BF Auction: 1954 Kaiser Special

Sold for $10,500View Result

UPDATE – More photos have been added to the gallery below! Be sure to take another look.

Such was the pent-up demand following World War II that it seemed almost impossible for an American passenger car manufacturer to fail. However, the 1950s saw the numbers reduce due to mergers and other factors. One of those companies was Kaiser Motors, which produced some genuinely interesting cars between 1945 and 1955. This 1954 Kaiser Special 4-Door Sedan is a perfect example of the company’s thinking, possessing styling cues to help it stand apart from the opposition. It is in exceptional condition and is listed exclusively here at Barn Finds Auctions.

When a car manufacturer doesn’t have the engineering or advertising punch to compete with the market leaders, producing a car with distinctive styling is a great way to separate itself from the crowd. Kaiser achieved that feat with the 1954 Special. Design elements like the dip in the top of the windshield and back window, the “kick” in the waistline of the rear doors, and the “Jet Airscoop” grille are unique to the brand. Some believe the grille was inspired by the 1951 Buick XP-300 Concept Car, although there is enough difference between the pair to place doubts over that theory. This Special presents superbly in a combination of Blue and White, with the panels and paint showing no evidence of flaws or defects. The paint shines beautifully, the panel gaps are extremely tight and consistent for a vehicle from this era, and there is no rust. The trim and glass sparkle as nicely as the paint, with the wide whitewall tires adding the perfect finishing touch to the exterior.

Apart from exterior styling, one area where Kaiser distinguished itself from “The Big Three” was its choice of interior trim and appointments. This car features trim in Blue cloth and Ivory “bamboo.” Its overall condition is impressive for its age, with no significant flaws or defects requiring immediate attention. The carpet looks good, and while the wheel has a couple of cracks, that is not unusual for any classic with nearly seven decades under its belt. The front seatcover isn’t original, but considering the virtual impossibility of obtaining the correct material, it is a necessary and acceptable change to maintain a high presentation level. Unusually, Kaiser added a padded dash in an era when few manufacturers were prepared to mention safety in any context. This Special also features its factory pushbutton radio and clock.

The lack of a V8 engine option is often cited as one of the factors contributing to the demise of Kaiser’s passenger car business, but that is to undersell the powerplants that found their way into the engine bay of cars like this 1954 Special. The 226ci flathead six pumps out a healthy 118hp and 190 ft/lbs of torque, with most of the power and torque delivered below 2,500rpm. The power feeds to the rear wheels via a Hydramatic transmission, allowing the car to cover the ¼-mile in around 22 seconds before winding its way to 89mph. This car’s engine bay presents as impressively as the rest of the vehicle, with no changes or aftermarket additions. The car has a genuine 14,809 miles on the clock, with the claim supported by the vehicle’s overall condition. It retains its original 6-volt electrical system and is a turnkey proposition for a new owner seeking immediate classic motoring gratification. 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.

Although there was nothing radical about the engineering of the 1954 Kaiser Special, it possessed enough unique styling features to make it distinctive and different. By the time this car rolled off the line in Willow Run, the company’s passenger car sales had dwindled into that dangerous region between not very many and none at all. The scale of the collapse is reflected by the fact that while Kaiser sold 31,272 vehicles across all models in 1953, that figure crashed to a mere 5,818 in 1954. Of those, only 749 were the Special 4-Door Sedan. That makes this a classic that will attract its share of attention wherever it goes. If you are considering parking a new toy in your garage and rarity sits high on your Wish List, this 1954 Kaiser deserves serious consideration.

See the rest of the Kaiser-Frazer Collection here!

  • Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
  • Mileage: 14,809 Shown, TMU
  • Engine: 226ci Flathead Six
  • Transmission: Hydramatic
  • VIN: 020903
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Auction

Sold for: $10,500
Register To Bid
Ended: Apr 17, 2023 12:02pm MDT
Winner: psirotary (Sold)
  • Avatar photo
    psirotary
    bid $8,000.00  2023-04-17 11:58:54
  • Avatar photo
    Larisa bid $6,850.00  2023-04-17 11:36:08
  • Avatar photo
    psirotary bid $6,750.00  2023-04-17 11:28:27
  • Avatar photo
    J4Co
    bid $6,502.00  2023-04-17 07:40:09
  • Avatar photo
    Graeme bid $6,400.00  2023-04-17 00:21:24
  • Avatar photo
    J4Co bid $6,278.00  2023-04-16 19:59:12
  • Avatar photo
    Larisa
    bid $6,175.00  2023-04-16 19:39:08
  • Avatar photo
    J4Co bid $6,075.00  2023-04-16 17:21:34
  • Avatar photo
    Larisa bid $5,951.00  2023-04-15 11:53:23
  • Avatar photo
    J4Co
    bid $5,000.00  2023-04-13 06:25:43
  • Avatar photo
    mehalley bid $4,000.00  2023-04-12 14:57:52
  • Avatar photo
    J4Co bid $3,500.00  2023-04-12 12:37:42
  • Avatar photo
    MrRR
    bid $3,200.00  2023-04-12 08:56:12
  • Avatar photo
    J4Co bid $3,100.00  2023-04-12 08:01:49
  • Avatar photo
    mehalley bid $3,000.00  2023-04-10 16:04:25
  • Avatar photo
    Hauser Weiler
    bid $2,000.00  2023-04-10 15:56:10
  • Avatar photo
    gt bid $1,100.00  2023-04-09 20:57:32
  • Avatar photo
    Pete Phillips bid $500.00  2023-04-09 19:58:39

Comments

  1. Avatar photo Thomas

    My Father had one of these either 54 or 55 when I was a kid. Pure luxury at the time and he loved it. My younger sister store it in the late 60’s and totaled it against a bridge. Off to the junk pile. So mad and so sad. I have never spoke to her since and do not even know if she is alive or departed.

    Like 2
  2. Avatar photo alphasud Member

    These cars are quite beautiful. I prefer one of these over a triple 5 Chevy in the looks department.

    Like 3
  3. Avatar photo Tom

    My fat thumb. My sister STOLE it is the right comment.

    Like 1
  4. Avatar photo Tom

    Paid my $1 to register to bid last week. Here on Monday the 10th I still cannot bid.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Joshua Mortensen Staff

      Hi Tom,

      Sorry, you are having issues! I checked your registration and it looks like you need to sign into your account. I’ve sent you an email with instructions on how to do that. Also, the $1 charge is just for verification and gets refunded to your card.

      Josh

      Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Richard

    Beautiful car. And so unique. Love the styling from the days when you could tell which manufacturer was which!

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo duaney

    I’m not sure where the 749 figure came from. The estimate is that there were 3500 Early Specials. 2 or 4 door. No one knows for sure how that splits up, but Kaiser always made far more 4 doors, so logically, there could have been 2500-3000 4 doors, and 500-1000 2 doors. Now keep in mind there were also 1954 Kaiser Late Specials, with different production figures. Those cars used the 54 body with 3 piece wrap around rear glass. I don’t recall the Late Special numbers, but the 749 might come from those. I’ve owned Early Special models since 1971.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Stu P Member

    This car has the “bamboo dash.”

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo duaney

    Find new stuff whenever looking at these. Regarding the upholstery, SMS makes the correct cloth for the seats.

    Like 0

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