A Pictorial Glimpse of Kaiser / Frazer Over The Years
Kaiser Motors (formerly Kaiser-Frazer) Corporation made vehicles at Willow Run, Michigan, from 1945 to 1953. In 1953, Kaiser created a merger with Willys-Overland to found Willys Motors Incorporated, moving its fabrication operations to the Willys factory at Toledo, Ohio. In 1963, The organization changed its name to Kaiser Jeep Corporation.
Kaiser-Frazer showed their two new models at the
Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The Kaiser featured an advanced front wheel drive while the Frazer was a premium conventional rear wheel drive vehicle. The costs of production and the available time kept the front wheel drive from being produced, so the new 1947 Kaiser and Frazer models shared both bodies and powertrains. As they were some of the first autos with new designs available while the "Big Three" were all the while selling their pre-war vehicles, the Kaisers and Frazers made an impressive entrance. Kaiser and Frazer continued sharing bodies and engines throughout 1950 with unique interior and exterior trim packages.
Henry Kaiser had no previous experience marketing automobiles; but Joseph Frazer did, having held different positions with Packard, GM, Chrysler, and Willys-Overland. Kaiser had faith in pressing on even when faced with difficulty, while Frazer was more down to business. As the market for Kaiser-Frazer vehicles fell off in 1949 with the presentation of new cars from the Big Three, Kaiser pressed for increased production, making an oversupply of autos that took until the middle of 1950 to sell. Kaiser and Frazer had ongoing disagreements on how aggressive production ought to be until, at last, 1n 1951, Joseph Frazer left the organization and the Frazer nameplate was removed after a 1951 short 10,000 unit production run used up of the last of the 1949-50 bodies. The Kaiser-Frazer Corporation was renamed Kaiser Motors Corporation in 1952 and kept manufacturing passenger automobiles through 1955.
Kaiser purchased the ailing
Willys-Overland organization in 1953 for $63,381,175 and merged Kaiser and Willys operations into Kaiser-Willys Corporation. The decision was then made to leave the passenger automobile market, which was he did at the end of the 1955 model year run. By 1956, Willys Motors only manufactured utility vehicles, many were exported, and Kaiser was turning generous profits.
Production of Kaiser-Frazer models was focused at Willow Run, Michigan. Willow Run, the largest factory in the world at the time, was built by the U.S. government just before WWII for Henry Ford to manufacture B-24 Liberator bombers. Once the war was over, Ford had no interest in keeping the facility, and the War Assets Administration started looking for somebody to rent or purchase the building. When K-F communicated enthusiasm for the office, the WAA offered them an alluring five-year lease. K-F also had factories in Long beach Ca; Jefferson Mi; Leaside, Ontario, Canada; Portland, Or; Haifa, Israel; Kawasaki, Japan; Mexico City and Rotterdam. U.S. production was concentrated in Toledo, Ohio, upon the Willys-Overland purchase, beginning in 1953; the Willow Run plant was sold to General Motors after GM experienced a deplorable fire at their Livonia, Michigan, Hydramatic transmission plant and required a quick facility to resume production.
The company had been renamed in 1963 as The Kaiser Jeep Corporation, was sold to American Motors Corporation in 1970.
Kaiser Frazer Vehicles
Frazer - The Frazer (1946-1951) was the flagship senior line of upper-medium priced American luxury automobiles built by the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation of Willow Run Ypsilanti, Michigan, and was, with Crosley, the first American car with new envelope body and fresh postwar styling.
Frazer vehicles included Standard, Deluxe and Manhattan vehicles plus Vagabond hatchback. In 1951, the Frazer Manhattan convertible was the last American four-door convertible until the 1961 Lincoln Continental. Early 1947 Frazers were identified and marketed as a Graham-Paige vehicles.
1947 Frazer Manhattan
1948 Frazer Sedan
1949 Frazer Sedan
1950 Frazer Manhattan
1951 Frazer 4 door Vagabond
Kaiser vehicles included: Custom, Deluxe, Virginian, Carolina and Manhattan vehicles, and additionally the Traveler 4 door hatchback utility sedan, the post war production auto to feature supercharging (the 1954 Kaiser Manhattan).
