CC For Sale: 1954 Kaiser Manhattan – Drool…But Where’s The Supercharger?

Poindexter left a link to the ad for this 1954 Kaiser Manhattan in his Nash post, and it needs to be shared in its own post. This is just too delicious. If this were closer to me, I’d be tempted to do something foolish.

As you know well by now, this is how I like my old cars: original, with the authentic patina of age. But not too far gone, and this one is just about perfect. All the trim is there, and what trim it is; look at those taillights!

Here’s the text from the ad:

I came across this car stored under a cover inside in the back of a business, has not been used since 1973, (see pics of sticker). Redid the brakes, new master cylinder, new tires, battery, overhauled carb. Starts instantly and runs like a top. Everything works! Rides like a caddy. The trunk is full of original brochures and paperwork. I am sure I put over 100 hrs getting her back in shape. I’m only selling because I’ve taken on another old project and need the space. Don’t waste time with ridiculous low offers and the standard “is it available”. thanks

The interior looks to be in quite decent shape still. Kaisers were famous for their interiors, with bold use of fabrics, textures and colors.

The back seat looks about the same.

And the stickers, from 1972 and now.

Obviously, what’s under the hood is the least compelling aspect of it, as it’s the venerable old Continental 226 flathead six, which was barely adequate when Kaiser-Frazer first hit the scene in 1946, but was pretty hopelessly outdated by the 1950s, in its price class. This listed for $2670, which is $200 more than an Olds 88 Super, and just $130 less than the Olds 98, both of which of course had a 185 hp 324 CID V8 that would run circles around the…uh..oh…wait a minute. The 1954 Manhattan came standard with the McCulloch supercharger, which boosted power from an anemic 114 to a mighty 140 horsepower! Where’s the supercharger? It’s clearly missing.

Good thing, because the idea of a supercharged Kaiser might be a bit much to resist.

If you’re wondering where Kaiser got the inspiration for its new front end…

It was Buick’s 1951 XP300, another of Harley Earl’s favorite dream-mobiles.

As to the tail lights, well, they’re a bit more original, and one of the more remarkable ones of the times.


If you’re interested in a Manhattan that’s lost its supercharger, here’s the ad.

Part 1 of my K-F History is here. Part 2 is still to come.