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1954 Kaiser Manhatan 2 Door : Classic Cars

The 1954-1955 Kaiser Manhattan was an astonishingly successful facelift on Dutch Darrin's 1951 design, performed by K-F stylist Herb Weissinger. All-new sheetmetal forward of the cowl featured a concave oval grille reminiscent of the Buick XP-300 show car (which Henry Kaiser liked) and curvy front fenders with headlights and parking lights set in chrome-encircled teardrops, again borrowed from Buick. At the rear were large "Safety-Glo" taillights with illuminated lenses running atop the fenders, and the rear window was fully wrapped around.

The redesigned dash was given large, aircraft-like toggle lever controls. Exclusive to these top-line Kaisers was a McCulloch supercharged version of the staid old L-head six, boasting 22 more horsepower. The blower freewheeled economically when not in use.

None of this was enough to save Kaiser, however, and production ceased before the end of the model year. The design was salvaged, though, and built in Argentina as the Kaiser Carabela through the early 1960s -- a tribute to an excellent design. (Read More)

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