1948 Kaiser K481, 4 door sedan, 7 passenger
Owners: Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Original cost: $2,244.00
Previous owner(s); Omaha owner, 1965; another Omaha owner, 1977
Number made: 90,588
Engine, etc.: 6 cyl.; 226 cid; 100 hp; in-line L-head; 123.5 in. wheelbase; 3,295 lbs.
Henry Kaiser built his fortune in shipbuilding, steel, and cement. He formed a partnership with Joseph W. Frazer, former CEO of the Graham-Paige Corporation. The first car of the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation was launched in 1947.
The cars included several luxurious features including welded all-steel construction; between-the-wheel seating (gave passengers a better ride); exceptionally wide wheel rims; low center of gravity; low, luxurious seats; large luggage compartment; curved wraparound bumpers; dual horns; twin sun visors; dash mounted starter switch; automatic dome lights; and large, hydraulic self-centering brakes.
The Kaiser radiator grille was a mixture of vertical and horizontal blades (not unusual for the period) with rectangular parking lamps placed outside the grille work, under the headlamps. A large hood badge bearing the letter ‘K’ above a buffalo shield told the world that this was a Kaiser vehicle.
Modern features included aluminum alloy pistons, an automatic choke, double-acting hydraulic brakes, independent suspension, curved rear window, and fresh-air heater. A more unusual feature was the hand throttle.
Only minor changes were made in the 1948 Kaiser from 1947 models. One change was the use of leather upholstery in the four door sedan, the first and only time it was standard. It became an option in later years.
Options included defroster and heater ($48), radio and antenna, tailpipe extension, external sun visor, clip-on vanity mirror, spotlights, fog lights, and bumper guards.
Source: Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946 – 1974. John Gunnell. Rev. 4th ed. Krause Publications, 2002.
History of Kaiser Cars, http://www.allpar.com/cars/adopted/kaiser.html
http://uniquecarsandparts.com/lost_marques_kaiser.htm (Company history)