By on December 9, 2012

While I was photographing a burned-up ’61 Caddy hearse and buying a ’41 Plymouth Special Deluxe sedan at the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard last week, I stopped to admire some of the many Kaiser-Frazer products scattered around the many acres of old iron. You’ll need to drop everything and read Ate Up With Motor‘s excellent history of Kaiser-Frazer before continuing with today’s Junkyard Find, so go do that right now.
The 1951 Frazer was just a use-up-the-leftover-Frazer-parts deal, done after Henry J. Kaiser forced Joe Frazer out of company management. A quickie facelift was thrown onto the ’50 Frazer’s snout, but otherwise this car is identical to the 1950 Frazer.
Only about 10,000 ’51 Frazers were sold, making this an extremely rare car today. Valuable? Probably not, but still cool for its historical value.
I seriously considered buying a Frazer instead of the ’41 Plymouth, but these cars are just so heavy that I’d need to use tougher (i.e., more expensive) running gear to get the performance I wanted.
Check out that horn ring!
The Brain-Melting Colorado Yard has so many Frazers (the hood ornament from a late-40s Frazer is pictured here) that it may one day serve as the reservoir for all the competitors in a future Spec Frazer race series. Hey, if we can have Spec Dynasty, why not Spec Frazer?

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26 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1951 Frazer...”


  • avatar
    Flatlandman

    The motto drives home the point made by the hood ornament.

    • 0 avatar
      Windy

      i am not much for looking for phallic symbolism in everyday objects but you are right that hood mascot is rather more than blatant. I wonder if it was picked up on at the time by the press given that the late 40s early 50s was a rather blue nosed period in US culture.

      • 0 avatar
        Geekcarlover

        For a different symbolic style check out the “Dagmar Bumpers” Cadillac was using around the same time. Of course Ford would later outdo both of the with the Edsel’s flying vagina.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    “je suis pret” iirc from an old french class translates literally as “i am ready”. something i definitely was not in french class.

    love the knight with a lance and head bowed, and the heraldic shieldry. amazing to me that these motifs were used. even for the 1940s and 50s they are so old-fashioned to be representing cars, something fast and sleek by comparison to the staid symbols. perhaps that’s a reason why frazer did not survive.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Wow, that is a fairly complete car. Rare to see (almost) all the glass there.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    What is the 4dr hardtop parked to it’s left? Looks unique for the era since hardtops became more popular in the mid to later 50′s.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimmy7

      I think it’s also a Kaiser-Frazer product. To make a hardtop they cut out the b-pillar and added bracing behind the front seat, replacing the pillar with a glass panel.

  • avatar
    Nick

    That hood ornament is all the evidence you need that ‘safety advocate’ had not yet entered the public discourse.

    It’s a pity that the creators of the Final Destination series never saw this…they could easily have incorporated it into one of their Rube Goldberg-type terminations.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I’m sure I’ve seen these on the road as a kid, as I was born in 1951, but I don’t recall ever seeing one that registered in my mind.

    The grille is very interesting.

  • avatar

    The Kaisers and Frazers were some of the best looking cars of the early 1950s. Dutch Darrin did a lot of their styling. I think the Manhattans are great looking cars.

    Murilee, any chance there’s a Traveler/Vagabond in the collection?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      There’s a 1953 (mint green) Kaiser-Darrin in the Cincinnati Art Museum right now. Convertible with the doors that slide up into the front fender.

      • 0 avatar

        That mint green was a popular color. There was one at the RM Auction St. John’s (Detroit) sale in 2011 that was that color. Kaiser-Darrins are not super rare. Since the body was fiberglass they didn’t rust. As cool as the Kaiser Darrins are with their sliding pocket doors, I’m still drawn to the Manhattans. The teardrop shaped headlight surrounds on the ’54 Manhattan are bit wild, like Buicks of the same era but I like that car. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in the past couple of years since starting Cars In Depth and going to lots of car show is that there is way more to 1950s style than tri-five Chevys.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Until a second ago, I was thinking the Metropolitan was a Kaiser product as well. I had always assumed that because of the name similarities.

