KAISER LOW-PRICED CAR
CAR HAS MIXED STYLING PARENTAGE
like a '50 Studebaker, rear ones a combination of Buick and
Cadillac, a grille with a touch of Ford, an engine by Willys, and
no name yet, . . . tisk! Four years late, Henry Kaiser has at last
brought fourth his "people's car."
during the later part of the war, the Kaiser automobile was then a
vague rumour of . . . 24-cylinders, 100 miles per gallon. and will
sell for less than $500."
A "revolutionary new low-priced car” was mentioned in
The automobile-starved public was finally shown
a line of medium priced car, quite conventional except for joining
Studebaker in introducing full width bodies (first show model
Kaisers did have front wheel drive).
Now that the market is
becoming increasingly selective, Kaiser Frazer have restyled their
larger cars and have returned to the theme of the economy car
(with the help of the R.F.C.).
The new K-F product, in the
"low, low-priced" range, will be offered in a single
body style, a two-door sedan that seats five. The luggage space
can be reached from the inside only and the rear sits folds flat
to provide additional capacity.
The purchaser will have a
choice of either a four or six cylinder “Supersonic”
engine, presumably the new Willys F-head units.
What became of
the “revolutionary new car"? We quote from Henry
"Our new low priced car, which will reach the
nation's highways next July, culminates seven years of
experimental work with more than 50 prototypes.
The engines in
our prototypes ranged from 10 to 100 horsepower. We experimented
with front wheel drive and rear engines. We worked with such
material, as aluminum, magnesium, plastics and wood, and applied
new techniques in using them.
We came to the early conclusion
that the American public doesn't want anything radical or
revolutionary and, certainly, it doesn't want a "small"
car. The public wants a car of conventional size with enough
modern styling distinction to instill pride of owner-ship'”
since Henry Kaiser got into the automobile business the rest of
the industry has been wondering if he could build a real
automobile. His first try was a fair enough attempt but it didn't
give the big boys many sleepless nights.
Now has built a car
that may force a major revolution in their tactics. Up to now the
big three has been building bigger and bigger "low"
priced cars, and the public has been buying them ... not because
they wanted to, but just because there wasn't anything else around
for the price they wanted to pay.
The other manufacturers will
be watching closely, and if Kaiser's, new car is a success, they
will rush their own small cars into production. (all of the major
manufacturers have built and tested such cars just in case). If
the car sells well, Kaiser may get his permanent place in the
The details so far released are not very
complete: Wheelbase, 100 inches; Tread, "normal";
Height, 60 inches, and Horsepower, 74 for the six.
of this car on the sales of imported cars will be tremendous and
may even cause withdrawal or redesign of some, but sports and fine
car sales will not be so affected.
(Road & Track)