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1953 Kaiser Dragon

10/18/2019
Tad Burness
In the early postwar era, Henry J. Kaiser and Joseph Frazer produced two new lines of automobiles, with 1949-style fenderless bodies three years ahead of their time!
 
Because new cars were hard to get in the years immediately following World War II, K-F enjoyed its greatest success in the 1947 to 1948 period. But in 1949, when the government tightened lending and credit restrictions, Joe Frazer nearly had a fit, claiming publicly that the lack of easy credit would wreck the automobile industry.
 
It didn't, but there was a small recession as the supply of new cars caught up with demand. And, the independent automakers had to struggle harder for their smaller share of the market.
 
 
In March 1950, Kaiser and Frazer introduced their restyled 1951 models, getting a jump on the competing 1951 cars that appeared the following autumn. The Frazer received a minor face lift, but the Kaiser wow! The Kaiser got a completely new-style body with a high, arched top; large windows; and a better look all around. This new body was continued, with few changes, ‘til 1955, after which a similar body was built by Kaiser in Argentina and named "Carabela."
 
Frazer was quietly smothered before the end of 1950 (the car, not the man!), because the Frazer had not shared Kaiser's snappy-looking new body.
 
For 1953 only, a glamorous top-of-the-line model, the Dragon (also called the Golden Dragon), was available for nearly $4,000, putting it into the Cadillac price range. The Dragon featured an Asian flair, with fancy paint jobs, a padded top and Bamboo vinyl imitation trim on the dash, inside door panels and even on some tops!
Because most Kaisers were priced below $2,600, the Dragon was a poor seller, but is a very valuable collector car today.
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