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Thread: Kaiser-Frazer Museum, Stillwater, OK

  1. #1
    President Member Studedude's Avatar
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    Kaiser-Frazer Museum, Stillwater, OK

    Went to visit my old Willys Aerolark today in a local museum.

    Willy came into the family through the passing of a little old lady that used to work with my mom. The little old lady purchased the car from the local Kaiser/Fraizer/Willys Dealer, AKA Grimsley's Motors.

    Dad got the car for $50 from the estate, and drove it to work and back for about 12 years. It needed paint, and interior work.

    I borrowed it from him one Christmas, and painted it for him. Brought it home with a big red bow on the hood, gave him the keys, and said, "If that was my car, I'd get the interior fixed!" He drove it a few more years, got another car, dropped the car at our house, handed me the keys and title, saying, "If that was my car, I'd get the interior fixed." So, I did.

    I kept it several years, took it to several shows, including the National KF meet in Wichita, sometime around 1981. As mentioned above, the car was not air conditioned, and was not quite what I wanted in an old car. I wanted a street rod, and Willy was just too nice and original to modify in that way. I purchased my current Studebaker, and needed room in the shop to rebuild it, so Willy had to go.

    Niece Melissa wanted it to share with her dad, so we worked out a deal. She and Charlie took it to shows and parades, with Charlie sitting in the back seat, asking parade watchers if they had any Grey Poupon? After his passing, the car sat for some time, and Missy asked me to see if we could find it a home.

    While we would have liked to see it stay in the family, no one had room for Willy.

    Enter Mark Grimsley, son of the dealer that sold the car to our little old lady. Mark was in the process of collecting Kaiser, Fraizer, and Willys cars for a museum. So Willy left our family, and went back to his roots.

    I used to be able to paste pictures from Facebook over to here, but that's not working, so here links to pics of Willy and the other cars:
    Last edited by Studedude; 08-23-2019 at 10:36 AM.

  2. #2
    Golden Hawk Member Dick Steinkamp's Avatar
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    Great car...and even better story!
    Dick Steinkamp
    Bellingham, WA

  3. #3
    Silver Hawk Member Chris Pile's Avatar
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    I have never seen a black Aero Ace.
    The only difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers

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    Good story, Dave -- thanks. Yours appears to be a 52 or 53. I had a 54 two-door.

  5. #5
    President Member Studedude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Pile View Post
    I have never seen a black Aero Ace.
    it's Areolark. The Aerolark script piece is missing above the W... seems to have been snagged by a buffer pad.

    Dad got a parking ticket once... the model name listed on the ticket was "Aeroplane."

    Dave Lester

  6. #6
    President Member Studedude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Lackie View Post
    Good story, Dave -- thanks. Yours appears to be a 52 or 53. I had a 54 two-door.
    Yep, it's a '53.

    Dave Lester

  7. #7
    President Member Studedude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Steinkamp View Post

    Great car...and even better story!
    Thanks, Skip, for the kind words, and posting the pic.

    Sorry I let my frustration show, but it's maddening when things you have done for years suddenly don't work anymore... and... just like magic, all of a sudden, this morning, I can copy 'n paste from FB. Go figure. Other pics:





















    Last edited by Studedude; 08-08-2019 at 04:02 PM.

    Dave Lester

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    Golden Hawk Member
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    I still like the later Kaisers. I wasn't familiar with them. I do not remember a dealership for them in this area. In 1961, a guy came into my station with one. My 1957 President Classic was prominently parked out front. The guy was proud of his supercharged engine that he proceeded to show me. 58 years later, I can still visually recall things like that.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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    President Member j.byrd's Avatar
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    studegary, there was a supercharged Kaiser in my hometown too. His son was also a "muscle car" collector. The Kaiser did not feel very powerful even with the blower, but it sure looked neat !

    Studedude, I painted and detailed a Kaiser Dragon for a good friend back in the 80's, he had some of the neatest "orphan" cars. We went several places to see or purchase others while I was living in middle Tennessee near him. He is gone now, but would have loved to see this museum !

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    My Mother had a Willys Aero when she served in the Air Force during the 1950s. She drove it between duty stations in Tennessee, Nevada and Wyoming. Sadly, when she was transferred to England, One of her brothers got a hold of it and trashed the transmission. That's the tale I was told when mom told stories of her Air Force years.
    \"I\'m getting nowhere as fast as I can\"
    The Replacements.

  11. #11
    President Member christophe's Avatar
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    Thanks for the pictures of these rarely seen cars.
    I'd love to have a Kaiser Manhattan.
    Oh, well! Maybe in another life...
    Nice day to all.

  12. #12
    President Member Noxnabaker's Avatar
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    There's was Kaiser for sale in Holland a few years ago by a guy in the Dutch Studebaker club, if I can remember his name I'll tell you if you want Christophe.
    He had some Studebakers & one Kaiser in good condition & one needing work, he helped me with a lot of Studebaker related stuff when I did up Josephine.


