Junkyard Gem: 1947 Frazer Manhattan

Junkyard Gem: 1947 Frazer Manhattan

0 0
Read Time:4 Minute, 55 Second

Automobiles bearing the Kaiser badge— with its Je suis prêt (I’m prepared) slogan— have been offered for simply the 1947 by 1951 mannequin years, so you will not discover many in your native automobile graveyard lately (although I did handle to discover a discarded ’51 Frazer Vagabond a decade in the past). That is a disgrace, as a result of the contemplation of a weathered Frazer opens an interesting window into some necessary automotive historical past. This is one of many first automobiles ever produced by the Kaiser-Frazer Company, now residing in a Denver self-service yard.

Joseph Washington Frazer— sure, that center identify derives from an ancestry that included the primary President of the US— is not a family identify now, however he performed a pivotal function within the formation of Chrysler Company (it was Frazer who thought up the identify for the Plymouth Division), went on to run Willys-Overland (the place he trademarked the Jeep model) throughout World Conflict II, after which took over Graham-Paige with the plan of constructing thousands and thousands of civilian automobiles after the battle. Missing capital, he joined forces with industrialist Henry J. Kaiser (who masterminded the corporate that cranked out 2,710 Liberty Ships in the course of the battle) and the 2 males created the Kaiser-Frazer Company.

The corporate leased the huge Willow Run plant in Michigan, initially constructed to fabricate B-24 Liberator bombers in the course of the battle, and— in true Liberty Ship trend— got here up with designs for 2 all-new automobiles seemingly in a single day. One was a radical unibody-chassis machine with front-wheel-drive that by no means made it into manufacturing regardless of loads of hype throughout 1946, whereas the opposite was a traditional body-on-frame sedan with rear-wheel-drive and a parts-bin powertrain. The second design went into manufacturing at Willow Run as a 1947 mannequin, with the Frazer variations priced greater than their Kaiser counterparts. The Manhattan was the top-of-the-line Kaiser-Frazer mannequin, priced at $2,550 (about $35,145 in 2022 {dollars}) that yr. You could possibly purchase the lower-zoot Kaiser Particular model for a mere $1,868 ($25,745 in the present day).

Ford, GM, and Chrysler have been nonetheless constructing prewar designs at the moment, so the slab sides of the Kaiser-Frazers seemed futuristic by comparability. The postwar scarcity of recent automobiles meant that consumers did not a lot care if their ’47s and ’48s have been actually late-Thirties designs, whilst streamlined rocket-powered plane flew quicker than sound, so determined automobile customers snapped up every thing new with 4 wheels and an engine in the course of the 1946-1948 interval (my grandfather purchased a brand new 1946 Crosley as his postwar work automobile and regretted the choice instantly).

As soon as the Detroit Large Three had completed the transition from constructing tanks and bombers to designing and constructing trendy Particular Deluxes, Tudors, and Chieftans, although, the get together was over for Kaiser-Frazer. Not solely did everybody’s 1949 fashions function slab-sided our bodies, however overhead-valve engines have been turning into the Subsequent Large Factor. Cadillac and Oldsmobile boasted brand-new pushrod V8s that yr, Chevrolet had supplied an OHV straight-six for the reason that Nineteen Twenties (Buick offered OHV straight-eights beginning in 1931), and even the flathead-engine holdouts have been jacking up compression ratios and making their outdated valve-in-block engines appear trendy. In the meantime, Kaiser-Frazer was caught with probably the most generic of off-the-shelf engines possible: the Continental flathead straight-six.

The historical past of this engine is so tangled that I would have to write down a doctoral dissertation to do it justice right here, however the condensed model is that Continental constructed engines for different producers (of tractors, plane, mills, vehicles, automobiles, you identify it) beginning in 1905, and ultimately greater than 100 makes of car could be constructed utilizing some variant of the Continental flathead straight-six. The truth is, the final new flathead-equipped automobile you would purchase in the US was the 1964 Checker Marathon, which could possibly be bought with a 226-cubic-inch (3.7-liter) Continental.

Kaiser-Frazers additionally used the Continental 226 (the later Kaiser Henry J used Willys flathead engines), coupled to a three-on-the-tree column-shift guide transmission. Kaiser-Frazer gross sales collapsed in 1949, by no means to recuperate. Joe Frazer stop the corporate after infinite squabbles with the cussed Henry Kaiser, and the Frazer model obtained the axe after 1951 (when the automobiles have been simply 1950 fashions constructed with leftover components).

The final Kaiser-badged automobiles offered in America have been 1955 fashions, whereas Jeep manufacturing continued underneath the Kaiser-owned Willys Motor Company after which Kaiser-Jeep. Jeep ended up within the fingers of American Motors, which was consumed by Chrysler in 1987. We may thus contemplate in the present day’s Junkyard Gem to be a distant ancestor of the automobiles made by the present-day Stellantis Empire, making it a cousin many instances eliminated of the Opel Grandland Plug-in Hybrid and Peugeot 208. The Kaiser Permanente healthcare firm, based throughout World Conflict II as a way of offering medical take care of Kaiser shipyard workers in California and named after the creek close to Kaiser’s cement plant, is probably the most seen remnant in the present day of Kaiser-Frazer.

Full of historical past as it’s, this automobile by no means had an opportunity of getting put again on the street after spending many years outdoor in Excessive Plains Colorado. A really good ’47 Manhattan simply is not value a lot now, sadly, so a tough one is value its weight in scrap.

Bear in mind, your Kaiser-Frazer vendor is delivering now!

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.