Henry J. Kaiser 1951






scale 1:18

Model number: 5091


Review of the model:

If you like I had missed the little car Henry J. Kaiser from the early fifties. Its no wonder why, because it was not one of the most highly produced in numbers. However the producer from Sun Star had gifted us, with a model in scale 1:18. The Henry J. from 1951 was Americas answer to the famous European VW beetle. This car is so cute in its appearance and at first sight, it looked like a small car, but small is this car not in any ways. It is a lot roomier than its European cousins at the same period. So when you open the Platinum box here, you will be surprised over the car. Surprised on more levels, I guarantee!

Firstly, the model is now on sale from dealers, here in Europe. For a price as low as: 19.95 Euros. (This is a fifth of the launching price). When you hold the model in your hands, try to look at the underside! Yes many models are not worth a look down here. But this model is a gem. Sun Star has made breaking cables in real metal. This model car can be displayed on a mirror floor and be proud of the levels of details. If we open the hood to see the little strait six motor, even here we will not be disappointed. The Engine room is so detailed, your nearly catch yourself in lifting the stick for checking the oil level!  - Yes Im very glad for the effort the makers had laid in their job here. Lets go round to the back of the car, more precisely the trunk. Oh there is no trunk lid on the model! Just relax no flaw here! The real car did not have a trunk. If you had to change the wheel, you had to crawl over the back seat to get the jack and spare tire. But look Sun Star model is true to the details here, as the wheel and jack can been seen through the rear window. Well done job Sun Star.

The inside of the model is also well made. The seats look and feels like real vinyl. I Love the small knobs and handle. A special nice feature is the off-white steering wheel. And look under the instrument panel is a nice heating apparatus.

Paint, chrome, wheels suspensions, is all at its best. The casting, windows and lights on this little model car, are perfect. This model from Sun Star is one of the best and even to full price, every spend dollars or Euros is well spend here. I will highly recommend this fine model to anyone

I will give this model 6 out of 6 stars  ******

Below here are pictures of the model, historical description, old brochures, technical data and a little movie clip for the real car. So please enjoy!





Advertising is sometimes over the top - also in 1950!



A small car can have a mighty ornament on the hood

  Not all cars can have this color - A nice lemon  
Note how well the casting and paint work is a hallmark from Sun Star
No trunk here - we have to made the car low cost said Mr. Henry J. Kaiser
A little car with fins
No distortions in the window glass here
No side mirrors on this low cost car
This model is well made
No real carpet inside but the interior is very detailed
I love the steering wheel
Look at the cables to the battery - very realistic
Can I check the oil level?
   I think Donald Duck and his family would fell for this car too
Note the little lamp below the license plate
Wheels and hub caps are very realistic
The interior here is even in better quality than the real car
Cool and cosy
A sneak peek to the spare tire and jack




High design for low-budget buyers

by Jim O'Clair and others

Henry J. Kaiser wanted to launch a second transportation revolution by bringing an affordable automobile to the masses, akin to what Henry Ford had accomplished with the Model T. At its 1951 launch, the Henry J was described as the most important new car in America, and initially, the new compact sold well. Success was fleeting for the Henry J, though, as postwar prosperity saw car buyers turning to larger and more luxurious offerings, and the Henry J soon became the darling of hot rodders and drag racers.

 Just about anyone who is into collector cars can identify a Henry J from a mile and a half away.

The 100-inch wheelbase is a dead giveaway; the sweptback roofline, rounded tailfins and the odd-shaped rear window glass were some of Kaiser's design signatures. About the easiest way to determine the year of a Henry J is by the grille. This grille was exclusive to 1951 and features the front turn signals mounted on the ends of the inverted T-shaped grille bar.

The grille featured a horizontal bar with a center "ornament" mounted vertically above the center of the bar. The ornament could easily be mistaken for a bumper guard. The horizontal bar has been used in aftermarket custom designed street rods, including Chuck De Witt's 1950 Ford convertible customized by the legendary George Barris. The grille was completely surrounded with a chrome-molding running along the leading edge of the hood, including the distinctive archway notched out of the front of the hood to clear the vertical grille ornament.

This molding design looks curiously similar to that of the 1949 and 1950 "shoebox" Ford upper grille sections, but the design cues came directly from the hood design of the '51 Frazer. The Henry J became very popular with hot rodders and drag-racing enthusiasts because of its low curb weight and short wheelbase, and you often see Henry Js at the drag strip with only the upper chrome trim along the hood and lacking this unique grille. By 1952, the Henry J grille looked very different with the vertical ornament removed and an emblem added into the archway on the hood; the horizontal bar was extended out onto the front fenders. The '52 turn signals were slimmed down to become a part of the horizontal bar.

