1951 Kaiser DeLuxe Golden Dragon
Engine: Inline 6
Displacement: 226.2 Cubic Inches
Horsepower: 115 BHP
Cost New: $2,453
The Kaiser-Frasier Company made cars in America from 1947 to 1955. It was a short-lived brand that brought innovation, safety and design to the industry, but could not compete with the deep pockets and the power of the Big Three. The company suffered from a lack of capital and a true lack of focus. Innovations like a padded dash and pop-out safety windshields, (both used first by Tucker), were adopted by Kaiser. A lower stance and belt line, (the line where the doors and windows meet), along with slender roof pillars, gave the Kaisers twenty percent more glass, offering greater visibility and better handling.
Kaiser brought in Howard "Dutch" Darrin to design the 1951 models. His styling touches are everywhere, including the "Darrin Dip" in the front and rear windshields, and along the side beltline. The interiors followed Kaiser's "Anatomic" design concept, that a car should be "designed to fit the human body." Those features included a padded instrument panel, "direct view" round speedometer and gauge cluster mounted directly above the steering column, and "high-bridge" doors that cut into the roof for easier access.
This Kaiser sports the $150 Golden Dragon option. Available in nine different exterior color combinations, paired with seven specific interior color options, the Dragons featured a special low-pressure refrigerated alligator print embossed vinyl. It covered the seats, package shelf, instrument panel, and door panels. The Dragon name was used so as not to mislead customers into thinking the material was real alligator skin.
This car was graciously donated by Curtis Foester.