Eric Gordon's
1954 Kaiser Manhattan Rebuild


Eric Gordon of New London County CT bought this Kaiser from a
classic car collector, from Providence in 1996.

"What I had my eye on, was an early 40's Packard convertible that used to be
Gen. Pattons last personal car.  I was impressed by the metallic green and beige
near new paint. "He had that especially mixed for himself," said the classic car
collector, "this I'll never sell." Then we drove to a warehouse in Providence.
And there it was, a Kaiser Manhattan 1954 four door sedan.

I told the collector that my first car was a '51 Kaiser. Then I bought a two door
'54 Manhattan and rebuilt  it into a convertible. I even met Howard "Dutch"
Darrin in person who congratulated me: "..... great convertible conversion,
we never manufactured them...."
 After showing the collector the photos and documentation,  he was extremely
reflective, gave me an excellent offer on the four door and said, "I think you want
to relive your  youth. A lot of folks who buy cars from me go back to their
first ....."  (I think the photos and papers, and my teen-like enthusiasm played a big
part in getting a really good deal. The collector had over 50 automobiles.)

After obtaining papers and plates at the DMV,  and all the neighbors  inspected
my "new"  classic Kaiser, I first started with the necessities.  It needed new shocks
and while on the lift of a nationwide auto repair  a fuel tank line suddenly broke.
Well, I found a repair shop willing to work on it. They made it sound like it was
practically "the end of the world is coming." Three months later I finally had my
car back. I think it was good for the shop to have an antique there for all to see
and some to stop by and ask questions. Good for their business.

So, I have to handle this differently.  A neighbor told me about a garage nearby
that specializes in Street Rod Fabrication.    And this is where I started with the
12 volt conversion. Then came the paint job. I looked through hundreds of paint
samples,  thought about the Patton Packard, and decided on GM's  dbu 3334,
Silver Fawn Firemist metallic. (I left  my  classic car first  "baby-steps" behind).
This garage informed me about books and magazines and how and where to
obtain NOS (new old stock) parts.  A whole new, exciting world opened up for me.

Then came power steering, and power brakes, a new 350 Chevy engine with the
700R4 transmission with overdrive, rear axle; and, and let the pictures speak   a
thousand words each. And not to forget the various Classic Car Clubs. They
are ever so helpful with facts and parts, ideas and fantastic stories.

I came to realize that I could buy or sell just about any parts I needed.
And no more expensive than if I had bought parts for a brand new automobile.

And then came the internet, which makes anything possible, even this
page which I want to share with the rest of the Kaiser enthusiasts."


c  copyright  2005 by Aigle Books
POST SCRIPT:
ERIC GORDON, Writer, Editor, Publisher of Aigle Books, Place ST. Georges, Paris, France  GIVES HEREBY
PERMISSION: for John MacDonald- "Sympatico Mail" <johnmd1@ns.sympatico.ca> and ,sharon@summerville-
novascotia.com. to use my writtings, computer sendings and pictures for the above named internet pages.
(Saturday 26 March 2005.)
 
 


After a nearly 20 year search, Eric's car was found by a Kaiser-Frazer
Club member.  On January 14th 2006 the present owner allowed Eric 
and this K-F Club member to view  Eric's car and take some snapshots.

Surprisingly, it is only 99.9 miles from the New Jersey driveway where 
Eric had built/rebuilt this convertible in the early 60's. 
It is now stored in a barn and needs lots of TLC. There are no major damages,
as these pictures show..........


!!!!Coming Home !!!!
The following announcement was received from Eric Gordon 
on the 28th of April 2006..

<> NEWS <> CONVERTIBLE NEWS <>

  DRIVING TO PENNA  /  RENT U-HAUL 
   TOW  MY 54 KAISER CONVERTIBLE BACK TO  CONNECTICUT / 
 THE PRESENT OWNER CALLED / WE MADE A REASONABLE  $-DEAL

I do believe the KFOCI slogan should be:

THE IMPOSSIBLE WE  DO AT ONCE
MIRACLES TAKE A  LITTLE LONGER

THE   IMPOSSIBLE:
My '54 Kaiser Convertible I built in the 60's was found only 99.9 mi from where 
I modified a 2 door coupe into a convertible. I had to sell it 25 years ago for family reasons.

