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HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1951 Frazer Manhattan, a rare 4-door convertible

Pick of the Day: 1951 Frazer Manhattan, a rare 4-door convertible

The restored example was one of just 131 built in the automaker’s final year

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There are vintage cars that are rare, some that are very rare and a few that are so rare hardly anybody’s ever heard of them.  Because really, who among us remembers the Frazer Manhattan 4-door convertible?

Yet here it is, in all its glory. The Pick of the Day is a 1951 Frazer Manhattan 4-door convertible, one of just 131 built and looking fresh after a 10-year, “frame-up total restoration,” according to the Greenfield, Indiana, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.

frazer

Frazer was a short-lived premium brand of the Kaiser Corp., then known as Kaiser-Frazer, that built cars from 1946 through 1951, making this one part of the final batch of luxurious Manhattan convertibles.

Named for Joseph Frazer, who was president of Michigan-based Kaiser-Frazer, the cars were among the first full-sized US automobiles with slab-sided post-war styling, several years ahead of the 1949 Ford that usually receives that accolade. 

frazer, Pick of the Day: 1951 Frazer Manhattan, a rare 4-door convertible, ClassicCars.com Journal

In Onyx black with a red fabric top and leather-and-vinyl interior, the Frazer is drivable and fully functional, the seller says. Much of what went into the complex restoration is described in the ad, including rebuilding the flathead engine; new paint, top and interior; replacing the glass; installing a new wiring harness; and servicing the automatic top.

“The convertible top operates perfectly and comes with matching boot,” the seller notes.

The Frazer Manhattan received a facelift for 1951, with a gleaming new front-end treatment that set it apart from the crowd. 

frazer, Pick of the Day: 1951 Frazer Manhattan, a rare 4-door convertible, ClassicCars.com Journal

“The new front-end treatment was less-conservative than the earlier Frazers and gave the ‘51s a very distinctive appearance,” according to published commentary about the cars included with the ad.  “This, coupled with the 4-door convertible body and unusual window treatment gave this model an appearance different from any other car on the road. 

“Unusually styled cars tend to polarize people – either you love it or hate it. 1951 Frazer styling remains a little controversial, but it is being appreciated more these days.”

frazer

Whatever your view on this Frazer’s looks, it is an enticing piece of little-known automotive history that is sure to attract plenty of attention, especially in this sparkling restored condition.

The asking price is $75,000, which most likely would fall far short of what was spent on the undoubtedly difficult restoration of this rarity.

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Hagerty
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Certainly never knew of one and it’s wonderful this seems to be kept as it should be.

    I (seriously) wonder what market for a similar but NOT CONVERTIBLE would.be?

    Retrospect that top down $ up (unfortunately also sometimes prohibitively true on acquisition) …becomes yet multiplied with 4 doors.

  2. This car was reportedly owned by Joe Frazer who kept it at his office in Oakland, CA. Once sold, the new owner, many years ago, removed the trouble proved hydraulically driven window mechanisms and replaced them with rollup units. Otherwise, this car is essentially as it would have been in 1951.
    Having owned one of the last convertibles built by KF, I can tell you that restoring one of these is not for the faint of heart, or wallet. This is the way to buy one of these – ready to drive.

  3. Designer Brooks Stevens owned a yellow/black-trimmed ’51 Frazer Manhattan convertible at his Mequon WI museum in the 1960s.

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