1954 Kaiser Special Club Sedan

1954 Kaiser Special Club Sedan

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Palm Beach, Florida | April 12-15, 2018

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

The name of the entry-level Kaiser automobile seemed to change every year. In 1953 it was the Deluxe. In 1954 it was the Special (it was different in ’52 and ’55 too). And some of those 1954 Specials were just rebadged 1953 Deluxes that were left over (they also had some styling tweaks applied as well). The Special could be had as a four-door sedan or a two-door Club Sedan.

The Special is powered by a 3.7-liter straight-six making 118 horsepower. This car is one of the 1953 carry-over cars. It still sports the “jet airscoop” front grille that marked all 1954 Kaisers (which was added by the factory before sale) but you can tell it is a “first series” car because the rear glass is a single piece that does not wrap around to the sides.

About 3,500 1953 Kaisers were carried over and sold as 1954 Specials. The number of actual 1954 cars is much, much lower. But the Club Sedan is definitely the rarer of the two body styles. This car has had a cosmetic restoration and an engine rebuild, but the interior is original. These Kaisers are beautiful and rare cars that will stand out at any cruise-in you attend. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach lineup.

Update: Sold $44,000.

Kaiser Dragon

1953 Kaiser Dragon

Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 19, 2018

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Dragon was originally a trim level offered on 1951 Kaiser cars. Basically, they were cars equipped with faux-alligator skin interior (called “dragon skin” so no one got the impression that it was real alligator) and thick carpeting. In 1953, Kaiser, decided to build a top-shelf car also called the Dragon.

The 1953 Dragons were well-equipped and aimed at the top of the market. They were marketed as “safety” cars with featured like padded dashboards and pop-out windshields. They also had an electric clock, radio, gold-plated exterior nameplates and power steering. They were more expensive (at $3,924) than both a Buick Roadmaster and a Cadillac Series 62. Sales weren’t great because, while well-equipped, when compared with their more-expensive competition, they seriously lagged in the motor department. The Dragon is powered by a 118 horsepower, 3.6-liter straight-six. The Buick had a V-8 and 70 more horsepower.

Only built for 1953, Kaiser managed to move only 1,277 Dragons. The car is well-styled and definitely has standout looks. The vinyl top even looks like bamboo. The restoration on this car dates to 1982, but it’s still in great shape and is completely usable, as it’s been well-preserved since. This example should bring between $70,000-$90,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $37,400.

RM 2012 Hershey Highlights

RM Auctions’ 2012 sale in Hershey, Pennsylvania had a bunch of really old, really cool cars for sale. We featured the cream of the crop (at least from our perspective) and most of those sold. The one-of-a-kind South Bend Surrey failed to sell. So did the Stanley Mountain Wagon and 1915 Peerless. The top sale went to the Barrelside Model J Duesenberg for $1,292,500. Our other featured Duesenberg, the Murphy Sport Sedan, was the second-biggest sale at $792,000. One of the interesting cars we didn’t get a chance to feature was this 1914 Jeffrey Four Five-Passenger Touring that sold for $40,700.

1914 Jeffrey Four Five-Passenger Touring

One big seller was a horse-drawn fire wagon. There were three of these at this sale, but this was far exceeded the other two, at $396,000. It’s an 1894 Silsby Fourth Size Horse-Drawn Steam Pumper. It was pretty decked out and everyone seemed happy when it sold.

1894 Silsby Fourth Size Horse-Drawn Steam Pumper

Other interesting sales included this 1912 Baker Electric Model W Runabout. There’s something about the tires on this thing that make it look like it’s ready to go tackle some trails somewhere. It sold for $85,250.

1912 Baker Electric Model W Runabout

Other alternative-propulsion vehicles included our featured 1900 Milwaukee Steam Runabout for $44,000. The 1906 Pope-Waverley Electric Runabout brought $60,500. And the 1906 Columbus Model 1000 Electric Stanhope sold for $52,250. This 1913 Simplex 38HP Five-Passenger Touring, while not electric or steam-powered, was still cool at $214,500.

As was this 1910 White Model G-A Five-Passenger Touring that sold for $66,000.

There was an interesting selection of American cars from the 1950s and 60s that included this very rare 1966 Studebaker Daytona Sport, which sold for only $10,450.

Kaiser and Frazer were also represented. This 1949 Kaiser Deluxe Convertible sold for $57,200.

1949 Kaiser Deluxe Convertible

And this 1950 Frazer Manhattan sedan brought $49,500.

This 1903 Ford Model A Rear-Entry Tonneau is the oldest known Ford in existence being  one of the first three cars built by the Ford Motor Company. It came from the John O’Quinn  collection and sold for $264,000.

1903 Ford Model A Rear-Entry Tonneau

As many old Fords as you see at auctions, you don’t see too many pre-1920 Chevrolets. This sale had one and its a great looking car. It’s a 1918 D-Series V-8 Touring car and it sold for $46,200.

1918 Chevrolet D-Series V8 Touring

Our featured 1918 Roamer Five-Passenger Touring car sold for $93,500. And the 1920 Premier Model 6-D sold for $63,250. This 1919 Renault Type EU Torpedo seemed especially cheap at $49,500.

1919 Renault Type EU Torpedo

Another car I found interesting was this 1910 Metz Two Runabout. It also sold for $49,500.

1910 Metz Two Runabout

Our other two feature cars were the 1902 Northern Runabout for $66,000 and the 1906 American Tourist Roi des Belges Touring for $110,000. For complete results, check out RM’s website, here.

Henry J

1951 Henry J Deluxe

Offered by Mecum | North Little Rock, Arkansas | June 16, 2012

Henry J. Kaiser’s vision of what his post-war automotive empire would look like was, well, optimistic. Kaiser, along with Joseph Frazer, took the remnants of Graham-Paige and bought Ford’s wartime Willow Run production plant to build automobiles under the Kaiser and Frazer nameplates. In 1950, Kaiser decided to try and bolster production of his cars by pulling a play out of the Henry Ford playbook: build a small, inexpensive car for the masses. The Henry J was born (and it was marketed as its own make).

So how did they do it? Kaiser wanted a car that seated five adults and could do 50 mph “for sustained periods of time.” It also had to retail for $1,300 (about $12,500 in 2012). To hit these marks, they had to cut some corners: there was no trunk lid – you had to go through the rear seats, which was probably difficult as the car was only offered with two doors. The base model also lacked armrests, a glove compartment, a sun visor and flow-through ventilation. Fortunately, the car you see here is a Deluxe model.

Which means it has the straight-six (instead of the four-banger). It’s a 2.6-liter making 80 horsepower. Unfortunately, even though it was very cheap, it only cost a few dollars less than a Chevrolet 150 – which had a functioning trunk, armrests, and more interior room. Sales declined steadily through 1954 when the Henry J was axed.

They didn’t build millions of these cars – which was part of the problem originally, as Kaiser needed mass production to make a profit. He didn’t get it and the Kaiser nameplate disappeared from passenger cars in 1955. The company went on to focus on it’s recently acquired Willys and Jeep business, which went on to become part of AMC.

It was a pioneering compact car, but you just don’t see Henry Js everyday. And this one looks to be in exceptional condition. We’ll see what it brings when it sells. For more information and photos, click here. And for more on the Salmon Brothers Collection, click here.

Update: sold $16,000.