THE MIRACLE:
Convertible was found in Jan 06 and bought and transported to my home on  29 April 2006 :

The MIRACLE WORKERS:

Charlene  Dayton who took down all the info at a KF meet at Kent Falls, CT in 1991 (yes  1991)  and said: "Our club has ways of finding ..."
and  gave me a good luck wooden nickel  from  Vermont.
Chuck & Betty Hucker: encouraged me to join KF in 2005.
Jane and Don Gordon: invited me to KF meet Spring 2003. 
Larry Barker:     "We will find it, no problem."
Mike and Karen Barker: Aug. Kaiser Frazer  '06 Calendar.
Dave Hollen:   very wise encouragements per "e-mail".
Rudy Phillips: 1st sighting in San Diego, phoned.
Norm Canfield: letter writing campaign.
William Brown: insert in his internet www.kaiserbill.com 
Vern Ludwick: 2nd sighting, Santa Barbara,  phoned.
Dale Johnson: a previous owner phoned &  gave leads.
Dieter Ballogh: 3rd sighting Los Angeles, phoned.
Gary Micanek: phoned with info & encouragement.
Mike Lovy: donated KF literature since 1966.
Barbara Mueller: KFOCI  editor inserted a photo of 
car in Jan '06 Bulletin that convinced Gene Webb to
call about whereabouts of car  & helped with towing. 
And Canadian John MacDonald owner of:
http://oldcarandtruckpictures.com/Kaiser/

THANK YOU  and others not KF club who helped,
 and extra special THANK YOU to  Glenn Love !

Eric Gordon     KFOCI   # 9378

"E-mail" 


 
THE MIRACLE OF GETTING
  A CHANCE TO REBUILD MY CAR AGAIN, 20 YEARS LATER
Click here to watch the progress being made in restoring this one of a kind car
Click here to watch the progress being made in restoring this one of a kind car

 

1954 Kaiser Manhattan



 
 
 

 
     
 
     
 
 
     
 
 
     
     

Fall Pictures of Eric's 1954 Kaiser
Eric wanted to show the rare paint that was used in the rebuild, GM dbu-3334
    .... well here it shows the "changing color"of the paint under different lighting conditions.


   
   

 
Before we go much further lets have a look at what Eric started with on July 4 1996

The first step is to take the car to the shop and start with some steering and engine work


 The Street Rod Fabrication Garage 
where most of the work was done.
Eric did a lot of it himself including 
changing carburetor, etc.
   
The old steering column
The old steering column
   
Top left "Ididit" steering column
ready for installation 
   top right   this auto store wheel is not in keeping 
with my "motto of rebuild": 
"ORIGINAL WITH MODERN UPGRADED MECHANICAL"
 and decided to install a Cadillac wheel instead

 Bottom ".....I found a repair shop willing to ...." 
repair gas tank "... No the world did not end..." 
"Three months later I finally had my car back..."

 
 One hole had to be drilled to fit Cadillac wheel to 
new "ididit "column  also 4 way flasher
   
Left: Helper springs for rear shocks.
Right: "I managed to paint undercarriage 
with special undercoat rust 
preventative without a lift.
  The extreme difficulty also stems from the
    special, unusual paint consistency."
350 Chevy engine covers reworked
Engine high heat paint first then metallic
   
 Kaiser "350"
   
 Kaiser "350"
   
 Visible brake fluid container on the firewall
    Right cowling black box: fuse cluster assembly
   
350 Chevrolet engine See thru brake fluid container 
BLACK-BOX: wing nut door, holds fuse cluster
1961 Peugeot windshield washer.
   