    Josephine
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  13. #13
    President Member christophe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noxnabaker View Post
    There's was Kaiser for sale in Holland a few years ago by a guy in the Dutch Studebaker club, if I can remember his name I'll tell you if you want Christophe.
    He had some Studebakers & one Kaiser in good condition & one needing work, he helped me with a lot of Studebaker related stuff when I did up Josephine.
    Thanks, Nox. As I just bought a Saab 96, I' don't have the place for another car right now.
    Nice day to all.

  14. #14
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    Lots of fun those Kaisers! My Dad and I acquired parts from 3 dealerships to keep the 5 Henry Js and 5 Manhattans -3 '53's and 2 '54's. All gone now but still have the K-F sign in the garage. Now into '64 Studebakers!

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    Studedude, I enjoyed your story about the history of your Willys. I always liked Kaiser and Willys cars. Great pictures. Thanks for the post.

  16. #16
    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Pile View Post
    I have never seen a black Aero Ace.
    I have seen its later iteration in black; a 1963 Willys 2600: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...highlight=2600

    Craig

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    Chief Cat Herder showbizkid's Avatar
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    As a kid, I found Richard Langworth's "Last Onslaught On Detroit" at my local library. Checked it out and read it cover to cover at least six times. I have a real soft spot for those big Dragons.
    Clark in San Diego
    '63 Standard (F2) "Barney"
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  18. #18
    President Member Noxnabaker's Avatar
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    So Christophe, I'm curious what kind of 96... 2-stroke or V4?


    Josephine
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    Champion V8
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    President Member Studedude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8E45E View Post
    I have seen its later iteration in black; a 1963 Willys 2600: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...highlight=2600

    Craig
    Cool beans!

    Dave Lester

  20. #20
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    The bumpers on "Your" Willys look like 49-50 Stude bumpers.

    Are there any Jeeps in the K/F Museum?
    KURTRUK
    (read it backwards)




    Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln

  21. #21
    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    Great story, Dave...and what a nice car. Those Areos were certainly underappreciated in their day, and such nice cars, too. Happy to see yours survived to see such a nice "end." BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

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  22. #22
    President Member Studedude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kurtruk View Post
    Are there any Jeeps in the K/F Museum?
    No Jeeps yet... hope he can round one up.

    Dave Lester

  23. #23
    President Member Studedude's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kind words from those that enjoyed the story, cars, and museum!

    Dave Lester

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    Where is this museum located?
    7G-Q1 49 2R12 10G-F5 56B-D4 56B-F2
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    SDC Member 1985

  25. #25
    President Member Studedude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ST2DE5 View Post
    Where is this museum located?
    Howdy, Carl... long time, no see!

    It's located just west of Perkins Rd. (HWY 177) and Airport Road in Stillwater, next to Grimsley's janitorial supply company. But, I think you would need to have an appointment to get in, Mark is not there on a regular basis. I can help get the two of you together.

    Dave Lester

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    President Member christophe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noxnabaker View Post
    So Christophe, I'm curious what kind of 96... 2-stroke or V4?
    It is one of the last V4's, a 1979 model.
    I had to take the cylinder heads off but I'm currently reassembling it.


    Hey! How come we can no longer post attachments here? Sorry for the big pictures but I had to post them on a sharing site.
    Nice day to all.

  27. #27
    President Member Noxnabaker's Avatar
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    No one can post pitures the "normal" way on stovehuggers, it has always been that way.

    Nice SAAB! I really like that "California Green" as we used to call that shade on any car here in Sweden in the 70's, even the later Citroen DS/ID. The rims are a bit rare these days too. I guess you know the engine is a "European Ford" engine? They needed more torque & didn't have time to develop their own 4-stroke at the time.
    Last edited by Noxnabaker; 08-13-2019 at 04:01 PM.


    Josephine
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    Champion V8
    4d sedan

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    President Member christophe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noxnabaker View Post
    No one can post pitures the "normal" way on stovehuggers, it has always been that way.

    Nice SAAB! I really like that "California Green" as we used to call that shade on any car here in Sweden in the 70's, even the later Citroen DS/ID. The rims are a bit rare these days too. I guess you know the engine is a "European Ford" engine? They needed more torque & didn't have time to develop their own 4-stroke at the time.
    Saab called this green hue, Acaciagrun. Yes, I recall a similar color on the later DS. I'm glad they chose the FORD V4 engine among several contenders (Volvo B18, Triumph, VW, Hillman Imp, Lancia) because all its parts are still available right now. My engine should be a 1,5l version but I found it is actually an overbored (1 mm) 1,7l. They managed to squezze 140 hp from this engine, which is quite an achievement, at least to me. I put the cylinder heads back on the car yesterday, so it might back on the road shortly.
    Nice day to all.

