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Kaiser Frazer Industries Argentina


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History of the first automobile industrial plant in Argentina. Hope I have been of help to that Kaiser fan! Bob Frassinetti.

IKA �Kaiser Industries Argentina- was founded on January 19th 1955. The Argentinean government and the American businessman Henry Kaiser associated to establish an automobile industrial plant in the country.

Located in Santa Isabel, Córdoba, this was the first national automobile industrial plant. The Kaiser Industrial Center had about two hundred and forty hectares, where, after ten prosperous years, more than eleven hundred workers were employed.

On April 22nd 1955, the worldly famous Kaiser Jeep was, for the first time, produced and sold in Argentina. The next year, specially designed for rural purposes, the Estanciera enters the market, an icon regarding merchandize transportation that converged car�s commodities and velocity with the dimensions requested by transportation companies for shipping the products; also, this vehicle was more than suitable for the rocky Argentinean roads.

By 1958 the first car to be produced in the country by chain of montage was the Kaiser Carabela sedan. After launching this vehicle to the market, IKA controlled more than the 81% of the national car production.

IKA maintained it�s high productivity all along it�s short history, launching to the market almost one new model per year. In 1959 Baqueano, in 1960 Kaiser Bergantín and the Dauphine (also the Gordini version), in 1962 the famous Rambler, licensed by American Motors, in 1964 it produced a new Jeep: the Gladiator, and by December with less than ten plants in the country IKA exceeds the 250.000 autos production.

By April 1965 the company produces a new Rambler with Tornado engine, and includes this powerful engine to other models such as the Estanciera and the Gladiator Jeep. On October that year, IKA buys SIAM auto industries increasing even more its vertiginous growth.

In 1966 the Torino, IKA�s first integral national product enters the market. One year latter, on November 1967 Régie Nationale des Usines, Renault joins IKA. >From then on, Kaiser would no longer be IKA, but IKA-Renault, a very profitable partnership that would soon give birth to mass consumption models such as the Renault 12. This opens a new era in the Argentinean car industry.

As for after 1975, the plant located at Santa Isabel would no longer be IKA, but Renault Argentina S.

Rambler American Rouge is like the Torino,made in Argentina? Read on and enjoy and mystery .....

There's a mystery around the Argentine Torino car. This model is not only not a Ford, but it's completely different from the American version. The first question that arises is: How did the Argentineans managed to use an American trademark for a completely different product without being busted?

First a bit of history about the magnificent American Torino model. This car was produced by Ford for the American market between 1968-1976. It was a medium size version for those days' standards and it replaced the Ford Fairlane, although that name was retained for the base models with different trim than those that wore the Torino name. Available in a number of body styles this model featured a two-door fastback, two or four-door hardtop, a four-door station wagon, and a two-door convertible, while the Ford Ranchero car-based pickup used the same front end. Engine choices ranged from a 302 cubic inch small-block V8 to Ford's FE series 390 cubic inch big-block. The Torino GT was the upscale model, with extra 'sport' trim. During the following years much work would be done around this model, impoving its outstanding characteristics and expressing the latest innovations within the autoproduction industry. Its stylish and cool appearance was what guys called a "chick magnect" as well as an outstanding car. That's why it has remained as a beloved and covetted possetion to our days, when some of these terrific pieces are collectables.

The Argentinean Torino also has a rich history to offer. Alike the American Torino, the Argentinean one was a breackthrough automobile. In 1966 the Torino, IKA's first integral national product enters the market. One year latter, on November 1967 R¿gie Nationale des Usines, Renault joins IKA. >From then on, Kaiser would no longer be IKA, but IKA-Renault, a very profitable partnership that would soon give birth to mass consumption models such as the Renault 12. This opens a new era in the Argentinean car industry. According to the sources we've researched, IKA and American Motors had signed an agreement for this car's production in our country. The Rambler American Rouge was the foundation from which engineers and designers would be working on to create "our" Torino. The famous Italian carman Pininfarina would be the one who would adapt that standard version to the Latin style market by altering the front end and grille as well as the interior. The ultimate cool detail was the bull plaque on the grill, as a homage to the Argentine's pampas that at the same time traced a link line with Ferrari's "cavallino rampanti"-wild horse- and Lamborghini's bull. On November 30th 1966 this glamorous car was presented to the Argentine market. Alike the American model, this Torino's impact on the consumers' market was just perfect. Everybody wanted to own a Torino, it was a cool, glamorous, fast and top of the top possession. Specially after the record breaking in Nuremberg in 1969 after 84 hours run. And also, alike the American one still is, and has become a precious collectible for those automobile lovers. Such was this car's impact in to the Latin market that soon after it was released, there were made scale auto models reproductions of this beauty. Among the most careful and glorious diecast Torino examples was Buby's, a coveted toy back then and a beloved collectible nowadays.

It appears the mystery has been solved. Two different models, sharing the same name which have had an incredible impact within the automobile market and have set really high standards for future productions and left a permanent mark within this industry's evolution.

Bob Frassinetti, travelling the south of South America for art and antique cars and antiques,....

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  • 2 months later...

Fantastic IKA research you got there - I have not seen as detailed work apart from a book i just finished reading today! published in 2000 "Jeep from Bantam to Wranger" by Bill Munroe published by Crowood Press in the UK see page 69 according that Kaiser was keen to concentrate in the US on Jeep vehicles and bring an end to making passager cars in the US so Kaiser ran down the production of passagers cars there was drastic price cutting on Kaiser products and Willys bulk of its production for 1955 being sold to Argentina (and other markets even Israel) (there were plans previously of creating bigger engines for the US) but Kaiser knew he was 'licked' by the big 3 and knew to call it a day!

as for Torino Buby did make a nice diecast of this model i bought one on Kiwi auction site trademe for $20.00 1/60 scale NZ Mint and boxed and a mint and Boxed Ford Falcon 1960 XK sedan (which understand Falcon shape (although interior and mechanicals moderised) stayed in production in Argentina until around 1990!

As For Torino copyright - Trademarks for models are often restricited to regional area's the IKA Torino was never sold in the US and Torino name may have if anything IKA may have copyright for the region and latin American countries where it was sold

For Example Daimler of the UK produced 1961-1964 a Fibreglass Roadster powered by its 2.5 Litre alloy V8 engine and in Britain car was called Daimler Dart SP250 however limited numbers of these cars did find their way to the US but could not be sold as a Dart because Dart had trademark and production for there!

Here in New Zealand Subaru had the Leone range and updated it calling it the Omega in 1987 but in US and Germany General Motors has rights for Omega name (Oldsmonile Omega) but when Opel of Germany decided to sell 50-100 new Opel Omega GSI3000 sedans (good for 137mph) in 1987-1990 they were unable to call them Omegas instead it was simply called Opel GSI3000 - However the Ownership by Subaru on Omega name seems to have lost its bite as General Motors here sells now its basic Holden Commodore VE as Holden Commodore Omega V6 (Basic version of your Pontiac C8)

Cheers Julian

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  • 9 years later...

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