Kaiser-Frazer and the Making of Automotive History, Part 2 – Richard M Langworth

Transcript of a speech to the Kaiser-Frazer Owners Club, 30 July 2015. Continued from Part 1.

Delving in

Kaiser-Frazer and the Making of Automotive History

While I received no extra pay for writing the Kaiser-Frazer book, I did have the use of an expense account for travel. That was where Bill Tilden came through again. He helped me track down and interview many of people responsible for the cars Kaiser-Frazer built. Others were located through the deep tentacles of Automobile Quarterly, its many contacts in the industry. We also searched for archives, large and small.


Our greatest archival find was at Kaiser Industries in Oakland, California: the Kaiser-Frazer photo files, placed on loan for AQ’s use. They documented virtually every design drawing, clay model and prototype the company built. Bill and I pored over them for several days, bleary-eyed as the secrets of the company came to life. Fortunately we were able to reproduce many in the book.

There were so many, it was hard to choose. Toward the end of the second day I picked a photo up, saying, “Ever see one like that before?” And Bill said, “I think we’ve seen a dozen like that, but let’s use it. It has a good looking tailpipe.” Later the archive disappeared. I don’t know if it ever resurfaced. I hope it’s in good hands.

“You know,” I said to Bill after Oakland, “this is going to be one helluva book. We’ve found this massive archive, and all these people to interview. All concentrated within ten years. I have a chance to go into far more detail than if I were writing a history of, say, General Motors.” So it proved.

Kaiser-Frazer and the Making of Automotive History

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Related – Moto Exotica – 1953 Kaiser Dragon

Categories: 1950's, History, Kaiser Motors, Kaiser-Frazer

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