions on imports at the time. I remember him carrying the engine into the house (Rawlinson House as it now is) and brazing the steel water jacket to prevent coolant leaks. Tyre replacement was impossible. Brake failure was not unknown! However, it provided transport for the family as well as the drive from Victoria Barracks HK to his camp near the border via Star Ferries. I used to go with him on some Saturdays. If I can locate the receipt for the car from a local doctor, I will forward a scan. I am always on the lookout for photos of the WO1 Quarters as none have come to light within the family. Both a business colleague and a niece have tried to photograh our end of Rawlison House without success. When we lived in Victoria Barracks, our approach was via the road that eventually passed the Peak Tram terminus, turning left before then, entering via a controlled gate and I think the house was just inside on the right hand side. The Crossley lived in a bay on the lefthand side more or less opposite Rawlinson House.

Regards, Alan.

Dear Alan,

​That was a very unusual car to have, even then! Crossley were more well known for Army vehicles and Buses. 

​I am writing a Book on the "First 100 years of Motoring in Hong Kong" and would love to include any anecdotes you have related to your trips out in the car.

​Best,                IAN

Hi Ian.

Happy to assist. I was 10/11 years old at the time and certainly can recall a few adventures in the Crossley. My slightly younger sister has a better memory so I will have a word with her. Although my father was a musician, we would certainly not had the use of a car without his engine & general car knowledge. As far as I know, the two images already submitted are the only one that we have. When my mother's house was being cleared, I vaguely remember coming across an invice for the purchase. I will follow that up. Another thing that has come to mind is that I had a hobby of collecting matchboxes and cigatette boxes from in and around Victoria. There may be some hidden transport references. Best of the luck with the project.

Best regards, Alan.

p.s. I do recall typical American cars of the the period being used as taxis, in the main Studebakers (with the spaceship styled bonnet).

Hi Alan,

​Thanks for getting back to me. If you find anything of interest (the Receipt would be VERY interesting!!) or have a better resolution Scan of those photos, please send to me at ian@netvigator.com.

​If you still live in HK, come on down to Edinburgh Place Central this weekend and see the "Motoring Clubs' Festival". I organise this Show annually for all types of car and motorcycle enthusiasts. Sunday 4th.Feb.2018, 9.00am to 5.00pm.

Best,                IAN 


Hi Ian. I will take another look at the negatives. Unfortunately already booked on Sunday (The Play That Went Wrong) in London. Otherwise I would have jumped on the next plane! I would very much like to revisit HK though one day. Not returned since our stay in 1950/2. Alan.

Hi Alan,

​Get prepared for a LOT of changes ... I arrived here in 1989/'90 and the differences I see are remarkable, so you will really be 'blown away' by how things have changed (reclaimations, and buildings ever higher!!).

​Thanks for taking the time to see if you have any more Motoring related photos and memories.

Best,                 IAN 

Hi Ian. I beleive that the "Fleet Cub", one of my parent's favourite haunts, is now separated from the water by a six lane highway. Perhaps I should have said "the site of". A niece plus a business associate have both tried to photograph the right hand end of Rawlinson House for me without success. I would imagine that a modern structure prevents access. We occupied that end when the building comprised 2 x WO1 Quarters. The Crossley used to be parked in a small recess on the opposite side of the road. In fact, my father used the wall at the end of the bay when the brakes were hot after a run! Great memories! Regards, Alan.

Hi Alan,

​You definitely wouldn't recognise the Fleet Club these days!

​Drop me an email to ian@netvigator.com ... I'm an Architect so am interested in heritage buildings. I'm not familiar with the Name (Rawlinson House) but show me where it is on a Map and I'll try to find it during the CNY holidays (1 or 2 weeks away). I am buying a new fancy Camera, so a good reason to use it. You are going to the hassle of digging out your old car images for me, so let me reciprocate by at least trying to find your old residence ... but  I'd be amazed if it still exists. I used to work on Projects for HK Government and their appreciation for heritage structures is rather limited ... Land has value, old buildings are "just in the way!" ... but if this was on Military Land there is a better chance it is still there (but under the control of Chinese PLA).

Best,                    IAN 


Sounds great Ian. The WO1 Quarters were listed and retained as part of HK Park. The complete building, now known as Rawlinson House, is now the home of the HK Marriage Registry. The current photos available on the internet are taken from the end of the building with the additional glazed covered walk - used by newly married couples as they make their way into the park for manditory photos. I lived in the other end. Converted into a single building I think in the 60s.  The building is now closed in and painted coral. In my time, open varandas and a more conventional white. Regards, Alan.

I was looking at car photos online, and I think this one was an American Crosley, not a British Crossley.

Hello David.

Definitely American. The fabricated sheet steel engine had been developed for use during WW2. I believe in the B17 Flying Fortress and also used as air dropped water pumps etc. Prone to leaking that is why my father had to resort to soldering/brazing on a few ocassions. I think I had prviously mentioned that it was probably the smallest car to come out of the U.S. Do not know of any connection with the earlier English Crossley.

I will submit the sales receipt from the previous owner, a Chinese doctor. I also now have the image of my mother with her English language students.

Regads, Alan.