1949 Kaiser Virginian
1950 Kaiser Virginian
1951 Kaiser Deluxe Custom Sedan
1951 Kaiser Traveler
1952 Kaiser Manhattan
1953 Kaiser Dragon
1954 Kaiser Convertible
1955 Kaiser Manhattan
Henry J (1950-1954)
The Henry J was manufactured by the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation and named after the chairman, Henry J. Kaiser. Production of six-cylinder models started in July 1950, while the manufacture of four-cylinder versions did not begin until after Labor Day, 1950. They were introduced September 28, 1950. The auto was sold through 1954.
The car was the brain child of Henry J. Kaiser, who looked for ways to expand sales of Kaiser vehicles by including an auto that could be manufactured reasonably and affordable the American public in a similar vein that Henry Ford manufactured the Model T. The objective was to draw in "less well-off purchasers who could only reach the cost of a used car" and the endeavor turned into a pioneering a compact American car.
The compact Henry car included Corsair and Vagabond models.
1951 Henry J
1952 Henry J Woody
1952 Henry J Woody
1953 Henry J
The Kaiser Darrin, also called the Kaiser Darrin 161 or Darrin for short, was a sports car designed by Howard "Dutch" Darrin and produced by Kaiser Motors in 1954. Basically a revamped Henry J, the Kaiser Darrin was one of its designer's last accomplishments and was the first American car featuring a fiberglass body, doors that slid on tracks into the front fenders. The auto carried both the name Henry J. Kaiser, head of Kaiser Motors, and Howard Darrin.
The fiberglass sports car beat Corvette to the market by a month.
1954 Kaiser Darrin
1954 Kaiser Darrin
Willys - 1952-1955
In 1952, created a new compact auto, the Willys Aero. Only available at first as a two-door sedan, it came with either a L-head or F-head six-cylinder engine. The Aero was only available for export with a four-cylinder. A four-door sedan and a two-door hardtop were included for 1953 alongside taxi models. The Aero autos were called Lark, Wing, Falcon, Ace, or Eagle contingent upon year, motor, and trim level, with the exception of a small production run in its last year in 1955 with models labeled Custom and Bermuda. The Willys Aero bodies were provided by the Murray Body company, which likewise manufactured the bodies for the Hudson Jet
In 1953, Kaiser Motors acquired Willys-Overland and changed the organization's name to Willys Motor Company. that year, Kaiser auto production was relocated from Willow Run, Michigan, to the Willys factory at Toledo
After the final Willys passenger auto was completed 1955, Willys sent the Aero's tooling to Brazil, where it was manufactured from 1960 to 1962, practically unaltered. Brooks Stevens updated the Aero for 1963, and it was manufactured by Ford (which purchased the Willys manufacturing plant) until the 1970s.
Willys, including "Air Willys" and all sub-trim levels included Aero Ace, Aero-Lark.
1952 Willys Aero Wing
1954 Willys Aero Ace Deluxe Sedan
1960 Willys Aero
Jeep, included CJ Vehicles, pick-ups, all steel wagons, Wagoneer and Jeepster models.
See the Jeep Page
Allstate, created to market in Sears-Roebuck department stores in the southern part of the US,
it was a marginally restyled Henry J. The autos were outfitted with Allstate items (tires, battery, and so on.). The unassuming styling changes setting the Allstate apart form the Henry J were designed by Alex Tremulis, 1948 Tucker Sedan stylist.
Get Your Very Own Kaiser Scale Models
1951 Kaiser Henty J Scale Model Shown
Approx. 7-1/2" Long
Scaled replicas of cars and trucks
Die-cast metal body with plastic details
Opening doors on all - some with opening hoods and trunks
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Kaiser / Fraser Vehicles Through the Years
Reviewed by Gene Wright on