Junkyard Find: Horizon Blue 1949 Kaiser Special

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find horizon blue 1949 kaiser special

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.

Join the conversation
2 of 14 comments
  • Ciddyguy Ciddyguy on Aug 24, 2012

    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.

  • Darkhorse Darkhorse on Aug 26, 2012

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

  • Inside Looking Out The next 4Runner will be BEV.
  • The Oracle This is a proper Italian red sauce turd.
  • Carson D This isn't a notice of a wait time for 4Runner fans. This is a deadline for the opportunity to buy one new before they're gone. Whatever comes next, there is no possible way that it will be as good at doing 4Runner things as what is available today.
  • Bkojote There's a lot "just right" with the current 4Runner, and having spent time in more contemporary equivalents for road trips, I completely understand why they sell a ton of these.Here's some topics that aren't super common among 4runner owners - excessive carbon buildup in the engine after 40,000 miles (Audi/VW), bent valves (Bronco) , failed oil coolers (Jeep), cracked engine blocks (Jeep), dead vehicles from OTA updates (Chevy Colorado), being stranded due to opening the door too many times (Defender), malfunctioning engine sensors (Defender, VW), dead batteries due to electrical system malfunctions (Jeep), unusable defoggers (Jeep), waiting for seat heaters to boot up (Subaru), randomly catching fire (Kia/Hyundai), crappy build quality (Ford, Tesla).The interior feels solid and rattle free, and everything feels substantial in the way a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Kia Telluride does not. 14 year run means accessories are plentiful and well sorted. The control inputs from the radio to heated seats to climate control work better than 99% of the cars you can buy new at this point and are dead simple and ergonomically satisfying. Even dynamically (I drove a model with the KDSS system to be fair) it is a surprisingly composed vehicle on mountain roads- it's far more civilized than a Bronco or Wrangler, and hell, it was far more pleasant than the past two peastant-grade Benz crapmobiles I've been in.So I get it- car journalist rags whine about how overly complicated and tech-heavy modern vehicles are while their substance is cost cut, but here's the literal definition of 'don't fix it if it aint broken.' . It's a trusty Ford Econoline in a world of craptastic Ram ProMasters.
  • Frank Sounds like they dont want to debut it at the same time as the new Land Cruiser, which is probably smart. The new 'runner is ready to go I am told, so there's a reason for this delay.