1949 Kaiser Virginian DeLuxe 492 4-dr. hardtop sedan
On loan from: Becker Family of Lincoln, NE
Original cost: $2,301.00
Number made: 986 hardtop sedans; 37,660 Kaisers, total
Engine, etc.: 6 cyl.; 226 cu. in, 112 hp; dual manifold; 123.5 wheelbase; 3,400 lbs.
Henry J. Kaiser, a shipbuilder, created the Kaiser-Fraser Corporation in 1945 by combining the Henry J. Kaiser Corporation and Graham-Paige Motors, headed by Joseph W. Fraser. The company made both the Kaiser and Frazer brands.
Kaiser-Frazer Corporation spent $10 million to revamp the 1949 models to make them look longer, lower, and more modern. The Kaiser DeLuxe series replaced the Custom model. The wheelbase was extended with a revised design for the front and rear bumpers and bumper guards.
The Kaiser body for the 1949-50 four-door sedan was the same as 1947-48. The problem was that, in 1949, most other car companies had a new body platform for the model year or did a good facelift of a recently released design.
Another big problem is that Joseph W. Frazer turned in his resignation as president at the end of 1948. Frazer saw information from dealers showing 60,000 orders in hand, as of October, 1948, and knew it was made up of mostly bogus orders. Frazer was replaced as president by Henry J. Kaiser’s son, Edgar F. Kaiser.
The Kaiser DeLuxe was offered in seventeen colors and nine fabrics (for convertibles, leather, in three colors). The DeLuxe had the name of the car’s exterior paint color on the fenders of four-door sedans and convertibles. In 1949 several car companies used the pillar-less side glass designed for convertibles on hard-tops as a styling element. Kaiser applied the hardtop concept to a four door and covered the roof with convertible-look nylon fabric.
The DeLuxe series offered a four-door convertible, a four-door hardtop sedan, known as the Kaiser Virginian, and the four-door utility sedan, the Vagabond. New convenience options included directionals and a rear cigar lighter. The heater, radio, and other options were not included in the listed price.
In 1949, 80,000 Kaisers had been sold, for a loss of $31 million. Frazer dropped to around 25,000 cars.
Kaiser-Frazer didn’t plan for the 1950 models to be facelifts; they were to be the car that ended up rolling out as the 1951 Kaiser. The Frazer line was supposed to be dropped due to its sliding performance.
In a last ditch effort to stay in business, Kaiser-Frazer landed two loans to re-capitalize the business and finance purchase of new cars from the Kaiser-Frazer Sales Corp. to maintain an inventory for dealers.
As a result, all finished 1949 model year cars got 1950 model year serial numbers and paperwork; cars built out between November, 1949 and March, 1950 were 1949 look-alikes with 1950 model year tags. The final total is that 3,573 were built in the U. S. and in the Rotterdam, Holland facility. These were the only 1950 tagged cars actually built during the 1950 model year period. The statement that sales people presented the 1950 cars as the same as 1949’s is correct.
http://uniquecarsandparts.com/lost_marques_kaiser.htm (Company history)
See also: http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Kaiser-Frazer/1949_Kaiser-Frazer/1949%20Kaiser%20Virginian%20Folder/index1.html (Original sales brochure)