(first posted 1/20/2013) The Kaiser-Frazer Story is a huge one, and now that I’ve read Richard Langworth’s excellent book, we’ll try to break it into digestible pieces from time to time. There were so many outsized personalities (read: egos) involved, and so much money wasted on frivolous exercises and customized cars for anyone who asked nicely. One of the key figures was Carlton Spencer, an extremely creative and talented interior designer (decorator?) who revolutionized the industry with his innovative use of materials, colors and patterns. Kaiser cars may not always have been the flashiest on the outside, but they certainly were inside.
For the 1951 Chicago Auto Show, Spencer prepared four specially-trimmed cars, and with them set perhaps a pinnacle in over-the-the top interiors.
The Safari was trimmed in genuine zebra fur and lion pelts, the manes of which appear to be used on the front floor.
The South Sea featured Hawaiian design upholstery, woven grass mats on the floor and dash,
as well as fish nets and nautical instruments. Just needs some tiki lights, and a bar for the Mai Tais.
The Caballero was trimmed with a variety of horse hides,
along with cowboy spurs, belt buckles and saddlebags. Giddyup!
The Explorer was plushly upholstered in polar bear pelts, with brown bear fur as accents. Well, it was 1951…