By on August 11, 2012

I plan to visit the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard later today (to discuss the purchase of a certain early-50s machine I covet), and that means I’ll have a chance to ask the proprietor a question that’s been bugging me for over a month: What is this mysterious vehicle in your yard?
In the meantime, however, I’d like to hear some theories from the TTAC readers about what sort of car this apparent 1950s custom convertible might be based on.
I wasn’t able to get the hood open, so I don’t know what sort of engine (if any) once powered this machine. Quick, what is it?

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27 Comments on “Junkyard Find: Mystery Old-School Custom...”


  • avatar

    Haha! Wow. What IS that thing? Uhh.. I thought I once saw a 50′s Ghia show car that had that profile. Or some sort of weird Kaiser mashup. Whatever it is/was IS AWESOME.

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    When you posted the photo of this car last month my first thought was that it was based on a 1949-51 Mercury or Lincoln.

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    Which 50′s machine are you negotiating for? The bathtub Nash or one of the Kaisers?

  • avatar

    For some reason I’m thinking early ’50s FoMoCo product.

  • avatar
    Bill Owen

    It appears from the front to be a post war bullet-nosed Studebaker that featured a low grill under the propeller medallion on the hood. I also see the top headlight and fender resembling said Studebaker. A mix of cars for sure.

  • avatar

    I have no idea what it might be, but it should be saved and restored. Maybe he’ll take your van in trade for it?

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    It looks like the only reliably original parts are the split windscreen and the radio(?) cutout high on the dash. Everything else came from Dr. Frankenstein’s lab. I’m going to guess this is an attempt to turn an old 1950s Morris Minor 2-door convertible into a custom, er, sportscar.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    The tach appears to be WWII-vintage aircraft!

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Kaiser-Darrin prototype?

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    The lack of a driveshaft tunnel and the remote shifter make it look like some sort of transaxle car, if that helps. The bodywork looks to be of an older style than someone would put on a Tempest or Corvair though, and the wheels don’t look to be Citroen, Porsche, or VW.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    The front fenders and headlights look a lot like Facel styling cues. But they were otherwise clean designs without the big Buick side kink on this thing.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    There is a key in the ignition … next time try to start it!! ;O)

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    It could very well be based on a Frazer. The patch jobs on the dash look like they’re covering the holes for a horizontal ribbon speedometer and the corresponding spot on the passenger side where the glass cutout for the “Frazer” badge was.

    The cutout for the radio is also in the right spot, with the new gauge pod installed in the space where the chrome speaker grille was. And, of course, Kaisers and Frazers had the split veed windshield.

    The steering wheel would have been changed though, the one there looks more like a 1940s GM product wrapped in black tape. Somehow, the gold colored center cap makes me think Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      Scratch that, its definitely a 1947 or 48 Kaiser. You can actually still see the letters “KAI” on the dashboard close-up, and the steering wheel even looks correct, maybe a base model Special without a horn ring. I initially thought Frazer, but the dashboards were more identical between the two than I remembered.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Where can you see the letters “KAI”? It looks too small to be a Kaiser, unless it was substantially cut down and narrowed. It’s got to be a hum-drum small car someone attempted to turn into a sports car. Maybe a Crosley wagon? They had split windscreens too.

      • 0 avatar
        ranwhenparked

        @Lorenzo

        Same place you see them on any 1947-1948 Kaiser – that yellowed out strip of plastic on the passenger side of the dash, above the glove compartment, under the windshield. Originally, it was a piece of plexiglass with a “KAISER” badge underneath, and it’s still there on this car, just very faded. Look at the 4th photo, where Murilee was trying to focus on the add-on gauge cluster – enough of the passenger side dash trim made it into the shot to see the first three letters on the badge.

        This is a cut-down Kaiser. The cowl is original, and the hood and doors may also be heavily modified original sheet metal, but the rest looks like very much a clean-sheet job.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    Now that 1947-49 Kaisers and Frazers have been mentioned, I can see that in the shape of the windshield. I wonder if it’s cut down from an ol’ 4-door ragtop….

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    That looks like a 36 Ford 3 window coupe ,with rumble seat, rear deck . The Rear fenders look like Buick (1950ish ) two door turned around the other way so they face backwards instead of forwards and the drive shaft lying on the floor is pure mopar with that type of uni joint. so possibly a later 30′s mopar chassis with a body made up from various makes. All very clever if you ask me.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    I’m thinking some sort of Packard.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    The custom center dash assembly tells me that’s its not home built along with the lost padding of the dashboard and the finely executed fins…….it may be a real ‘Survivor’
    I hope it is researched and saved.More info may have been obtained by opening the hood.
    WHAT A FIND!!!!!!!!!

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    That guy from Ate Up With Motor could probably figure this one out. Does look like an early fifties’ show car.

  • avatar
    Hoser

    Remnants of a Kaiser K-85 prototype? It would be interesting to see under the hood.

  • avatar

    I want this. Is there anyway I can get it shipped to Detroit for about $500.00? This is including the cost of the car btw (hehe – j/k – kinda).

    I’m serious about purchasing this though.. This is a vintage custom that has all of the bones there for a good retro-custom project. I may have some funds by next spring if the car is still there.

    Can you email me with the info on where this car is located and how I can possibly negotiate its purchase?

  • avatar

    It is a Kaiser that was customized in the 1950s.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Looks like a Studebaker Silver Hawk rear and god knows what else. Nonetheless, pretty sweet.


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