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Pictorial History of Kaiser and Frazer Automobiles

Kaiser - Frazer built almost 750,000 cars in their short existance. The first cars were produced in late 1946 as 1947 offerings and the last cars were built in the United States as 1955 models. Kaiser-Willys, or as it was by then known, Willys Motors, continued to manufacture Willys Jeep vehicles in the United States until 1970 when the automobile branch of Kaiser Industries was sold to American Motors.

The 1954-5 model vehicles were resurrected in Argentina and known there as the Carabela. To learn more about these unique automobiles, as well as the entire IKA and Willys do Brazil operations, visit this  website .

Pictured below are some of the vehicles that Kaiser Frazer built. Most of the cars pictured belong to Kaiser Frazer Owners Club members and have been restored and maintained by people dedicated to preserving the history of these fine automobiles. As such, some of the cars may have subtle differences in appearance or equipment than when they were new. Still, if you've ever wondered what a Kaiser or Frazer looks like, well...take a look!

***This page is under construction and WILL be changing !!***
 
 
 
 
1947 Kaiser (K100)
The 1947 Kaiser was first introduced in 1946 as a 1947 model.
Total manufactured: Approx. 65000


1947 Frazer (F47)
The 1947 Frazer was the upscale version of the Kaiser. Frazer and Kaiser, at first, tried to market their cars independently but
costs soon forced Graham-Paige, the parent company of Frazer to merge with Kaiser. Frazers differ from Kaisers in exterior trim
and inteior amenities such as center arm rests and more expensive materials.
Total manufactured: 36120


1949 Kaiser (K492)
The 1949 Kaiser was a facelifted version of the 1947-48 model. A new grille and larger tail lights replaced the earlier versions.
Interiors also got a new look with the dash receiving new, larger gauges along with a new steering wheel. The 1949 model was
also sold as a 1950 model, done by changing serial number tags, a result of overproduction and the resultant unsold cars.
Total manufactured: 31420 (Special), 37660 (DeLuxe)



 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

1949 Kaiser Traveler (K491)

In 1949 Kaiser introduced the Traveler, America's first true hatchback automobile. Manufactured by hinging the rear sheet metal
in two places, the Traveler was billed as the perfect vehicle for the family as well as hunters, grocers, florists, ambulance services
and undertakers! The rear seat folded flat and the spare tire was mounted against the left rear door, which was welded shut. This
gave the car quite a bit of usable cargo space and advertisements showed people carrying just about anything in their Traveler.
The Vagabond was a much fancier version of the Traveler, available with leather interiors and wood finished cargo areas. Like
the sedan models, the Traveler and Vagabond models were sold as 1949 and 1950 models, a result of overproduction.
Total manufactured: 19954 (Special), 4476 (Vagabond)

1949 Kaiser convertible (K492)
The 1949 Kaiser convertible was introduced by KF to dress up their line of automobiles. All they had to offer was a basic four door
sedan so plans were started in 1948 to build a convertible. This was accomplished by literally cutting the top off a sedan and reinforcing
the frame and body to stiffen the vehicle so doors wouldn't fly open in turns, something that happened all to frequently on the test models.
The window frames were fixed so the car tended to look rather odd with the top down, but the car was quite attractive none the less.
It was said that KF lost about $5000 on each one constructed due to all of the hand built sections of the car and the special frames used.
Total manufactured: 44 in 1949 and 1950.