    • 0 avatar
      Don Wilson

      Ronnie, I have a very authentic and complete 1951 Vagabond That I’m about to restore. Before I decide how much, would you be interested in it as is or with some restoration (how much) restoration. Extra parts and shop manual included.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    I believe the car next door to the Frazer is a 1949 Kaiser Virginian four door hardtop , which was the first factory four door hardtop built in America. Frazer offered a similar car , as well as a convertible sedan . These were very low production , due to their high price , which was nearly as much as a Cadillac . The glass trim piece between front and back side windows did not retract , so they weren’t exactly hardtops, and the convertible’s window frames were fixed also , like a similar era Rambler convertible . The coat- of – arms was , IIRC , the Frazer family coat of arms .

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      Generally speaking, there’s no such thing as a family coat of arms. Coats of arms are issued to individuals, and under certain circumstances, can be inherited through male primogeniture, or an heir can petition for the right to claim one held by an ancestor, but the rule is one arms to one person. Most of these heraldic crest logos were either totally made up, or loosely based on the arms of the founder’s ancestor(s). The Frazers were a pretty well-to-do family, but I believe all their wealth was made well after they came to America, and the United States has never had a college of arms.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    There’s Custom Dragon for sale in my area:
    http://tinyurl.com/byzxlgq

  • avatar
    roger628

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1QeBVJSoCQ
    Check out the unfortunate end one meets early in the movie.
    What a gem this is!

  • avatar
    Muttley Alfa Barker

    Sweet ride!

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Any gearhead without AteUpwithMotor in his reader probably takes pricing advice from an Atlanta used car dealer. Aaron is either the most altruistic or the most curious car man I’ve ever read. He probably deserves a MacArthur grant to continue his research. He’s on my Christmas list, as I’ve easily enjoyed several hours monthly reading his fabulous histories. Murrilee, excellent pics and link. Both deserving of applause. Thank you.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    I’m not into oddball cars like this for the most part, with the exception being some Nash cars and trucks, and Studebaker trucks. The Frazer is a part of our automotive heritage, though, and I hope the traitor that owns that junkyard doesn’t ship it overseas.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      A traitor? For selling his own property to people that want to buy it and restore it? There’s plenty of other Frazers out there for Americans that want them, and if you care so much about keeping this “heritage” from going overseas, you’re more than welcome to go buy it yourself. If not, Kronor talk, and you know what walks.

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        No, I have no interest in this type of car, but there are plenty of others here in the US that would. Those of us in the car hobby frown on people that sell old American iron to people overseas because those cars are a part of our automotive history. They were designed and built here in the US and were bought and enjoyed here in the US, cruised our highways. And when one is shipped far away to another country never to be seen again that is one more piece of automotive history lost, most likely for good. I wouldn’t expect someone like yourself to understand, and I expected a response like yours. It’s funny how the owner of the junkyard seems to want to keep it a secret from most people, I wonder what’s up with that?

      • 0 avatar
        ranwhenparked

        I have no desire to see cars rot away to nothingness while the car hobby gushes over date codes on ’69 Camaros. Nobody in this country has ever had any real interest in vintage sedans, except as parts cars for coupes, which doesn’t work for a K-F product, since they pretty much only built sedans. The only two choices for this car are a) get shipped overseas for restoration, or b) stay where it is and rust away forever, or get crushed someday when the yard owner passes on and his heirs liquidate the property. Seems to me a true car enthusiast would favor option a.

        It’s not like they’re never heard from again. There are plenty of American car enthusiasts that travel overseas to buy rare European cars you can’t find here, just like there are a lot of European enthusiasts that come here to sate their desire for vintage American iron. They even come here to by rust free European stuff from California. Stuff gets shipped back and forth all the time. Not a big deal.

        If some Frazer enthusiast is out to buy the best Manhattan he can possibly find, and the best one in the world comes up for auction in Sweden, he’s just a long distance phone call away from bidding on it.

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        The car would certainly sell if it was advertised. There are alot of people out there that are into the almost forgotten brands, primarily older folks, and they wouldn’t care about this car being a sedan. There is an “orphan” car show in this area every year, and the turnout is huge. I have no interest in european cars, they are not my cup of tea. I don’t notice them and I wouldn’t give it a thought if they were all shipped back to their homeland.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    Now I know where Acura got their current beak/shield grill from.


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