  29. #29
    President Member Noxnabaker's Avatar
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    They did well in rallys on gravel roads, you remove the catch/locker on the parkbrake & use it for throwing out the rear wheels, it's needed because otherwise it's like throwing a dart; it just goes straight ahead because of the heavy front.
    I've driven a few like that but I've only owned 2-strokes & then the car is so well ballanced that you don't need that trick. There's still a few wild SAAB 96's around up here...


    Josephine
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  30. #30
    President Member christophe's Avatar
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    I read or heard somewhere that some people used a screw to hold the parking brake ratchet down permanently. Thus, they could act on the rear wheels more easily. As I don't intend to become Christophe "pa taket", I think I'll avoid this...

  31. #31
    President Member Noxnabaker's Avatar
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    Ah, are you as big as Erik? He was a bit "top-heavy" & that + a 2-stroke that's a bit lighter SAAB caused the rollovers, but they're built like eggs so they can take rollovers better than any other car I know.
    (Thinking about swedes & rallye + French races I always think about Bjørn Waldegård 1972 at Chamonix in a DS Rallye Coupe'... That car made me build one too...)


    Josephine
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  32. #32
    President Member christophe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noxnabaker View Post
    Ah, are you as big as Erik? He was a bit "top-heavy" & that + a 2-stroke that's a bit lighter SAAB caused the rollovers, but they're built like eggs so they can take rollovers better than any other car I know.
    (Thinking about swedes & rallye + French races I always think about Bjørn Waldegård 1972 at Chamonix in a DS Rallye Coupe'... That car made me build one too...)
    No, I'm not that tall. Maybe that fat, however... Your comment was very funny. I have never considered before that his imposant stature could have played a role in his stunts, but this makes sense. I would adopt a slightly different style and hold a beer in my hand, though.

    Your comment about Chamonix made me think about this picture.

    Nice day to all.
    Last edited by christophe; 08-23-2019 at 08:36 AM.

  33. #33
    Silver Hawk Member
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    Great pictures! Thanks.

  34. #34
    President Member christophe's Avatar
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    You're welcome, Skip.

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    Golden Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    ...STUDEDUDE!!!! I owe you an apology! Due to my dysfunction of having difficulty with abbreviations...I had not read your KF thread. I just was not aware of, nor interested in a KENTUCKY FRIED museum???

    This morning, curiosity got the best of me and I clicked on it. DUH...Kaiser-Frazer

    Glad I did, and it is an entertaining read. You have rekindled my awareness of an almost forgotten brand. Great pictures and discussion. I especially appreciate the participation of our international members (France & Sweden) who contribute and expand our automotive awareness to areas we have very little exposure.
    John Clary
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  36. #36
    President Member christophe's Avatar
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    I'm glad you liked our little divagations, John. Of course, I did not want to hijack this nice thread, but, one thing leading to another...
    Nice weekend to all.

  37. #37
    President Member Studedude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jclary View Post
    ...STUDEDUDE!!!! I owe you an apology! Due to my dysfunction of having difficulty with abbreviations...I had not read your KF thread. I just was not aware of, nor interested in a KENTUCKY FRIED museum???

    This morning, curiosity got the best of me and I clicked on it. DUH...Kaiser-Frazer

    Glad I did, and it is an entertaining read. You have rekindled my awareness of an almost forgotten brand. Great pictures and discussion.
    Thanks for the kind words, John... it never occurred to me that the abbreviation in the title would cause confusion.

    I edited the title to be more specific!

    Dave Lester

  38. #38
    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jclary View Post
    ...STUDEDUDE!!!! I owe you an apology! Due to my dysfunction of having difficulty with abbreviations...I had not read your KF thread. I just was not aware of, nor interested in a KENTUCKY FRIED museum???

    This morning, curiosity got the best of me and I clicked on it. DUH...Kaiser-Frazer
    Actually, John, the Colonel Sanders' Kentucky Fried Chicken Museum in Corbin KY, while small, is interesting. BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
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  39. #39
    Golden Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    HMnn...for some odd reason, I feel the need to visit a certain drive-in window for lunch???
    John Clary
    Greer, SC
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    SDC member since 1975

  40. #40
    President Member Noxnabaker's Avatar
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    Yes Christophe, they started in couples as I remember, 12 couples & he was in the next last, dropped a front tire (was it 3:rd curve or 3:rd round? ...as showed in your picture) & came in on 3:rd place! (He was mostly driving Porsche 911's.)
    Am I remembering properly?
    Mine lives in Paris now, I still have contact with the owner who worked for many years in a DS/ID garage & has a DS collection, even Chapron.

    Oh, all this highjacking, totally off topic too!
    Shame on us, getting carried away...
    Sorry.


    Josephine
    -55
    Champion V8
    4d sedan

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