Craigslist Find: 1951 Henry J 4×4

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What do you get when you cross a poorly designed and marketed car with a poorly designed and marketed truck? You get one awesome car that appeals to everyone and no one at the same time. Take a look at this 1951 Henry J, with a lift kit.

Remember that Allstate we learned about a few months ago? This is pretty much the same car. Like the Allstate, this 1951 Henry J is a stripped down, basic car with a few seats and a steering wheel. Kaiser reckoned, somewhat naively, that American buyers would buy a compact car with very few features and excellent fuel economy: sadly, he was about 20 years ahead of his time. Americans in the 1950’s were waking up to the post-war boom, and they wanted big, fast, cars with all the bells and whistles; in other words, everything that the Henry J wasn’t. That’s another story for another day, though. Let’s take a look at this J and see what exactly the buyer has for us.

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From the ad:

51 Henry J, Bronco II running gear, ps,pb, 2.8 V6 5 speed, all new glass and rubber, straight rust free body, new tires and wheels, rebuilt engine, runs and drives great gets loads of thumbs up,7500 or trade.

It’s hard to tell by looking at these pictures, but it appears this is J has no trunk lid, a cost-cutting feature that Kaiser thought customers would appreciate. I guess they do appreciate it today, but only as a novelty. Perhaps they should have marketed it as a safety feature: “They can’t steal what you can’t reach.”

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The Bronco II running gear under this Henry J appears to be well-done, even though the frame seems to be about an inch short. Overall, though, I think this might be fun to drive, and it would definitely turn some heads. Would you jump at the chance to own this unusual piece of automobilia, or should this be left to the dustbin of history?

[Source: Seattle Craigslist]

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