Vintage Automobile Club of Ocean County Historical & Classic Cars

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1951 HENRY J

The brainchild of Henry J. Kaiser, The Henry J was developed using funding from a government loan under the Reconstruction Finance Corp. Part of the loan agreement was that a car would be developed having a base price of no more than $1300 including Federal tax and delivery thus being affordable for the average American. To accomplish this, the Henry J was designed with the fewest possible number of parts. To save costs, early Henry Js did not have a trunk lid; owners had to access the trunk by folding down the rear seat. The basic car came only as a two-door sedan with fixed rear windows and no glove box, armrests, passenger side sunvisor or flow through ventilation. The 134 cu. in. L head 4-cylinder engine rated at 68 HP was supplied by Willys-Overland and was the essentialy the same as that used in the CJ-3 Jeeps. A 161 cu. in. 6-cylinder 80 HP engine was available in the more upscale and better trimmed Deluxe model (shown above). Although initially popular, the spartan design of the car could not compete with the larger and better appointed Fords or Chevrolets that only cost about $200 more. Production of Henry Js lasted until 1954 with just over 127,000 manufactured. Wheelbase: 100 in. Length: 174.5 in. Weight: 2300 lbs Base Price: $1219 In 1952, Kaiser began selling rebadged Henry Js through Sears-Roebuck & Co., under the Allstate nameplate. Allstates were nearly identical to Henry Js but carried a unique grille, hood ornament, hubcaps, identification badges and interior trim, as well as Allstate brand tires and batteries. After two years of disappointing sales (only some 2300 were built), Sears dropped the car.