I was embarrassed. I was at the Park & Shine Carolina Cruise-In at Carolina Detail Supply in Thomasville, North Carolina. I was looking at this beautiful classic car and I had no idea what it was. When Charles Hunt told me, “It’s a 1951 Kaiser Deluxe,” I felt less embarrassed – and even more interested. I’d never seen a Kaiser before.
Charles acknowledged that even he, as a Kaiser owner, doesn’t see very many of them. “I’m on a Kaiser group on Facebook,” he said. “There’s a few of these up north, but I’ve never seen one anywhere close by. I’d never even heard of a Kaiser until I saw this. That’s kind of why I got it. It’s something different.”
There’s a good reason you don’t see a bunch of Kaisers at your local cruise in. The company wasn’t around very long. Kaiser Motors built cars from 1945 to 1953. Then in 1953, Kaiser merged with Willys. In 1963 they changed their name to Kaiser Jeep Corporation. Eventually, the company sold the automotive part of their business to American Motors. For hot rodders, the Henry J, which became a classic gasser drag racer, is probably their most well known car. It was named after Henry J. Kaiser, the company president.
Charles got the Deluxe about a year ago. A friend of his, who was in the military, had it, and sold it to Charles when he shipped off from Camp Lejeune for his tour of duty in Iraq.