Tuesday, April 2, 2013

From the Archive: Kaiser Traveler

I bought this 1949 Kaiser Traveler at an estate sale in Edgewood (east of Albuquerque) five years ago. It had been sitting for some time in a large yard with many other cool vehicles. I had planned to put a big block Ford V8 in this with and auto, repair all the serious rust and refresh the suspension while leaving the beautiful patina alone.

The tow truck driver was an automotive enthusiast and worked his butt off to get the Kaiser free of the mud and grass.

The Traveler was a higher trim-level of the Kaiser Special, and was only produced for two years (1949-50). These cars were unique for having many post-war advancements in construction before other automakers had them, and were quite luxurious at the time, they were also advertised as 'safety cars.' The Traveler and its big brother the Deluxe had hatchbacks with a tailgate, making it a great family camping car. Camping and picnic accessories were sold specifically for these cars.

Unfortunately, despite being innovative ad luxurious, the styling o Kaiser cars was already looking dated by 1950, and overproduction hurt the company badly. Despite purchasing Willys-Overland (and thus Jeep) and creating the phenomenal Kaiser Darrin, sales continued to slide and Kaiser eventually went out of business.

Due to a major disruption in my personal life I was unfortunately never able to make serious progress on the Kaiser, and had to sell it. Luckily, I  know the new owner (a hip rockabilly tattoo artist) is taking very good care of it.

UPDATE: I found some photos from after the Kaiser came home, and some detail shots.

Scrubbing out the hanta virus. You can also see my old Nissan pickup with the fake hood-scoop.

Good view of the hatch and tailgate.

Interior was pretty far gone.

Continental inline flathead 6, these were also used in forklift at the time.

Serial plate.

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