Outstanding one-year only design, this car was the beginning of the end for Kaiser. The ’54 styling was bold and motorists loved it or hated it. Unfortunately the factory Kaiser Manhattan’s were underpowered with a 6 cylinder engine and even an afterthought McCullough supercharger couldn’t provide much power for the car. This example was upgraded with an Oldsmobile V8 engine under the hood in the mid-1950s–the original receipt for purchase of this engine is included. The remainder of the car is stock original. The interior featuring the unique textured dragon fabric is in very good condition and the seats have been preserved with period plastic seat covers. Padded dash and textured headliner. (A few leftover ’54s were remarketed as ’55 Manhattans. Kaiser sold the Manhattan design and manufacturing equipment to Argentina’s dictator Juan Peron, who used this to launch a domestic automobile enterprise–the Kaiser Carabela was sold virtually unchanged in South America through 1962).
This is my Grandfather’s (Jimmie Crowe) car that he sold just before my parents were married in 1965. Here is what we know about its travels since he sold it until now with us buying it. After Illinois, it seems to have traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina where it was from the 1980s to 2010s and then it went to a dealer in California and where the dealer I bought it from acquired it from him. They just finished putting a new paint job on the car, installed new carpet in the trunk, new carpet in interior and removed some yellowed/aged plastic seat covers, which revealed beautiful original upholstery underneath.
The car still has the original motor our Grandfather installed. We have the October 30, 1956 receipt from Welborn Auto Salvage
in East St. Louis, Illinois for a used engine. (Its shown below in one of the images. The car starts and runs.