The Henry J was produced by Kaiser-Frazer from 1951 through 1954. Power was from a four-cylinder engine that displaced 134.2 cubic-inches and produced 65 horsepower. They were fitted with a three-speed manual gearbox with overdrive and rode on a wheelbase that measured 100-inches.
This particular car is in great condition. The rear seat folds forward as there is no deck lid. The Continental kit was optional. This car was fitted with the optional after-market finder tip tail lamp when new.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2008
Founded on July 25, 1945, the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation was a result of a partnership between automobile executive Joseph W. Frazer and Industrialist Henry J. Kaiser of Kaiser Company/Kaiser Industries. The company combined the diminishing assets of the former Graham-Paige Motor Company. Displaying their prototype of their two newest cars at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in N.Y., the Kaiser was of an advanced front wheel design while the Frazer was an upscale conventional rear wheel drive vehicle. Kaiser had no automotive marketing experience, while Frazer did, and was the more pragmatic one of the team.
In 1949 the market for K-F products slowed considerably, with the introduction of new designs from the Big Three, Kaiser pushed for more production creating a oversupply of vehicles that took until mid-1950 to sell. Frazer eventually left the company in 1951 and the Frazer nameplate was dropped after a short 10,000 unit production run. The Kaiser-Frazer Corporation was renamed Kaiser Motors Corporation in 1952 and continued to build passenger vehicles until 1955.
The Kaiser-Frazer Henry J was introduced in early 1950 as America's second postwar compact. The Henry J at least was responsible for stabilizing Kaiser-Frazer's then shaky finances for a short time. Though slightly dated, the Henry J was a highly functional small sedan that was considered to be an ‘ugly' vehicle by most. Dutch Darrin, a designer had originally proposed something like his impressive 1951 Kaiser and he came up with a prototype at his Santa Monica, California. He sectioned 18 inches from a 1951 Kaiser club coupe that looked great in the showroom, but management instead chose the ungainly 1951-54 styling which came from a Kaiser-Frazer supplier.
Kaiser borrowed $69 million from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1949 so he could fulfill his promise of a new car that all Americans could afford. $25 million was to finance Kaiser-Frazer's heavy inventory of leftover '49 models, and the loan was approved because around $12 million was set aside for the new compact. This proposed vehicle promised sturdiness along with low operated costs, and the Henry J definitely delivered. Unfortunately the vehicle was only a little less expensive than a ‘full-size' Ford or Chevy as like other Kaiser-Frazer models, it was relatively costly.
The Henry J was a ‘pudgy-looking' two door fastback sedan with tailfins that were Cadillac-style and featured a frontend that was very similar to the 1951 Frazer. Great plans had been made for the Henry J that included a convertible and a hardtop coupe based on the two-door style. Many different proposals were voiced and advanced, but none ever reached the assembly line. A few dealers did built convertibles out of sedans. Another concept that was never finished was a two-door station wagon and a four-door sedan.
Sales were tough, but the market was satisfied with the product and in 1951 sales peaked at 80,000. Unfortunately by 1954 sales had plummeted to 1,123 and the model was dropped.By Jessica Donaldson