Tag: Kaiser-Frazer

Bill Tilden 1935-2013: Tribute to a Friend

Bill Tilden 1935-2013: Tribute to a Friend

Writ­ten for the Soci­ety of Auto­mo­tive His­to­ri­ans Journal

U.S. Coast Guard Base, Glouces­ter City, New Jer­sey, July 1965: A call from the Ops office—“Sir, there’s a civil­ian here ask­ing for you. He’s dri­ving the weird­est car I’ve ever seen.”

It was Bill, of course. We clicked from the start. With­in a week he hied me off to north Philadel­phia to help strip the odd­ly attrac­tive, faux lizard skin uphol­stery out of a rusty old car. It turned out a bad mistake—we’d junked an ultra-rare 1951 Kaiser Emer­ald Drag­on. They built maybe six….

Bill’s auto­mo­tive tastes were catholic, rang­ing from the E-type Jaguar he bought new and raced—probably the old­est in the hands of its orig­i­nal owner—to a 1941 Cadil­lac Six­ty-Spe­cial, sev­er­al Con­ti­nen­tals and late-mod­el Mopars, which he acquired as “future col­lectibles” from Chrysler, where he then worked, build­ing deal­er­ships.…

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Joe Frazer, Father of the Jeep, Part 2

Joe Frazer, Father of the Jeep, Part 2

con­tin­ued from part 1

See­ing an oppor­tu­ni­ty to run his own com­pa­ny, Fraz­er took con­trol of mori­bund Gra­ham-Paige in 1944, and two years lat­er merged its auto­mo­tive inter­ests with a new cor­po­ra­tion he and Hen­ry Kaiser had formed, leas­ing and then buy­ing the gigan­tic ex-bomber fac­to­ry at Wil­low Run, Michi­gan. Dur­ing Frazer’s 1946-48 pres­i­den­cy, Kaiser-Fraz­er was the fourth largest car pro­duc­er in the world, and ranked eighth in pro­duc­tion by make, ahead of all oth­er inde­pen­dents. He stepped down as an active offi­cer in 1949. The com­pa­ny nev­er again record­ed a profit.…

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