1953 Henry J

Last updated on September 5, 2021

Today’s car is a street legal 1953 Kaiser Henry J done in Black. Owned by Tom Masek a local Marina del Rey engine builder. Tom can be found at Marina del Rey Cars and Coffee on most Sundays. His Henry J is powered by a 383 ci Chevy, breathing through a 671 Littlefield roots-style supercharger topped off with two 750 Holley carburetors. Transferring that power through a turbo 400 manual shift then putting that power to the rear wheels through a Ford 9″ rear end that has been narrowed.

The body and chassis of the car are highly modified. I love the no bumper look. Great looking car with a commanding sound.

The Kaiser Henry J (1951-1954) were built at a time when American consumers were demanding big cars. Kaiser-Frazer debuted their new small car the Henry J and It would prove to be yet another example of an Automaker offering the right car at the wrong time. First year models were most successful – sales peaked at 80,000. Unfortunately, by 1954, sales had fallen to 1,123 and the model was dropped. A total of 131,702 Henry J’s were produced from 1951 through 1954. 

On a side note Sears Allstate started selling Henry Js in 1952. Kaiser began selling re-badged Henry J’s through Sears, under the nameplate of Allstate. These were designed to sell through Sears-Roebuck department stores in the southern United States. The cars were equipped with Allstate products such as tires, belts, battery, etc. and featured a three-year warranty. Allstates were nearly identical to Henry J’s with slight differences included a unique grille, hood ornament, hubcaps, identification badges and interior trim. After two years of lower than expected sales Sears dropped the car line.

Henry J In a classic car history footnote. The Henry J was the first car produced in Japan after World War II through a licensing deal with eastern Japans Heavy-Industries who were part of the Mitsubishi group. The Henry J was produced in Japan from 1951 to 1954. This marketing strategy was based on the belief that American GI’s stationed in the area would take interest in the little car. 

Tom’s Henry J is another example of the great cars that makes weekend Cars and Coffee exciting here in Souther California. Thanks for riding along. Frank