Alternator bracket fabricated 
 
350 V8 Engine
   
The Alternator
   
Aluminum Thermostat Housing
   
Chrome Valve Cover Bolts
   
New shocks, heavy duty springs and  disk brakes
specially fabricated in the speedshop
   
Only 6 Bolts to remove inner wheel cowling
Easy access for new V8
   
New power steering gear ready to be box welded
into place for 350 V8  (top right):
Old steering gear still visible.
Engine mount fabricated and welded for 350 V8    Peugeot windshield washer 
container on right
(bottom left): Undercoating inside of trunk
(bottom right): Engine bracket ready for 350  V8
   
TRANSMISSION & ENGINE
  Top left: GM 700R4 Transmission:
4 gear automatic + overdrive 
(Top right): Mechanic installs new 350 V8
 (bottom left):  engine mounts for 350 V8  fabricated and welded into proper place, 
old steering gear on right 
(bottom right) :  new 350 V8
Rochester 4 BBL Quadrojet
   
Rochester 4 BBL Quadrojet
   
Thermostat
   
Thermostat housing
   
Upper Brace Engine Compartment
   
 ".....chrome  shroud 
(especially shipped in from Ohio) for radiator 
<and visible running engine parts>
modified to fit upper front brace of engine compartment..."
 
 
 
 
 
   " Gordon's Repair Shop II "
now a tent garage (11x20x8)
Where I do all my installation and repair work.
 
 
 
 
 
  " ....6 volt horns removed including brackets...
 
 
 "....radiator completely removed, rebuilt and
    upgraded for larger '350 Chevy engine' 
cooling capacity...."
 
 
  "...old fan blade to be removed. 3" fan spacer kept
for new "Flex-a-lite fan" made out of nylon..."
 
 
...remove rust and clean radiator 
housing including very front of inner cowling...
 
then painted with high-heat engine 
paint gloss-black. New nylon blade...
...new 18 inch "Allstar Performance"  6 blade
 ..."flex-a-lite" fan adds longevity to water
pump due to fan's extreme light weight,
 strength and flexibility; rated at 8,000 R.P.M.
 " ...old second drain leaked and superfluous ...." 
 
 
 ...old 6 Volt horns completely removed
 
 
...new 12 Volt horn with old horn bracket
Bracket kept and totally refurbished...
 
 
...any 50 year old automobile restoration
can and does run into slight problems
like horn bolts, they just break off;
some can be reworked...
 
 
....some bolts refurbished... 
 
 
 ....old second drain totally removed
in complete rebuild/upgrade of radiator by
"Olde Tymers Auto Radiator" Lynn, MA
 
 
 ...before installing the rebuilt radiator. 
I design/engineer a cradle/brace/bracket
for a new external transmission cooler.....
   
....and secure it to the cowling 
behind the front grill...
   
...and then reroute transmission fluid lines.
   
....letters and numbers of Harrison
radiator indicates '54 and Kaiser....
   
....however, Olde Tymers Auto Radiator/Lynn, MA. replaced the old  Kaiser core of 40 water cells per line
with a new core of  57 water cells times 2 per line
  for better cooling of the more powerful
350 Chevy V8 engine...
   
'Spectre' (Made in China aftermarket thermostat housing) is as good as original and in chrome.
 
 
....upper front brace of engine compartment
now sports a modified, chrome safety shroud
for "flex-a-lite fan"
<and visible running engine parts
(especially shipped in from Ohio)....
 
 
... engine compartment brace and attached shroud
can be quickly removed with brass "wing-style" fasteners, for easy access to front of engine...
 
 
 ....now that the cooling system is completely rebuild;
  work returns to complete some of  the "RonFrancis/
Wire Works" 12 volt conversion system, except for
the 6 Volt windshield wiper motor, kept original, 
by now using a 'step down' 
(from 12V to 6V) transformer coil.
 
 
Copper ends of duct cables paraffined
and safety wired.
   
Middle Left: Step down transformer coil 
from 12 Volts to 6 Volts for windshield wiper motor.
   
