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Special K: 1947 Kaiser Special

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This barn find California Kaiser sure looks nice so far, even with the press-on white walls! This is a 1947 Kaiser Special and it’s in Valley Springs, California. Shipbuilding magnate, Henry J. Kaiser, could foresee a need for a vast number of cars that would be needed in the post-WWII years and he formed a partnership with Joseph W. Frazer. The Kaiser Special was their first offering, in 1947, under the newly-formed company: Kaiser-Frazer Corporation.

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The 1947 Kaiser Specials were the first cars to have true postwar sheet metal and they had that famous continuous line from front to rear fender. This car looks super solid to me, but you can tell that it’ll need work if your intention is to bring it back to looking like it just rolled off the line at Ford’s Willow Run plant in 1946.

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The interior looks good, too, at least from this photo. This photo, maybe not so much. You’ll need an interior kit for this car, and you can see that it’ll need other work in there, too. There is probably no doubt that a few generations of a local mouse family has taken up residence inside this car so be prepared for the worst. You can use this photo to work with when you’re restoring this interior to like-new condition.

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I’m not sure about the peeling white walls and the crease in the RR door, but as far as rust goes, it sure looks clean. Of course, you’ll need new tires anyway and I would go with blackwalls on this car, but that’s just me. Stick-on whitewalls don’t turn my crank at all. The seller says that this was a barn find so that must have kept it as relatively rust-free as it appears from the photos. The seller mentions that there are some spare parts in the trunk.

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This is the Kaiser Continental L-Head 226, inline-six, or parts of it. The seller mentions that the “Engine & Transmission are sitting in Engine bay not connected”, but I’m guessing that they don’t know if all of the parts are there or not. This was never a fast car since it weighs in at 3,300 pounds and only has 100 hp. Although I personally prefer the grille on the Frazer, I’m a huge fan of both Frazer and Kaiser cars. This car is listed on eBay with a current bid of just $113.50! Are you as much of an orphan car fan as I am or are you a Ford or Chevy only fan?


  1. Charles

    If one can find the parts it would be a good candidate for a restoration. If parts are scarce, then one could make an interesting street rod. You know…, small block Chevy engine and 700R4 trans, big brakes and such.

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  2. Howard A Member

    Man, got to be the “frumpiest” looking car made. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I just can’t help but think how much styling has changed. Can you imagine, a couple going into a Kaiser showroom, and saying, ” we really like the looks of this car”. Maybe that’s not why someone would buy a car like this, because of it’s looks. It should be restored, and kept as is, to show what was around in 1947, but sadly, I don’t see a lot of interest in this car. I forget who said it on a previous post, but cars like this need to be somewhat functional, as it’s just too expensive these days to restore a car like this. Great parts car for someone.

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  3. geezerglide85

    Port-a-Walls these fake whitewalls were a big thing in the fifties & sixties. I remember seeing stacks of them at American Auto when I was a kid. Along with chrome exhaust tips and other add ons. If they didn’t have you didn’t need it.

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  4. Mark S

    Why do people who don’t know what they are doing take things like the engine in this car apart. They then pile it up in boxes and walk away, if you don’t know how to fix it leave it alone. Chances are that the engine in this car could have been made to run before it was ripped apart and effectively ruined. Yes this is a frompy looking car, but it represents a period in time when people again hand hope in their futures and we’re glad to have war behind them. I think that if all the parts are there this engine could be cleaned up repaired and live again. Older mechanics would know how to get that done, how ever it would have to be a labour of love as this car is never going to be valuable.

    Like 1
  5. stillrunners

    Just to say on my paper route Mr. Goode – wanted his paper on the back porch – so I had to peddle down the drive way past the Frasier and Kasier and the 54 Chevy wagon and the 55 Stude he had parked….which the Stude I was able to get at the estate sale….the others were lost to where he had them stored…

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  6. Fred

    The car may look frumpy now, but in 1947 it was the first car with no remaining signs of running boards, and it was THE first car on the market in a car starved post WWII era. They sold in record numbers. Soon the other mfrs caught up and Kaiser designed a new 1951 car to “wow” the public (I sold this car about 6 months ago).

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  7. MikeH

    Fred is right. This was a RADICALLY different car from all the others in ’47, which were warmed over ’42 models, many of which still had styling leftover from the late 30s. A few cars had new models in ’48, but most not until ’49, so the looks of the KFs were like nothing ever seen before.

    One correction–there were lots of cars that hid the running boards with their post war models–Hudson, Lincoln, Nash, Oldsmobile, etc. They still had running boards, but they molded the doors to hide them. That was one of the principle ways they made the ’46s look different from the ’42s.

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  8. MikeW

    I wonder if this is from the Gus Burinda collection? Currently up to $2000

    Like 0

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