BF Auction: 1953 Kaiser Special

Sold for $7,100View Result

UPDATE- The reserve has been removed!

UPDATE – Additional photos of the car have been added to the photo gallery below. Be sure to take another look!

Classic car enthusiasts are a fascinating crowd. Those who elect to build a collection will often focus on a particular genre, like muscle, pony, or luxury cars. However, a hardy band of souls preserves vehicles from a specific manufacturer. If that company still exists, the process can be straightforward. If it is a distant memory, this becomes more challenging. The owner of this 1953 Kaiser Special is one such person because this classic is but one from that manufacturer in his collection. All good things must end, meaning he has decided to downsize by listing this beauty exclusively here at Barn Finds Auctions.

This Kaiser is a tidy classic with no immediate needs. Its color combination of Copper Dust and Stardust Ivory is particularly attractive, with the whitewall tires adding a touch of class. The paint has a few minor flaws and chips, but with no surface corrosion or rust visible, the buyer could retain the car as-is. It is a rock-solid classic and would still draw admiring glances and comments in its current form. Most of the glass is in good order, with only one piece showing a crack. The trim is spotless and is better than average for a seventy-year-old survivor. I’ve always admired the “widow’s peak” styling of the front and rear glass, and although it isn’t radical, it helps the Special stand out in a crowd.

If the exterior of this Kaiser is attractive, the interior condition is even better. I’ve long admired manufacturers from this era for their adventurous approach to interior trim. This Special is no exception, with the seats and door trims finished in Red Cloth and Ivory “bamboo.” The latter is a feature you will find in no other make, and its condition is excellent. The door trims and front seat are free from physical damage, and I question whether anyone has ever used the back seat. The dash pad shows no signs of UV exposure, with the painted surfaces equally impressive. It isn’t highly equipped but retains its factory pushbutton radio and clock. There are no aftermarket additions, with its owners electing to leave everything as the company intended.

Kaiser made great use of its 161ci flathead six during the early 1950s, and the Special was no exception. Producing 118hp and 190 ft/lbs of torque, buyers could select from manual transmissions or a four-speed Hydramatic that Kaiser sourced from General Motors. This car features the latter transmission, and although it isn’t a high-performance model, it should cope happily with life at highway speeds. It has 45,266 miles on its odometer, with the bulletproof drivetrain combination virtually guaranteeing years of reliable service. Considering its age, I won’t be surprised if it is still plying our roads when it clocks up a century. The engine bay remains untouched, and this classic is ready to drive off into the sunset with a new owner behind the wheel. This car has been on display in a private museum until recently and a thorough inspection of the brake system would be advisable in the interest of safety.

Downsizing a collection must be difficult, especially choosing which cars will stay or go. This 1953 Kaiser Special is a tidy classic, and I hope it finds a new home and an owner willing to continue treating it with respect. They could subject it to a light cosmetic refresh, although leaving it as-is is worth considering. Which path would you choose? More importantly, are you willing to submit a bid or two, hoping it will eventually land in your garage?

See the rest of the Kaiser-Frazer Collection here!

  • Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
  • Mileage: 45,266 Shown, TMU
  • Engine: 161ci Flathead Six
  • Transmission: Hydramatic 4-Speed
  • VIN: K5321006289
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Auction

Sold for: $7,100
Register To Bid
Ended: Apr 17, 2023 10:00am MDT
Winner: dale
  • Avatar photo
    dale bid $7,100.00  2023-04-17 09:34:27
  • Avatar photo
    BobC bid $7,000.00  2023-04-15 11:51:41
  • Avatar photo
    Hauser Weiler
    bid $6,200.00  2023-04-14 17:21:48
  • Avatar photo
    PMD1965 bid $5,270.00  2023-04-10 11:10:05
  • Avatar photo
    dale bid $1,700.00  2023-04-10 10:38:15
  • Avatar photo
    bid $1,600.00  2023-04-10 05:15:47
  • Avatar photo
    MrRR bid $1,500.00  2023-04-10 01:57:30
  • Avatar photo
    gt bid $1,100.00  2023-04-09 14:53:19
  • Avatar photo
    bid $1,000.00  2023-04-09 13:58:01
  • Avatar photo
    Karl Foster bid $500.00  2023-04-09 12:09:25


  1. Avatar photo jmolsn Member

    Looks like a 54 to me

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Terrry

      The pic album says ’54 too and I believe you are correct.

