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1951 Henry J Coupe

1951 Henry J Coupe

Designer Howard A. "Dutch" Darrin had proposed a short-wheelbase compact car derived from his beautiful 1951 Kaiser, which was already locked up during Henry J planning. But the head man, wanting something all-new, went with a proposal from American Metal Products, a Detroit supplier of frames and springs for car seats. Darrin reluctantly tried to improve this ungainly little two-door fastback sedan, applying his trademark "dip" to the belt line, windshield, and rear window -- plus little tail fins. Though the result was still pretty weird, The New York Fashion Academy named Henry J its 1951 "Fashion Car of the Year."

For consignment, a shaved, 1951 Henry J now with big and littles, a massively powerful 468ci big block dual 4 BBL's and a blower to boot. All shiny and well painted, this rodder is definitely an eye catcher, retaining its original design. Not unlike the Fra-geeliee leg lamp in the move “A Christmas Story” it could be electric sex but in a gas blown version.

All straight steel panels bathed in blue with a tint of purple depending on what light this car is in, and it is definitely the deep end of the pool. Paint goes on for miles, and is highlighted with a dappling of mirror like chrome for the wild front grille which creates a launching “rocket” design, (can you say phallic?) including dual turn signal lights, and a single round headlight on either front quarter fender. The bumper has been shaved and a hood scooped blower sticks out of the top. Window surrounds and other trimmings have been blackened around the passenger compartment, and tinted glass now added. The finned rear quarters frame round taillights, also which have been shaved of any trimmings, and the back of the car looks much like a swimming manta ray with its wings in the upright position. No trunk for this car, and the dipped rear window glass was one of the features on this econo car for 1951. A shaved rear bumper is not on back, and some blue pin striping highlights the edges of the door dips in the metal fabrication. Definitely a fastback design, and an early example of such. Big 31 x 18 tires wrap Weld chromed and polished wheels in back and up front some skinnies to reduce weight are on.

A complete redux with some light gray/ blue broadcloth with a zig zag tweed pattern is seen covering the doors which sport billet pulls and handles as well as power window toggles. Inside buttoned and tufted high back buckets also in the zig zag pattern broadcloth are nice and clean and tear free. Just like my favorite recliner well padded. In back is an art deco styled single large seat, with curved upholstered arms (actually wheel well covers) and a central ultra wide seat. The original K badged chromed instrument cluster panel now has a tachometer and speedometer, with the tachometer glass slightly fogged. This chromed panel is within a blue/purple field and has a central ribbed panel in blue/purple. A custom chromed central console panel makes its way downward and houses a cluster of 5 small round black faced gauges, and then into a B&M shifter for the auto transmission. Nice clean blue carpet floods the floors and above is a good condition tight headliner in broadcloth. A LeCarra rally style 4 billet pronged steering wheel is atop an adjustable steering column.

Underneath the hood you will be anxious to see what the scooped topper is attached to, and the wait is over…a 468 BB Chevrolet crate engine topped with a 6:71 Dan Hampton blower and a pair of 4 barrel Holley carbs to flood it with fossils and air and make the rear tires smoke. A Turbo 400 automatic trans is strapped to the back, and a Ford 9-inch rear is now on for the rear axle. The engine is mostly polished, a custom polished radiator is in front, and it is a show piece under the hood.

Clean and mostly surface rust free, plenty of undercoating, and structurally sound this car is an example of an early unibody but they were not quite there yet, so some frame is there too, all structurally sound. The underside of the big mill is all buttoned up, polished and drip and error free. Rear drum brakes coil overs and some ladder bars are now giving the fatties on back in a straight nice riding line, and up front disc brakes are on.

Most likely one of the most powerful cars I've had the pleasure to drive, this car does not fool around. It started right up with a thunderous roar and idled smoothly. After a good warmup it was time to get goosey with my boot and let's just say there was nuthin' in left but the smoke! Even rolling than a smash of the accelerator will smoke em up big time. Careful though, braking is tenuous at best. A very comfortable ride, and definitely a head turner.

Right out of 1951, and right out of the “and now for something completely different” category, the mind of Dutch Darrin on overdrive for the exterior design. Now under the hood, a monster, with a blower just for extra giggles, and a comfortable interior. A shower and a goer, seldom seen, and even rarer to be rodded as such. A wild thang fer sur.

Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special interest automobile showroom, featuring over 600 vehicles for sale with showroom space for up to 1,000 vehicles. Also, a 400 vehicle barn find collection is on display.
This vehicle is located in our showroom in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, conveniently located just 1-hour west of Philadelphia on the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike. The website is www.classicautomall.com and our phone number is (888) 227-0914. Please contact us anytime for more information or to come see the vehicle in person.