CHASSIS NO: 001799
• Proceeds to benefit the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan
• 1 of only 1,277 manufactured
• Designed by automotive legend, Howard “Dutch” Darrin
• Uniquely styled and outfitted with dealer-installed 14-karat gold trim pieces
226 cid six-cylinder engine, 118 HP, Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, Kaiser front end with independent suspension, power brakes; wheelbase: 118”
Kaiser-Frasier might have been among the first to offer an entirely new automobile after World War II but, by the early 1950s, they knew it was time to revamp their lineup. Introduced on October 31st, 1952, for the 1953 model year, the Dragon was no longer just a trim option but was now its own separate model and built to compete with the entry-level premium cars of GM. Automotive legend Howard “Dutch” Darrin would be called upon to design the exterior; with the help of Carleton Spenser for the colorful and functional interior layout, the Dragon would be quite the automobile. The exterior would be outfitted with features never before seen, like a black Bambu vinyl roof and 14-karat gold on the hood ornament, trunk handle, deck and fender scripts. Though it was intended to be an entry-level vehicle, its four-door sedan layout and unique features would make many see it as a luxurious vehicle to travel with the entire family. However, sales would be minimal and only 1,277 would be produced, making them hard to find today.
The Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan would open its doors in the latter part of 1995, and this 1953 Kaiser Dragon Four-Door Sedan would enter the museum just a year later, becoming one of the first cars to be displayed. A rarely seen automobile today, it is believed to have just one repaint in its lifetime and still wears its original Bambu vinyl and Laguna cloth interior, which is unlike almost anything else in the automotive world. Another unique feature many cars did not carry, is the black Bambu vinyl roof, which has also been replaced.
On the exterior, 14-karat gold was used on the hood ornament, trunk handle, deck and fender scripts. A gold engraved medallion with the owner's name was also installed on the glovebox door. Furthering the luxury, the standard accessory package included everything in Kaiser's "100 options" package such as a GM-sourced Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, E-Z Eye tinted glass, a radio with rear speaker, white sidewall tires, deluxe wheel covers, a windshield washer, heater, defroster, center armrests in front and rear, trunk courtesy lamps, a glovebox lamp, full carpeting both in the car and in the trunk, backup lamps and power steering in the later production models, which happens to be this one.
Within the last year, all the brakes were redone, and the mechanics were given a nice tune-up, leaving it in ready-to-go condition for its next owner. Along with the joy the next owner will get from purchasing this automobile, they will also be pleased to know that the proceeds of the sale will benefit the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum and help further preserve the histrionic vehicles that dwell there. Designed by Howard “Dutch” Darrin and one of less than 1,277 produced, this luxurious Dragon, with its 14-karat gold accents, is sure to draw attention anywhere it is taken, as it is a seldom seen automobile in today's era.