The original body design was based on a prototype made by All Metal Products of Detroit. Kaiser's master designer, Howard Darrin, added a few of his own personal touches to the final product. A little less than 82,000 were sold for the 1951 model year, which began in September of 1950. The New York Fashion Academy named the Henry J "Fashion Car of the Year" in February of 1951. Road and Track magazine hailed it as "the workingman's car." Because of the shorter wheelbase and tiny, 134-cubic-inch four-cylinder or 161-cubic-inch six-cylinder engine choices (both built by Willys-Overland), The Henry J could boast a fuel economy of over 25 miles per gallon. Motor Trend writer "Uncle Tom" McCahill once reviewed the Henry J this way: "At a quick glance, the car resembles a Cadillac that started smoking too young." Some of this statement can be attributed to the small fins on the rear fender, which resembled the Cadillac fins of the times.

Although the Henry J enjoyed much success when it was initially offered in 1951, sales soon dropped dramatically, and it was discontinued in 1954. Only about 123,000 were ever sold, with better than two thirds of those sales coming in the first year. In the end, only 1,125 were built for the 1954 model year.


Technical specification:

1951 Henry J



Kaiser-Frazer Corporation


1950 1954


Willow Run, Michigan

Body and chassis

Body style

2-door sedan


FR layout



134.2 cu in (2.2 L) I4
161 cu in (2.6 L) I6



100 in (2,500 mm)


174.5 in (4,432 mm) (1950) to 178 in (4,521 mm) (1953-1954)



Curb weight

2,341 lb (1,062 kg)



Old brochures of the Henry J. Kaiser 1951









Who was the man behind the car?

If you like me need to know more! 

Henry J. KaiserHenry J. Kaiser was once described as "America`s boldest, most spectacular entrepreneur." He applied his business acumen to a vast array of industrial undertakings, ranging from dams to dishwashers, but Kaiser is probably best known for his mass-produced Liberty ships during World War II and the founding of Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, the forerunner of modern HMOs.

His name appears on an elite list of the "Most Influential Businessmen of All Time" and he has been referred to as the "Western Colossus."


Kaiser was born May 9, 1882, in Sprout Brook, New York, and left school at the age of 13 to go to work. His first construction company was formed in Oakland, California, in 1913, in which he entered the road-paving phase of his career.

By 1931, he was named as chairman of the executive committee overseeing the construction of Hoover Dam. Other dams he was involved with were the Grand Coulee, Bonneville, and Shasta. Kaiser was also involved with the construction of the Bay Bridge linking San Francisco and Oakland.

In the late 1930s, Kaiser established the first organized health care program for the employees of his construction, shipbuilding, and steel mill enterprises, and it was well thought of by his employees.

His legacy, the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, rose from the humble beginnings of a 12-bed desert field hospital to reach more than eight million subscribers as America`s largest not-for-profit health care organization.

As its founder, Kaiser worked with partnerships of physicians, built hospitals and clinics, established a nursing school, and contributed to medical education.

Kaiser-class oilerDuring World War II, Kaiser became known as "the father of modern shipbuilding." His Liberty design was used for ships built by the United States Maritime Commission. They used his shipyards in Richmond, California, to manufacture more than 1,500 cargo ships built to a standardized, mass-produced, modular design. To this day, his ideas are still widely used by nearly all shipyards.

Literature of the day, magazines, comic books, cartoons, and movie posters portrayed Kaiser as "Hurry Up Henry," a "can-do" industrialist.

In 1945, he established Kaiser Industries, of which he was chairman until his death in 1967. That umbrella company held majority interests in numerous other industires, including Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation, Kaiser-Fleetwings, which produced dishwashers and other items; magnesium, real estate, and tourism.

Kaiser made significant contributions to the automobile industry as well, by forming a partnership with Joseph Frazer to produce about 750,000 cars. Two of his vehicles, a 1953 Henry J. Corsair Sedan and a 1954 Kaiser Darrin sports car, were part of an exhibition presented by the Oakland Museum in 2004. The Kaiser Darrin, one of only 435 produced, was the first automobile to have a fiberglass body.

Later years

Kaiser spent many of his later years in Hawaii, establishing the Honolulu suburb of Hawaii Kai, changing the urban landscape throughout the area by developing civic centers, roads, and schools. He also developed the Kaiser Hawaiian Village Hotel, now one of the most famous Hilton resorts in the world.

Kaiser also developed the Los Angeles suburb of Panorama City.


Video of the real car from Youtube

  Kaiser Aluminum, Kaiser-Frazer, Willys and Henry J Commercials  
  Kaiser-Frazer Documentary - The Men and The Car  


If you have any question or comment your are free to contact me at: aeronautic@stofanet.dk



Dealers are welcome to get their models reviewed too.






Aeronautic Sep. 2017


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