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo Donald Porochonski

      Most four doors of that era were stodgy looking, but not this. Distinctive looking vehicle, practically guarantees you won’t look like anything else on the road. And yes I would drive it.

      Like 4
    • Avatar photo Luis

      Well I can’t speak for others, I build a 1971 Camaro wish it is price less to me, I love 💪💪cars ❣️ but hey everyone has his own taste 😂😉 I love it to follow your comment, but I don’t get involved with the difference between 40,50,60 I am from the 70 era 🤣🤣🤣

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Terrry

    I had a ’51 Special back in the mid 70s.. It was a beater but it was also the most comfortable car I’ve owned to this day. Had lots of room too! The only issue these Continental engines had was the distributor pedestal tended to break. You could wire them into place though, no problem. Also, if the carburetor was good and the overdrive worked, you could get good mpg.

    Like 2
  3. Avatar photo RayT

    Looks to me like one of the leftover ’53 bodies — Kaiser had a bunch of them — that received new front sheet metal, the restyled tail lights, and was then sold as a “1954” model. The roof with its smaller rear window and the older-style instrument cluster are the “tells.”

    With a “K532” (1953) serial number, this was likely one of the first such cars built. Kaiser first used this when faced with a large stock of unsold ’49 Kaisers and Frazers.

    The same procedure was followed with unsold ’54s to make “1955” models, though the only changes in that case were to the serial numbers. I believe the majority of the “new” ’55s were in fact leftover ’54s.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo duaney

      There were around 3500 left over 53 Manhattan bodies, all re serial numbered for 1954. As a KF expert I can reveal that the door post serial number on this car is hand made. If you go by the body number, KF kept that number on these bodies, so it’s the same body tag as before. One can find some of these 54 Early Specials with lower body numbers than some 53 Manhattans, meaning they are a older car, even though it’s a 54 as opposed to a 53.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Duncan

        I wouldn’t change a thing. Love it and drive it, selectively!

        Like 0
  4. Avatar photo Michael

    My late father was a Master Mechanic; courtesy of the USN and his prior
    training as Chief Machinists Mate on Submarines.
    AFTER the Feds in DC would finally allow Chief’s to retire after WW2;
    He opened the first Mobil Gas Station in Fletcher Hills, Ca (San Diego Cty.)
    garage and towing service in 1948. I remember as perhaps a 6 or 7 year old
    his respect for Kaiser, Jaguar and Chrysler! The last vehicle he bought and
    we drove after his untimely death was a 1955 Chrysler Imperial which did NOT have A/C, so before we drove to the South that summer, he installed
    a Frigidaire behind the rear seat area in the upper trunk. I have never been in a colder car and as we drove across Texas wearing sweaters, folks we passed gave us the puzzled look!

    Like 2
  5. Avatar photo James Bosworth

    Why can’t I bid on this car? What is the problem?

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Joshua Mortensen Staff

      Hi James,

      I checked your account and it looks like you need to sign in. I’ve sent you an email with instructions on getting signed in!


      Like 1
  6. Avatar photo bobdog

    I always liked those widows peak windshields and back window, wonder if you could get a replacement if ever needed?

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo duaney

      The Kaiser club has the molds to make new windshields, although they haven’t made some in a while.

      Like 1
  7. Avatar photo duaney

    Curious that this car is bid up to $6,000 and the similar blue car is bid to $3,000?

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Rick R

      Well duaney; I noticed the last three bids on this car were by the same person????????

      Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Duaney

    Now the two separated by $1,000. I guess it depends what color you prefer.

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Stu P Member

    This is one of the cars with the “bamboo dash”

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Joshua Mortensen Staff

    The reserve is off!

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo duaney

    Not that it matters at this point, but some or all of the undercar pictures here are of the Frazer.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Joshua Mortensen Staff

      Correct photos are there now.

      Like 0
  12. Avatar photo Stu P Member

    Congratulations Dale. A great deal on a very classy car.


    Like 0

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