1951 Kaiser 2 Door (K512)
The 1951 Kaiser was introduced in March 1950. The final design had been worked out in late 1948 and was done by
Howard 'Dutch' Darrin. Darrin had contributed to the design of the 1947 models and was back to deliver a truly new
body style for 1951. The 51 Kaisers were offered in several body styles that included a 2 and 4 door sedan, a 2 door
club coupe, a business coupe and 2 and 4 door Traveler models. Exterior colors and interior fabrics also got a facelift.
Total manufactured: 62000 (Includes all Special models), 77452 (Includes all DeLuxe models)


1951 Frazer Manhattan convertible (F516)
The 1951 Frazer convertible was a product of leftover bodies earmarked for 1949-50 Virginian and convertible
production. Only 131 of these cars were made. The KFOCI registry knows of the whereabouts of about half of
the cars, with the rest probably lost to time. The cars were assembled in Jackson, Michigan.
Total manufactured: 131



1951 Frazer Manhattan hardtop (F516)
The 1951 Frazer Manhattan hardtop, like the convertible, was built to use up leftover sedan and hardtop bodies. The 1949-50
bodies were reworked with new sheet metal forward of the cowl and new rear quarter panels. Windows were vacuum operated,
while on the convertibles they were hydraulically operated, along with the top. Weighing nearly 2 tons, they were underpowered
with the 112 bhp engine. The first six cars were stick shift cars, the rest were Hydramatics.
Total manufactured: 152

1951 Frazer sedan (F515)
The 1951 Frazer came about as a result of overproduction in 1949 and 50. KF built too many early series cars and with the
introduction of the 1951 models, couldn't reserial old bodies for another year. So, KF added new sheet metal and new rear
quarter panels and the 1951 Frazer was born. Exactly 10,214 Frazers in all series were built and were very popular in
sedan form.
Total manufactured: 6960, (sedan), 2914, (Vagabond)


1951 Kaiser Special Traveler (K511)
The 1951 Kaiser Traveler was built on the same platform as the sedan models. Where the 1949-50 models had a flat rear
floor, the 1951 Traveler had a section of the floor higher than the rest, a result of lowering the body on the frame. This meant
that the carrying capacity and loading was somewhat compromised, but those who owned the cars still loved them. Available
in both 2 and 4 door models, the Traveler was trimmed in Special and DeLuxe versions.
Total manufactured: 928 (2 door Special), 2556 (4 door Special), 367 (2 door DeLuxe), 1535 (4 door DeLuxe).



 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

1951 Henry J (K513)

The 1951 Henry J was the result of the condition of a loan that KF received from the RFC. Henry Kaiser long wanted an
inexpensive automobile to sell alongside the more costly, and larger offerings from his company. A contest was run to name
the car with the winner, a college student's wife from Denver, choosing the name Henry J. Early J's were devoid of
many creature comforts we're used to today. Missing were things like a trunk lid, glove box, opening vent windows and arm rests.
Sears also got into the act, selling Allstate versions in 1952 and 53. The Henry J was produced from 1951 - 1954.
Total manufactured, approx: 85827 (1951), 25100 (1952, inlcudes Allstate), 17500 (1953, includes Allstate), 1123 (1954)

1952 Kaiser Manhattan (K522)
In 1952 the Manhattan name was revived, last being used on the 1951 Frazer Manhattan hardtop models. The 1952 Kaiser was
built in two forms, the Virginian, which was a reserialed leftover 1951, and the 'true' 1952's. Built in 2 and 4 door models, the
Manhattan and Deluxe models were feted to a short model year, due to the leftover vehicles from 1951.
Total manufactured: 5579, (Virginian), 7800 (DeLuxe), 18752, (Manhattan).


1953 Sears Allstate (3304)
In the early 50's, Sears and Kaiser Frazer began talks at allowing Sears to market an automobile bearing their name, something
not done since the Highwheeler. In 1952 Sears began selling the Allstate at selected outlets, mostly in the southern part of the U.S.
The cars had Sears components wherever possible, items like tires, batteries, seats covers and other optional items all bore the
Sears Allstate label. Few were sold in the 1952 and 53 model years and fewer survive today.
Total manufactured: 1566 (1952), 797 (1953).


