1952 Kaiser Manhattan
1952 Kaiser Manhattan
When you're the little guy, you have to stand out in order to be noticed. In the automotive industry of the early 1950s, hearty sales figures and the difference between black and red ink on the books were what separated the runners from the almost-ran. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler feasted on the American auto market, leaving independent brands to fight over table scrap sales figures. Although they are nearly forgotten today, Kaiser-Frazer's 1952 and 1953 Manhattans made up a good portion of the company's sales in those lean years, and their charming style, proven mechanicals and enthusiastic club support make them truly underrated, worthy collectibles.
For consignment this nice overall condition Kaiser Manhattan, which for 1952 was the higher end model, in 2 tone gray. Known for their innovative styling, this car pushes the limits on interior surfaces, and options within the dash. A closer look will reveal a very interesting combination of textures, as well as solid mechanicals. A slight detraction will be due to the all steel construction, rust can be a problem on the underside, and this car has suffered from this in the rocker panels. They have been repaired, however attention should be paid to them on this original car.
A product of designer Howard “Dutch” Darrin and Duncan McRae, some features can be picked right up on this Manhattan. The “Dutch Dip” where the C pillar meets the rear door, the sloping rear and steeply raked front windshield have an unusual center dip, which actually makes the windshield stronger. On this particular model a sunshade has been added to the windshield. 2 tone light and dark gray in nice condition adorn the car exterior. A very unusual Kaiser spear hood ornament in clear plastic adorns the hood, and in this writers mind is worth the price of admission alone!
Swing open any of the 4 doors and you are met with dragon skin adorned door pulls, panel uppers, and tufted dash. This is worth the second price of admission on this car. Highly unusual, but oddly attractive, and very retro cool, this interior will hold a gaze for a long time. Lots of chromed recessed knobs, “luxura” fabric seat covers, and thick pile carpeting surround you in early 1950's luxe. An original crack free and amazingly pristine cream bakelite steering wheel fronts the exotic dash.
The Kaiser Manhattan's sole available engine in 1952 and 1953 was the "Supersonic Six," the long-running L-head straight-six cylinder that displaced 226.2 cubic inches via its 315/16 x 43/8-inch bore and stroke. This solid-lifter engine featured pressure lubrication for all bearings, including the four main bearings, and splash lubrication for its timing chain and valve tappets. Much better breathing via a Carter WGD 999S carburetor and an improved manifold and exhaust design is seen. Shifting is a 3 on the tree 3-speed with overdrive.
Some extensive repair work has been done on the rocker area, in particular where some body mounts meet it. The frame is definitely very solid, and rust free. Floor pans are in good shape, as well as suspension parts and all-around drum brakes, which have been replaced with new lines, drums, and wheel cylinders.
Innovative design and lines, as well as use of materials that the average person would not even think of where readily available at the Kaiser dealer to let your mind run wild. This Manhattan is very tastefully done, presents in good condition, runs smoothly, and has some amazing features.
Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special interest automobile showroom, featuring over 300 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 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.