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Budget Barn Find: 1948 Frazer


This 1948 Frazer has a good chance of being turned into a street rod; at least that’s what the seller thinks should be done with it. I think it would make a great budget classic! Located in a barn in Dallas, Texas, it’s offered for sale here on craigslist for $1,400 “firm”. The front license plate is the style used from 1975 to 1982, so it’s been off the road for a good long time!


I’ve been trying to figure out how exactly the body ended up in so many colors, and I think it’s actually seen that many color changes. You can see some maroon on the lower panels in this shot, and based on the paint under the hood I’m guessing that’s what it originally was. I could be wrong, though, because there are traces of blue in the interior. The exterior is so motley I think I’d have to spring for a repaint this time, but it wouldn’t have to be right away. I’d get the car running, driving and stopping first.


I hope the filler door is somewhere with the car; finding parts for this car will be quite a bit tougher than for a Ford or Chevrolet. I’m glad to see most of the emblems and trim in place as well. If you look past the Jackson Pollock paint, the body looks pretty solid. The seller tells us that there is no rust–based on the pictures I think that means no rust holes, not none at all, as there’s plenty of surface rust on the right front fender! There is a dent in a front fender as well according to the seller.


What a great dashboard. As you can see, the windshield is missing, but don’t let that worry you, I found new glass for only $110 + $25 shipping. The interior has supposedly been completely redone except for the headliner–but I’m not too sure about the carpet. Still, cleaning and dyeing can work wonders!


While the seats and door panels aren’t original in design, they look comfortable in modern velour and would be just fine for a weekend driver, especially for someone counting pennies. If the only thing you have to do to make the interior passable is the headliner and cleaning it up, that’s a long way towards making this classic a feasible purchase for someone on a budget. I couldn’t find a headliner kit, but a local upholstery shop should be able to put one in for a reasonable price. Or try your hand with some material and a sewing machine–I made and installed one in a Jaguar XJS once (glue type) for a total cost of $14.00 that was pretty much identical to the original one.


This looks like the original 226 cubic inch, 112 horsepower flathead 6, which I read was prone to blowing head gaskets. Perhaps that’s what took this one off the road? We don’t know if the engine is free or not, but with an engine as simple as this, you can probably get it freed up even if it isn’t. I was surprised to find that even Rock Auto carries gasket sets and other parts, so perhaps that idea of a budget classic from a barn find isn’t a bad one. What do you think? Do you think you could have this one on the road by the summer?



  1. Avatar photo Scotty G

    I’ve always liked Frazers, and Kaisers, too. It’s so unusual to see one at a car show other than maybe an “orphan” car show. These were the basic of the basic, weren’t they? I guess, almost everything in 1948 was fairly basic – no power options, no AC, etc. Ha, the interior is so motley, that’s good stuff. It is unusual to see that bright red velour partial interior in a car where everything else looks like it was left outside in a sand storm. This would be a good project car but it would be a labor of love since prices for these cars will most likely never be high enough for a car flipper, unless they’re connected with a reality tv show.

    Like 1
  2. Avatar photo MH

    Cool car but he has a few other cars I would like to see also. A corvette and a?

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    • Avatar photo RayT

      Looks like an early Mustang sitting in front of the Frazer.

      My dad had one of these, bought — I guess — because they had zero resale value. He later got a ’53 Kaiser, which I really enjoyed. Drove it in high school, and later bought two more (at different times) for myself. Wish I had one now!

      I’ve heard the head-gasket complaints, but neither I nor any other Kaiser owners I knew had trouble with them. I believe the cure was a later gasket design and careful head-torquing.

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      • Avatar photo Ed P

        Re-torqing the heads was listed as scheduled maintenance at one time. I wonder if the blown gasket problem was because of a lack of re-torqing.

        Like 1
  3. Avatar photo Steve Member

    This reminds me of something I heard long ago. It goes like this:
    He bought her a Kaiser to surprise her, a Frazer to amaze her and a Tucker…..
    Smile, and wipe the grease off your nose.

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  4. Avatar photo Mike

    I have seen a lot of car with this type of multi color paint jobs. Dad said it was because some do-it-yourself body man would work on a area and then slap on whatever color they had to cover the metal, so you will sometimes get one that looks like this.

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  5. Avatar photo erikj

    steve,love that comment.

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  6. Avatar photo ron tyrrell

    Frazier is the remains of Graham Paige auto after the war Herny Kaiser partnered up with the remaining owner of the Graham Paige after the war to produce cars for the GI’s coming home from WW2 . The engine used was a Continental 226 flat head six used in a lot of industrial applications. The engine was also used by Willy’s and some other auto manufactures until the late fifties and you can still get parts for them. The company produced autos until 1954 or maybe 1955 depends on what you read. They also produced a car Sears and Roebuck ( Henry J) sold thru catalog sales and it flopped but made an excellent gasser chassis.

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  7. Avatar photo fred

    A few notes: There are a surprising number of these still around (check Craigslist nationally and Ebay at any given time and you will find lots of K-F product- 3 on Ebay right now). The club is active and can tell you where to find most any part. Since there are quite a few parts around and few cars, many parts are inexpensive. The engine is an industrial forklift type motor that pulls well but doesn’t like high speed as much. These cars can be found at very inexpensive prices if you look around.

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  8. Avatar photo RON

    I love KF anstill have a 51 Frazer Vagabond. Sold a nice orignal48 like this excpt really nice only brought 3500. This car o here has been for sale for a year or more

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  9. Avatar photo Jim

    LeBonney can make up the headliner, I’ve used them for a few off-brands and they somehow ckmd up with a pattern. Nice selection of materials also, from cheap to ridiculous, you decide.
    I also love the Vagabond, very unique body and cool looking.

    Like 0

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