 ".....I first started with the necessities.
 It needed new shocks."......a heavy duty 9 " Ford rear axle  installed with a special manufacture
drive shaft to fit  GM 700R4 transmission 
   
   ".....I first started with the necessities.
 It needed new shocks."......a heavy duty 9 " Ford rear axle  installed with a special manufacture
drive shaft to fit  GM 700R4 transmission 
   
A new power brake booster was installed.
Only small section of Kaiser's heavy duty
  "X" frame  needed cutting  for dual exhaust

  A new support brace for transmission is 
visible on bottom of picture 

   

After the mechanical work and that nice wiring we move on to the interior


 One of the 1st restorations:  1997 I sewed over a dept. store bought cover installed GM seat belts 
New front seat cover/carpet A-OK
   
 Voltage gauge & fire extinguisher + brass name plate on glove box near perfect door panels
   
 12V radio installed frt/rear speakers ok from 6 V
   
Hand emergency brake, one of the 7  safety items Kaiser advertised, "....so passenger could employ in case....." 12 volt radio fits into original cover
Original Mileage On Body
2000 Miles On New 350 V8
Airplane toggle style vent & heater controls
   
New leather cover tilt steering.  GM lap-seat belts. Pin-light for gear indicator in clear plastic
 Pin hole light illuminates plastic transmission 
setting indicator
 
Shroud fitted to new steering column 
 New Wiring & 4 Watt 12 Volt Bulbs Installed
   
 New Ididit tilt steering column  One of the 7 safety features Kaiser advertised , emergency
hand-brake on right side, so passenger
could reach it...."
   
New rubber door seals door panels near perfect "bouclé vinyl"
   
Rear vent windows  near perfect original door panels
Front Vent Window
Rear Vent Window
The "Bauhaus", "art-deco" style opera lights 
There is one on each side


 
 Top: Rear windows roll all the way down, 
vent window fans in more air. 
Another one of our fine 50's style drive-ins closed

    Bottom: Gray trunk-felt carpeting under resized oriental Chinese carpet, with "beading"  from  1961 Peugeot door trim hammered as edging

Newly Fabricated Glove Box Leather Covered.
Functional hood air vent
Side mirror. No holes drilled through door
to mount this mirror.
A Kaiser feature
   
Side mirror. No holes drilled through door
to mount this mirror
Gray trunk-felt carpeting under resized oriental Chinese carpet, with "beading" from 196l Peugeot Door trim hammered as edging
 
 
   
1 foot high and almost 3 feet long 
(31 inches) tail light
   
3 Foot Tail Light
The best visible taillight in automotive history. 54/55 has a one inch ridge on top of light/consists of 6 parts not counting grommets and bolts etc.

Now for a little exterior work.


Fender light grommet is still in excellent shape
   
54/55 Kaiser still has the record for the biggest tail 
lights on any passenger car in automotive history.
even has night visible from the side.
   
The old  lens was replaced with the new
   
NEW fender lights are actually newly 
remanufactured reproductions
   
The new and old
   
newly installed : look great and fit mm perfect!
The Painting
Factory "enamel" stripped to bare metal 
The undercoat: standard light gray + brown paint: 
Silver Fawn Firemist metallic urethane 
(GM dbu-3334) then clearcoat.
   
Top: Factory enamel stripped to bare metal
body undercoat: standard light gray and brown
bottom: Silver Fawn Firemist metallic urethane 
Heat lamps give the silver 
paint a "golden glow"
Top left & bottom right: I first undercoated  the trunk, then  installed "felt-rug" as padding  and noise dampener before installing
   specially modified oriental carpet 
Top right : NOS (new old stock) taillight
shipped from Arizona still in
original (50 yr old) box. 
 Bottom left:  My first project in 1997 after refurbishing and painting the underside and seat springs, was to sew on a new dept store
bought seat cover.
   
