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Rotting And Restyling: 1952 Henry J Convertible

52 j vert 4

This sad old Henry J has seen much better days. This interesting and attractive convertible conversion isn’t all that common though and a quick search on Google shows how appealing a convertible Henry J really can be. The seller has claimed that it may be the car that was featured on the cover of Rodding and Re-styling magazine. It’s Located in Huntington Station, New York and is listed here on ebay where bidding is at $760!

52 j vert 1

Having clearly been stored for many years, time has certainly taken a toll upon this Kaiser. The floors are nonexistent and the rockers and lower doors are rough looking as if a slight breeze could create holes. Not to say that this car is beyond hope. The seller is including some floors and if more information was procured to prove its magazine status, I think more folks would be on board with saving this Henry J. This conversion does appear to have a convertible windshield from another make, where it likely had vent/wing windows that complete the curve from the windshield to the door. The magazine car appears to retain its original windshield frame, but who knows what may have happened to this car after its cover shot.

52 j vert 3

The engine is untouched, but that is the least of this car’s troubles. The engine does appear to be complete, but looking at the rest of the car, we don’t know if we hold high hope for that engine other than it may be able to be rebuilt. The body for many of us is the scary part. An engine could be whipped up with much less effort.

Rodding and Restyling Magazine June 1956

This Rodding and Restyling magazine came out June of 1956, making the Kaiser only 4 years old upon its magazine debut. There does not seem to be any firm evidence of this Henry J being the Magazine car. The burgundy looks right, but if someone had the magazine perhaps we could draw greater conclusions as to whether or not this is indeed the magazine car. We did manage to find a copy of the magazine here on ebay if anyone is interested enough in completing this mystery. Would you save this interesting Henry J? What might you do with it? We would love to see it returned to its possible magazine glory, but we can certainly see where some may go astray and modernize this little gem.


  1. Car39

    My Dad told me he sold a bunch of these in the 50’s. It was a pretty common thing to do because J’s were cheap and hard to sell. He also did it in the 60’s with some SAAB’s that were roof damaged from shipping. Since all they did was cut off the roof and not add any additional support, they were pretty flexible.

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  2. Fred W.

    I doubt the magazine car is the same one, mainly because the windshield is distinctly lower on it. Also, it has three pieces of chrome added in front of the rear wheel and may have shaved door handles.

    Wouldn’t the proper term for these be “roadster” since they appear to have no top at all?

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  3. Scott

    Convertible gasser really don’t work. RIP sad HJ

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  4. RayT Member

    Doesn’t seem likely that this is the “Rodding and Restyling” car. I’d hate to have to prove it either way….

    The only saving grace to a “J” convertible is the separate frame, which means reinforcement is fairly simple. If not already done, the new owner could accomplish it while repairing/replacing rusty bits. Hidden rot is almost a certainty here!

    Several dealers did similar conversions back in the day, and I think the factory turned out a prototype or two. Every one I can remember seeing (in photos) had flat windshields, usually cut down from the original.

    It would be fun to have, but the amount of work needed in this instance is enough to scare me away….

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  5. stillrunners


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  6. Bruce Joslen

    the 55 Pontiac chrome is a nice touch.

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  7. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Note the car has a different rear section of the fenders, extended about 8 to 10 inches rearward [past the rear mounted spare tire]. The tail light bases are ’55 Cadillac without the backup lamps below. It has a different rear bumper with over riders that look Chrysler, but I’ve not been able to identify the rear bumper. The front bumper also has the deluxe accessory ends on the current car.

    I seriously doubt this car is the one featured in the magazine.

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  8. bcavileer

    Makes the 64 mark 2 I just started look like a cherry. Thanks guys. Just when stuff was bleak. Something worse…

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