Gasser or Original Spec? 1951 Henry J Deluxe

We have seen a few independent and/or orphan cars here recently with a few Frazers, and this 1951 Henry J Deluxe is also a Kaiser-Frazer offering. This interesting car can be found here on Craigslist in Gresham, Oregon, a few miles east of Portland. The seller has it listed for $7,600. Thanks to Roger for another great find!

The Henry J was named for Kaiser-Frazer founder, Henry J. Kaiser, but most of you knew that. It was their economy car offering and was meant to be a car that almost anyone could afford. There were a number of requirements tied to the government loan that K-F had to meet and they had to come in at $1,300 or less. That meant a lot of things that most of us take for granted wouldn’t be in this car.

Like, a trunk lid. It wasn’t easy to load the storage space behind the rear seat, after having to crouch and duck into and behind the two front doors. There never was a four-door Henry J produced but they did end up making some at least better-appointed models such as this Deluxe. They say that this “car has overdrive which works and has a lighter an ash tray which were accessories. The lighter does not have a wire going to it so not sure if it works. It has the heater which the core has water running thru it and does not leak but the fan does not work. Not sure if it is the switch or wiring. The car has it normal rattles as a old car will have.” So many of these cars ended up being modified and the seller had it in mind to turn this one into a gasser at one point.

The seller says that they were going to make this into a gasser but they’re now moving and would rather not haul it “down south” to their new house. The interior looks good but it has been redone at some point, and thankfully the seller has included photos showing some rust on the floors. Whenever I see photos showing the bad spots, I think that a seller is above board and they aren’t trying to hide anything as some do by not showing such photos. Although, there are no engine photos, which is disappointing. This one should have a Willys F-head Hurricane 161 cubic-inch inline-six with 80 hp. Hagerty puts a #4 fair condition value on a 1950 Henry J Deluxe with overdrive as being $8,500 so this example could be a decent buy depending on how much shipping charges would be. The “motor runs great and could use a tune up, The transmission is more then likely due for a clutch or just adjusting.” Are there any Henry J fans out there? Would you modify this car like so many others have done with Henry Js, or leave it as stock as possible?


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  1. Howard A Member

    For cryin’ out loud, boy( slapping back of head with rolled up newspaper) don’t you dare turn this into a gasser, what’s wrong with you? Shows what our hobby is up against, someone would even think of turning a fantastic example of probably the most basic car in history, into another gasser. Don’t get me wrong, gassers are cool, but have a shred of compassion for automotive history, sheesh. These, and the Sears sold Allstate cars were pretty basic, no glove box, 1 sunvisor, no trunk, although, the later ones had a trunk. It should be preserved to show future generations, one could actually buy cars like this. O/D sweetens the deal. We sure could use a new car like this today. Gasser,,just smh.

    Like 22
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha, you know me better than that, Howard! I’m an original-spec nerd right to the core of my soul. The seller was thinking of the gasser thing and I’ve seen a boatload of them based on the Henry J, maybe too many.

      Like 10
      • Howard A Member

        I should have specified, the seller would even think of that. I know you wouldn’t. Hey, here’s your Outback replacement, probably get 30 mpg to boot.

        Like 5
    • RayT Member

      I dunno, Howard…can’t help thinking it’d be cool to turn this into an Allstate!

      Like 6
  2. Gaspumpchas

    This one might be the last one in captivity that hasn’t been hot rodded. Price seems ok for an original. Might be cool to soup up the original engine. Anyway, great piece for someone!! Happy Motoring!!


    Like 7
    • Chris Bruins

      Not the only one! My dad is restoring a 51. It has the 4 cylinder and overdrive though.

  3. JACKinNWPA Jack in NWPA Member

    The world has enough gassers and incomplete coupe projects to turn into gassers, leave this little care alone.

    Like 8
  4. Little_Cars Little Cars Member

    First time I’ve ever seen one of these with a repaint that really makes it appear modern. The K-F nationals were here in Tennessee not long ago, and every Henry J was painted in typical 1950s colors. This “champagne” edition, while pretty damn faded, gets my orphan car adrenaline flowing. Now, if the seller could only straighten out the steering wheel cover so it’s right side out! Nice find….price is about all the money IMHO.

    Like 1
  5. dweezilaz

    The American Steel Sniffers Community appreciates your support.

    Like 2
  6. dweezilaz

    Is the front bumper included in the price ?

    I’d have to have that. It’s so complete, leaving it off would be a crime. Plus it looks dumb and has no protection for the sheet metal [ no one is making fenders, headlight rings, new hoods are they?] in even a minor bump.

    Yes, agree with others. Tormenting this car until it’s a “gasser” would be disappointing. This Henry J is a symbol of the car industry of the period, the K-F story and something that has survived for 67 years without being molested much. The Continental engine company has an historic automotive legacy as well.

    Henry J gassers are already well represented. I hope this car finds an empathetic home.

    Like 6
  7. KenS

    Mom and Dad had one when my older brother was really small, Dad loved that car, used to rave about the mileage, we lived in Chicago at that time and he was so proud that the little car got them back to Chicago with $ 0.35 in his pocket, last fill up was in Wis. with $0.65 worth of gas, 33 mpg.

    Mom & Dad went out with my aunt and uncle Anna and Ray, had a little bit to much fun, Mom was driving when the light pole jumped in front of her, right in front of a police station, Dad went in to report it, desk Sargent asked if the pole was damaged, it wasn’t, he looked out the window and the cop looked at him and told him to go home and sleep it off ! My how times have changed, totaled the car, that when he started driving Studebakers

    Like 2
  8. Chris in WNC

    original !

    Like 2
  9. Vince H

    Trunk lid was a option.

    Like 2
  10. Ken

    Frank Zappa’s family traveled across the country from Baltimore to Southern California in a Henry J. Frank said sitting in the back seat was like sitting on a board, because that’s essentially what it was.

    Like 9
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      +10 for a Frank Zappa reference!

      Like 7
      • bowmad

        Working at my College NWMSU radio station, Frank Zappa tracks “not suitable for airplay” always got my attention.

        Like 3

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