...also, round design on Chinese carpet indicates
     the spare tire compartment underneath. I also s
secured a fire extinguisher to the 
left rear interior panel.
(Federal law in Mexico demands a 
fire extinguisher in every motor vehicle!
The US of A and Canada should have the same law.)
5 Inch of Stainless Steel Protects the Sides
   
5 Inch of Stainless Steel Protects the Sides
   
1 Foot  tall and almost 3 feet (31") Make these the most visible taillights in 
AUTOMOTIVE HISTORY
   
Mercedes Benz fuel cap fits perfect
   
NOS (new-old-stock) Fog Lights
   
NOS Plastic K and key cover
   
Some of the Kaiser "HEART SHAPE" Remains
on 54/55 Models although the back glass taller.
   
Left: Repainting steel wheels, extra set of spoke wheels even "Penny" here said: "  'W'W'W'W' (without wide white walls) a 1954 Kaiser  just does not look right, just look at the picture above?"
and walks away.

 Right: The angle of the camera can make angles 
of a Kaiser look different.

 Extra Set of Spoke wheels
   

During the rebuild Eric had help from various sources including the following.


   
   

And after all that work this is the end result.


 
Along with owning any antique car come the club events.
"The "Yankee Region" of the KFOCI (Kaiser Frazer Owner Club International)
graciously allowed me as "Guest -Visitor" for their meet at the
"World Famous Clock and Watch Museum"in Bristol, Connecticut
in Spring  2003."
  The almost 10,000 member ( KFOCI )
KAISER-FRAZER OWNER'S CLUB INTERNATIONAL
honored me by having, for the second year, a photo &  paragraph of one of my cars. 
(In 2006 my convertible was so honored in the month of August). This year my 4 door Manhattan is one of the photos (right) of  the  2007 KF Calendar Cover. 
{shown here with permission of KFOCI Calendar Editors Mike & Karen Barker}

Eric decided to enter his Kaiser in the "Time Machine Car Show"


   
   

 
Eric also joined the Sunshine Chapter of the Kaiser Club,
celebrating Thanksgiving 2008 at Ormond Beach, FL.
participating in a Candle Light Antique Car Parade,
and the famous "Turkey Run" at Daytona USA 500.
   
   This year Daytona 500 (centerfield all cars in this photo)
      had over 3000 cars for sale;  including this 1954 2 door
      Kaiser Special, which differs from the 54 Manhattan,
       by retaining the 51 to 53 rear window. 
 Candle Light Parade in Ormond Beach
     featured this very unusual 2 seater  mini-antique from the
     so called "Brass-Era"   (...because of the brass lights)

 
THE MIRACLE OF GETTING
  A CHANCE TO REBUILD MY CAR AGAIN, 20 YEARS LATER
Use the links below to watch the rebuild of this Kaiser Convertible
Click here to watch the progress being made in restoring this one of a kind car
Click here to watch the progress being made in restoring this one of a kind car
Eric has been rebuilding his Kaiser Convertible. 
He took a few days off the rebuild to celebrate the United States'  Independence Day, July 4'th.

 
...celebrating  "Manhattans"...my convertible since I was a teenager, and celebrating 10 years of restoring the 4 door sedan...
    < I  worked and lived in Manhattan for a while >
INDEPENDENCE DAY ! Party time 2006 !
Matching baloon 
( drifted in from our baseball stadium )
and a blue bow for the convertible.
...if all cars had a "Disney" personality ?
...excellent view of the Cadillac windshield on my convertible..
...and the Lincoln front bumper 
...these two would certainly celebrate...

Eric has made a change and has moved from Connecticut to Florida
Here are some tips from Eric that might help other move an antique car.


A GOOD TIP FOR SELF MOVERS
renting a car hauler:
PLACE CAR ON car-hauler in dry weather, 
once it rains, it is difficult to drive the car onto ramp...right driving wheel tends to spin on the metal.
While placing car hauler at a slight 45 degree angle, 
one is still able to extend loading ramp from rental truck. In rain ~ use an "old" carpet ~ might 
need to cut it once car is on trailer
Do not use car cover in rain or anytime...
           "chafing" of paint is possible...
Take some time out to see the famous and
interesting sites.
Most are within a few miles of our fine Interstates.
            Remember to remove sweaters and heavy winter clothing in warmer climates. 
(Eric Gordon in front of his new home in Florida).
 1st thorough cleaning of my 4 door Kaiser Manhattan..
           in my new Florida home....
1st thorough cleaning of my 4 door Kaiser Manhattan..
           in my new Florida home....
also installing new FLORIDA ANTIQUE plate.
           (Florida DMV issues only one license plate).

