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I've been a Ford or Studebaker guy most of my life, but some of the mid-50's Kaisers have been looking pretty darn good to me of late. Manhattans and Dragons are flashy and stylish, but are 4 doors. Did Kaiser make any 2 door coupes besides the Henry J and the Darren sportscar? I am not finding good links on the web to educate myself on all the different models. Thanks.

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In March of 1950, KF introduced the 1951 models with an all new design that included two and four door models. The two doors came in Business Coupe (no back seat), Club Coupe and two door sedan configurations. Trim lines included the Special and DeLuxe models and later in the model year, the Dragon was introduced. KF also continued, in the new body, the Traveler - a hatchback where the trunk lid folded down and the space around the rear glass flipped up, creating a large opening for loading cargo. The rear seat was hinged so that it folded flat.

 

The 226 engine was retained with an increase in horsepower and for the first time, an automatic - the Hydramatic from GM - was available as an extra cost option.

 

In 1953, KF again made the Dragon available but this time, instead of its being a trim option, it became its own model. All Dragons, 1951 and 1953 were four door sedans.

 

1954 saw Kaiser Manhattans equipped with a McCulloch supercharger, done in an effort to boost sales since everyone wanted a V8 and power, and KF had neither with the old 226 six cylinder.

 

Two door Kaisers were produced every year from 1951 thru 1955 in almost every model and trim line but were not made in large numbers so they are less prevalent today than their four door siblings. On the upside, if you do find one you like, aside from the parts needed to make it a two door, just about all parts from a four door interchange.

 

Some of the rarest two doors are the 1951-52 Deluxe (club) Coupe, the 1951-52 Business Coupe and the 1953 Carolina two door sedan, a loss-leader intended to drive prospects to showrooms. The Carolina was devoid of most trim, used lower grade interior materials and were produced in very low numbers.

 

And, of course, we can't forget about the Henry J and Darrin. The former was conceived to appeal to a growing small car market and the Darrin to cater to those looking for something sporty. The Henry J became popular with the hot rodder crowd because they were lightweight and had plenty of room up from for a much bigger engine. That said, there are plenty of good, restorable cars available today. The Darrin has, and continues today, to be a niche market car. Values on them were always higher than the rest of KFs offerings, but once the Barrett-Jackson auction bunch got wind of them prices soared. They've leveled off but owning and restoring one does require a fairly sizable wallet.

 

You can read a bit more about Kaiser-Frazer as well as Henry J Kaiser's business ventures here -> http://kaiserfrazercars.com

 

Richard Langworth also wrote a book about KF titled The Last Onslaught on Detroit that's full of facts and figures, including production numbers. Copies appear on eBay and Amazon from time to time.

 

Hope this helps!

 

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1951 Kaiser Deluxe coupe.  For 1952 the same car would be called a Manhattan.   These two years are the only years of a "coupe" body with the shorter roof than the two door sedan which continued in later years.  The 2D sedan basically using a 4D sedan upper roof stamping.

 

Was my car.  I sought out the body style because I thought the styling truly awesome.

1209191542_HDR.jpg

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