1953 Kaiser Carolina (K538)
The 1953 Carolina was produced to try to lure customers back into KF showrooms. The Dragon, KF's attempt at a luxury
model failed to draw large numbers into dealerships, so KF tried to go the other way with a stripped down DeLuxe, calling
it the Carolina. No side trim, spartan interiors and less chrome didn't work either and few were sold.
Total manufactured: 1812 in both 2 and 4 door models.


1953 Kaiser Manhattan (K532)
The 1953 Kaiser used the same body shell and fenders as the 1952 model with few changes. Added were chrome spears on
the rear fender tops and the headlight rings were changed from a stainless ring to a pot metal winged affair. Also changed was
the hood ornament. Inside, bamboo, a vinyl material that resembled woven bamboo, was used for dash, door panel and seat
treatments. Color choices again changed and for the first time, power steering was an available option on the Dragon model.
Total manufactured: 18748, 2 and 4 door models.


1953 Kaiser Dragon (K530)
The Kaiser Dragon was built in 1951 as a trim option to the DeLuxe. In 1953 the name was again used, but this time the name
Dragon became it's own model in the Kaiser lineup. Featuring gold plated trim, padded vinyl roofs and luxurious interiors, the
Kaiser Dragon represented the finest in luxury for Kaiser.
Total manufactured: 1277


1954 Kaiser Special (Early Series) (K545)
The Kaiser Special was conceived to use up leftover 1953 bodies, the result of yet another overproduction. The 1953
body shell and interior was used with 1954 front sheet metal and tail lights grafted on. Unfortunately, the new tail light
assemblies didn't completely cover the area vacated by the 1953 fender spears so most cars needed repainted. No Kaiser
Specials were equipped with superchargers but a few did leave the factory with Monroe power steering.
Total Manufactured: 1910 (4 door), 350 (2 door). Both estimates.


1954 Kaiser Manhattan (K542)
The 1954 and 55 Kaiser Manhattan has been described by many as the most eye appealing Kaiser produced. KF knew the
end was near when this car went to production, but did so with a truly interesting automobile. Sporting new sheetmetal from
the cowl forward, a larger 3 piece rear window and new taillights, the 54 Kaiser was truly unique. Manhattan models also
benefitted from a McCulloch centrifugal supercharger, boosting horsepower from 118 to 140. Aside from the big buck models,
the 54 is probably the most collectible model of all produced.
Total manufactured: 4110 (1954), 1291 (1955)


1954 Kaiser Darrin (DKF161)
The 1954 Kaiser Darrin is arguably the most collectible Kaiser product ever produced. Only 435 of these fibreglass
vehicles were built, and about 400 survive today. Essentially hand built using a heavily modified Henry J chassis, the
car was assembled in Jackson, Michigan in the same building used to build convertibles a few years before. Retailing for
$3400 in 1954, they were not big sellers and it's rumored that a few that were left over were sold to Dutch Darrin and
refitted at his Santa Monica studio with Cadillac V8 engines.
Total manufactured: 435,  plus approximately 7 prototypes.



1952 Willys Aero
Kaiser Frazer purchased the Willys Overland, or by then known as Willys Motors Company in 1953. Kaiser Willys, as it was
to be known, continued to produce the Willys Aero, which started production in 1952.


1954 Willys Aero Eagle Custom
By 1954, Kaiser - Willys was on it's way out as a contender in the passenger car market. This car, a rare Aero Eagle Custom, was
factory fitted with a continental kit to try to boost sales. At almost $2500, the car wasn't cheap and only 302 were sold.
Total manufactured: 302


1962 Willys Station Wagon
When Kaiser bought Willys Motors, it also bought a guaranteed winner, the Jeep line. Kaiser continued to produce Jeeps until 1970, when
the line was sold to American Motors. This example is an early 60's unit, as is evidenced by the one-piece windshield.


1970 Kaiser Jeepster
The last of the Kaiser Jeep line, the Jeepster, was built in 1970. The Jeepster was a revival of the late 40's Jeepster, built by Willys
Overland.

Still to come...the 1949 and 1952 Virginians, Allstates and more!

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