Once Eric got settled in he had to check out the local car shows


2008 Datona Beach Spring Car Show and Swap Meet
...  to enter as a "show car", and every owner who
        registers gets a car  "dash plaque"
 
 
Many people came up to me and told me, if there is a vote for best of show they would vote for my 
Kaiser Manhattan, and...
...at  "Daytona USA Spring 2008"  every car is a
"show car" 
 

 
Links
John's Old Car and Truck Pictures
Historic Aircraft Pictures
A Deck of Cards showing
The 1952 cars of The World
The Netherlands and most of Europe has a large following of North American Cars
The Old Cars of the Netherlands
All you Kaiser lovers would like to have one of these. Watch it being made.
Eric Gordon's 1954 Kaiser
Convertible Convertion
"Coming Home"
The story of Eric Gordon finding and bringing his Kaiser Convertible Back Home
Eric Gordon's First Kaiser
A 1951 Deluxe which comes to a startling end
Visit our Home in Summerville Nova Scotia. This house was built in 1873.
Return to my home page
The Early Harley-Davidson Motorcycles
The Model T Ford
Click here to View the Famous Chevy Tri-Five 55, 56 and 57 Chevrolets
The Chevy Tri-Five 
55, 56 and 57 Chevrolets
The Chevrolet Corvette
From 1963 to 1970
Don Pate's 1947 Chevy Aero Sedan 
View the rebuilding of this car from the
bullet holes to the trophy winning
The Early American Sporty Cars
The Oshkosh The Truck that all other only dream of becoming
The Oshkosh 
The Truck of Trucks
The Divco Truck
America's Milk Truck
A Picture Review of 
the Ford Mustang

The Cars Dreams are made of
Those Old Classic Convertibles
Cadillac, Duesenberg, Cords and many more
Anthony Hazelaar's Model Trucks and Cars
The Model A Ford
Yes you can get a Jeep stuck, Really stuck if you just half try.
Have a look and see how a 
Jeep can get really stuck
A Picture Review of the Cars
of the Chrysler Corporation
A Picture Review of the Studebaker 
If you remember it, could you
ever forget it ?
A Picture review of the Packard
A Picture review of the Nash and Hudson
A Picture Tour of the 
Hudson, Essex, and Terraplanes
that were found in Australia
A Picture Review of the
Pickup Truck from 1940 to 1969
A Picture review of the Volkswagen
A Picture Review of the Jeep
from 1940 to the present
A Picture Tour of the Crosley
A Picture Review of the Chevrolet
from 1916 to 1970
The Corvair 1960 to 1969
A Picture Review of the Ford
from 1908 to 1969
The Oldsmobile
The Pontiac
The Cadillac
Wouldn't you rather have a Buick
Wouldn't you rather have a Buick
The Chrysler Airflow
The Tucker '48'
The Amphicar
A Picture Tour of the Henry J
A Picture Tour of the Kaiser Frazer
The Stanley Steamer
View some of John Evan's  Artwork
View some of John' Evan's Auto Artwork 
Click here to View the Jeeps of World War II
WW II Jeeps
James Rucker's Car Collection
Jim's Old Car Page
A good page for Kaiser information
A website featuring many articles on many different cars
If you can't find it anywhere else, try here and
if you can't find it here it isn't anywhere
  View the steam locomotives of the CNR
   Another fun page involving a Jeep
 Tour the 64 remaining Covered Bridges 
   of New Brunswick
The Covered Bridges that once dotted Nova Scotia.
If any one is interested in Microsoft's Flight Simulator I have written some scenery files for Summerville. Maitland, Windsor and Hantsport.
Summerville now has an Airport
E Mail

 


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