World's Only 1951 Kaiser Deluxe Pickup Is Up for Grabs, Needs Lots of TLC

1951 Kaiser Deluxe pickup 13 photos
Photo: Roland Laliberte/Facebook Marketplace
1951 Kaiser Deluxe pickup1951 Kaiser Deluxe pickup1951 Kaiser Deluxe pickup1951 Kaiser Deluxe pickup1951 Kaiser Deluxe pickup1951 Kaiser Deluxe pickup1951 Kaiser Deluxe pickup1951 Kaiser Deluxe pickup1951 Kaiser Deluxe pickup1951 Kaiser Deluxe pickup1951 Kaiser Deluxe pickup1951 Kaiser Deluxe pickup
While we still have vivid memories of cars built by discontinued marques such as Mercury, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile, most of us barely remember some brands that disappeared in the 1950s. Kaiser Motors is one of those companies.
Established in 1945 as a joint venture between the Henry J. Kaiser Company and the Graham-Paige Motors Corporation, Kaiser Motors (also known as Kaiser-Frazer) is perhaps more famous for its merger with Willys-Overland, the firm that produced the Willys MB. The merger gave birth to Kaiser Jeep, which handled all Jeep production until 1970 when it was purchased by AMC.

But Kaiser also built automobiles before it moved to Toledo. The Kaiser Darrin sports car is probably the most iconic, but Kaiser also tried to compete in other segments with GM, Ford, and Chrysler. It produced full-size automobiles such as the Deluxe and Manhattan, as well as a small economy car called the Henry J.

When it disappeared in 1953, Kaiser left only a few nameplates behind. And because these cars weren't very popular, Kaisers are rare classics nowadays. Just like their Frazer counterparts. Granted, they're not very sought-after and expensive, but they're hard to find nonetheless.

This brings me to why I'm here talking to you about Kaiser cars. For starters, I'm a big fan of them. Yes, I know, I'm that kind of weirdo. Second, I just found out that someone was crazy enough to turn an early 1950s Kaiser sedan into a pickup truck. Of the coupe utility variety, obviously, just like the Chevrolet El Camino.

And no, I'm not going to joke about it being an El Kaiserino. Oh wait, I just did. Anyway...

I found this contraption on Facebook Marketplace and judging by the front end and the proportions, this ute was probably born as a Kaiser Deluxe. This model was also offered as a two-door, but the way the chrome trim is cut in front of the rear wheels suggests that it was, indeed, a four-door. According to the seller, the transformation was done in 1962.

It's not the best pickup conversion out there though. You can clearly distinguish the trunk and the rear passenger sections in the bed, while the wheel wells are rather poorly welded onto the side walls. The tailgate is just a Deluxe trunk lid that's been shortened and hinged at the bottom. Mounted on the outside, the hinges are ugly and crude but seem to get the job done.

By the way, the 1947 Custom Pickup is perhaps the nicest Kaiser-based ute out there.

Otherwise, the Kaiser is of the barn find variety. It's rusty on the outside and under the hood, but the interior appears to be in decent condition. It still has the original 226-cubic-inch (3.7-liter) inline-six and manual transmission but it doesn't run. Far from surprising since it's been sitting for 16 years as of 2022.

Located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and listed as a "1951 Kia Borrego" on Facebook Marketplace, the Kaiser comes with a $4,000 sticker or "best realistic offer." Is this car-based pickup worth saving or should it be scrapped? Let me know in the comments.
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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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