By on August 24, 2012

Since I’m now shopping for some sort of postwar American sedan for a foolish road-racer project and the ’51 Nash Airflyte in the Brain-Melting Colorado Yard isn’t for sale, I decided to pay more attention to the large selection of Kaiser-Frazer products parked nearby. How about a car with an optional factory color so impressive that the manufacturer installed badges with that color’s name on the fenders?

The Colorado sun and weather isn’t kind to vintage car paint, so the Horizon Blue color is no longer visible. The gold-tone emblems remain, though.
The Kaiser buffalo was one of the better symbols used on American cars.
Here’s an engine that was used in everything from boats to generators to farm equipment to cars built by dozens of manufacturers: the Continental Red Seal 226-cubic-inch flathead six. While Ford, GM, and Chrysler were developing modern overhead-valve V8s and preparing to crush the competition like annoying insects, Kaiser had to stick with this antiquated-but-reliable power plant.
This car is a bit heavy for what I had in mind, so I passed on it. I was, however, tempted to make an offer on this beautifully weathered 1965 license plate.

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13 Comments on “Junkyard Find: Horizon Blue 1949 Kaiser Special...”


  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Absolutely LOVE the Buffalo marque. Has there ever been any other so indelibly, iconically, American image on a car than that? Wimpy bow ties, bah! That buffalo is as cool or cooler than the Mack truck bulldog….

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      THe bow-tie emblem was copied by Billy Durant from wallpaper he saw in a Parisian restaurant! (for use on a car named after a swiss-guy!!)

      • 0 avatar
        ranwhenparked

        That story is most likely apocryphal. Durant’s widow claimed he copied the logo from a coal company ad he saw in the local newspaper while vacationing in Virginia. He may have created the hotel wallpaper story himself to prevent a trademark lawsuit from the real source.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    I always associate my father with Chrysler products, but he did have a 1947 Kaiser. Somewhere I still have the cancelled check for the thing. Cars were in short supply after WWII and the Kaiser was what was available. It came with wooden bumpers due to rationing and the chrome bumpers arrived a few months later. Dad said the car overheated and he hated it. In 1949, dad went to buy a new Chrysler, when he mentioned that he would be trading a Kaiser in the salesman literally walked away and left him talking to himself. It seems Kaiser’s days were already numbered by the time this car rolled off the assembly line.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      Well, Kaiser is part of Chrysler’s extended family (via American Motors, via Kaiser-Jeep, via Willys Motors); so your dad’s car history is still all within the Pentastar reservation.

  • avatar
    C170guy

    Oh, I have seen that engine before!
    I had no idea it was that old.
    I figured it was from the 60′s or 70′s, but maybe not.

    The larger of the two forklifts in a place I used to work, had one of these engines. It was still running 8 or 10 years ago. No leaks.
    It was an act of congress to get it started and warmed up, and could take half an hour of stalling and restarting. You really had to ride that choke perfectly, even in nice weather. Once it warmed up it was just fine. Quiet idle, even with no muffler or emissions. It was only used once every few months. I want to say the smaller forklift had a 4 cyl version of this, and it was pretty well worn out, but more heavily used – probably 2-3 times a month. That one was louder.

    I never thought of them as anything more than just old forklifts, but they could have been antiques!

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    It seems odd that Kaiser -and I think Frazier also – would have put a call -out badge denoting the factory paint color on the car exterior . I always wondered what happened a year or two later when the car owner tired of the color and wanted a different color .Maybe that ‘s why the idea never caught on with anyone else and why Kaiser itself didn ‘t do this very long either .

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Stop teasing me with all the IH’s in the background and do a post or two on them!

    • 0 avatar

      Last time I posted about a Travelall, I got desperate emails from several IHC freaks who wanted to buy “my” truck (which had already been crushed by the time they Googled the post) and got angry when I could not do so. Since I’m pretty sure the owner of these Travelalls (over 100 of them) doesn’t want to sell a single one, it would just get the Travelall Jihad on my ass if I wrote about them.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    I recall a song about a kaiser “misty blue”… No? ok.

  • avatar
    Dirty Dingus McGee

    In the mid 70′s in New England, I bought, for $10, a derelict Kaiser. Had fender badges that said Caribbean Coral. Was a long time before I found that wasn’t the model, but the color.

    Ended up not fixing the car, no time and it was in rough shape. Sold it to someone else as a parts car. I remember it had cool “push button” door handles in the inside, the left rear passenger door did not open(was used for spare tire storage), and the rear seats folded up to make a large “trunk”, and it was a semi station wagon. The rear window and frame swung up, and the “trunk lid” swung down like a wagon.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    A very cool find there MM.

    I love that glossy sky blue paint that many cars used back in the day, sadly hardly used today though, and if you get a light blue, it’s that nondescript light metallic blue that I’ve never cared too much for.

    That said, this old Kaiser looks to be fairly complete, though rough and very much sun blasted.

    Too bad you didn’t get much of the interior this time around.

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    It would be great if you could find a Henry J!


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