One-Off 1947 Kaiser Pickup Originally Designed by "Madman" Muntz Up for Sale

1947 Kaiser Custon Pickup 13 photos
Photo: Mecum Auctions
1947 Kaiser Custom Pickup1947 Kaiser Custom Pickup1947 Kaiser Custom Pickup1947 Kaiser Custom Pickup1947 Kaiser Custom Pickup1947 Kaiser Custom Pickup1947 Kaiser Custom Pickup1947 Kaiser Custom Pickup1947 Kaiser Custom Pickup1947 Kaiser Custom Pickup1947 Kaiser Custom Pickup1947 Kaiser Custom Pickup
Founded by Henry J. Kaiser in 1945, Kaiser Motors didn't last long as an independent manufacturer. It merged with Willys-Overland to form Kaiser-Jeep in 1953 and disappeared altogether when it became part of American Motors Corporation in 1970.
The brand is now largely forgotten beyond its association with Jeep, but it rolled out a few interesting cars in its short life on the U.S. market. The Darrin sports car and the Manhattan sedan should ring a bell. But here's an unknown yet spectacular Kaiser you probably never knew existed.

Meet the 1947 Kaiser Custom Pickup, a bespoke car-based truck originally developed by Kaiser and Earl "Madman" Muntz.

A successful businessman that ran Kaiser-Frazer dealerships in Los Angeles and New York City, Muntz made a fortune selling automobiles. He also pioneered car stereos and produced the first TV receivers to sell for less than $100. More importantly, he pioneered the technique of advertising cars by acting crazy.

I should also point out that Muntz created his own car company in 1950 and developed a sports car called the Jet. But a few years before that happened, he convinced Kaiser to build an upscale pickup truck based on a car.

Kaiser gave Muntz three four-door sedans, which were sent to Betts Curtis Motors in California to be transformed into trucks. The concept didn't catch on, so Muntz didn't push forward with a production run. But he stuffed a Pontiac straight-eight in one of the trucks and kept it for himself.

Unlike the other two haulers, Muntz's pickup somehow survived and ended up at Posies Rods and Customs for a refresh sometime in the early 2000s. The owner eventually opted for a restomod build, and the truck is now a cool hybrid between Muntz's original creation and modern features and underpinnings.

Finished in Cyber Green and fitted with a Buttercream leather interior, the Kaiser now sports a reshaped dashboard, a modern suspension, and a resized grille. It's also a full-blown hot-rod under the hood because the original Pontiac mill was replaced by a GM ZZ5 small-block crate engine.

Capable of 400 horsepower before any modifications, the 350-cubic-inch V8 mates to a TH700R4 automatic gearbox built by Del-Trans and a Currie nine-inch rear end. No word on actual output, but this Kaiser is definitely faster than the average classic hauler.

This one-off pickup truck is set to cross the block at Mecum Auctions' Harrisburg 2022 event on July 27-30. There's no pricing estimate for the auction, and it's really difficult to take a guess here, but this Kaiser is as unique as restomods get. And it also has an interesting story to tell. If you're looking to stand out at any car show, this pickup might be the rig for you.
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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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