Hooniverse Weekend Edition – A 1951 Frazer Manhattan 4-Door Convertible on eBay

Hello and welcome to the Hooniverse whatever I feel like posting weekend. Cars from the early 50s really have no particular interest with me except for the strange world of Kaiser-Frazer. This was a car company that was created right after World War II in 1945, with two captains of industry at the helm. Joseph W. Frazer was an automobile executive for the Graham-Paige company, and Industrialist Henry J. Kaiser who built Kaiser Aluminum, and Kaiser Shipyards. But this isn’t the story of the Kaiser companies, it is a showcase for what would be the last car that would bear the name Frazer.

The image above is a 1949 Frazer Manhattan Convertible, and the reason why I am showing this image ties in with the 1951 that is currently for sale on eBay. You see, in 1951 there was a brand new Kaiser body that wasn’t shared with the companion make Frazer. There was a growing split between Henry Kaiser and Joseph Frazer on how to run a car company. Henry kept producing cars, even though demand started to slow. The result was that there were so many vehicles that were produced, the holding lots around the Willow Run facility were overflowing with unsold 1949 and 1950 models. Mr. Frazer left the company in 1951.

The problem was what to do with all those leftover 1950 models. After a very hasty design study, a hew front clip, and new rear fenders provided an interesting face-lift, and they were sold as 1951 Frazers. Take a look at the above image and compare it to the 1949, and you can see the new sheet-metal combined with the old body makes for a dramatic difference.

This 1951 Frazer was one of only 131 built, and it looks impeccable. According to the listing:

The car was restored in the 1980s in Texas. After I bought it, I discovered that an old friend and Kaiser-Frazer fan from our days of being active in the Milestone Car Society bought the car out of the restoration shop and drove it for a few years. He and his wife like to drive their collector cars to car meets and did so with this one. He soon blew the engine and told another K-F friend that he was going to put a small block Chevy engine in it unless the friend bought it. His friend couldn’t stand the thought of that and so he bought the car.

The buyer used to work for the KF distributor in Minneapolis. After Kaiser wound up U S operations, and the distributor was winding up the business, the buyer bought several brand new Kaiser Continental engines and kept them. One of these brand new engines was installed in my car. The buyer used the car very little, as he had some 20 other Kaisers, Frazers and Willys cars. So my Frazer shows 6000 miles since restoration and less than half of that is on the new engine. These two fellows are still around and can verify this story.

The Frazer turned up one day in the neighborhood quite by surprise and I bought it. Since then I have spent quite a bit of time and money fixing things, having things fixed, and generally getting it running right.

· The car has Hydra-Matic which works fine.
· It was entirely reupholstered in leather (Kaiser and Frazer convertibles came that way and were lavishly and colorfully trimmed). There are folding center armrests front and rear.
· Hyrdro-electric windows front and rear and hydraulic top.
· The top works fine, but the windows are slow because the piston seals have dried out somewhat.
· Steering wheel is the deluxe model and is good though there are some hairline cracks.
· The car is equipped with KF radio and heater, and clock.
· I have the owner’s manual and shop manuals.
· All of the chrome is good, and there is a lot of chrome on the car especially the interior.
· All in all, it was a lavishly and colorfully trimmed car.
· It still looks like the car in the Frazer sales catalog, which is the same color (a copy also goes with the car).
· Even the top boot is leather.
· There is an ornate plastic grille emblem with the family crest of Joe Frazer on it. I have just replaced it with a new one.
· KF introduced the convertibles in 1949.
· 131 Frazer convertibles were built and sold.
· About 10,000 Frazers of other body styles were also built for 1951 before Frazer production was ended for good.

[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=434RSlUQiAs[/youtube]

With a little over 2-days to go, the bidding is at $25,500 with an unmet reserve. Yes these are rare and almost as luxurious as period Cadillacs and Packards, without the power. So, take a look at the listing, and tell me what you think the final bid will be to win this car.

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