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January 20, 1946 – Kaiser Frazer debuts

Following WWII, many entrepreneurs foresaw the need for new commodities, such as houses and automobiles. Successful shipbuilder Henry J. Kaiser was one of those businessmen, and set his sights on the auto industry. To build vehicles, Kaiser partnered with Graham-Paige Motors to create the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation in August 1945. The name came from combining Kaiser’s name with Graham-Paige CEO Joseph Frazer. It was on this day in 1946 that non-running prototypes of the new Frazer and its counterpart, the Kaiser K85 front wheel-drive car, debuted at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. 

Development of the front wheel drive vehicle proved difficult to the extent that the idea died. Instead, the same body of the Kaiser would be planted on both the initial Frazer and Kaiser vehicles, but with a reworked drive train. The cars soon began rolling out of the former Ford Willows Run factory. The company produced more than 11,000 vehicles by the end of 1946. In 1948 the 300,000th Kaiser Frazer came off the assembly line.

Top and Above: 1947 Frazer Manhattan (Blue) by John Lloyd CC2.0

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