The Manhattan was a car made by Kaiser between 1951 and 1955. Not many were sold in the final years due to the car not being sold with a V8 engine which put a lot of potential buyers off.
The trend-setting 1951 Kaiser got a newly named top-line series the following year which was the Kaiser Manhattan. A pleasant facelift included a heavier bumper/grille combination, smooth teardrop taillights, and little chrome rear fender fins helped to set the styling alight. The Manhattan was one of many Kaiser cars which featured exceptional styling.
Colour was a strong feature for 1952, and reemphasized for 1953 with attractive upholstery combinations of boucle cloth and straw-pattern vinyl. These were among the nicest Kaisers to drive due to them being very roomy and being reasonably fuel economical giving a low running cost.
A relatively large number of Manhattans were produced with 26,552 being made in 1952 and 17,957 being made in 1953.
The Kaiser Manhattan was facelifted for the 1954-1955 model years by K-F stylist Herb Weissinger. It was seen as an improvement on Dutch Darrin's 1951 design. All-new sheetmetal forward of the cowl featured a concave oval grille reminiscent of the Buick XP-300 concept car (which Henry Kaiser liked). The Manhattan also had curvy front fenders with headlights and parking lights set in chrome-encircled teardrops, again borrowed from Buick. At the rear were large "Safety-Glo" taillights with illuminated lenses running atop the fenders, and a wraparound rear window .
The 1955 Manhattan was the last of the line of Kaiser cars but featured advanced styling and interior design. It was also quite nimble for a standard sized car with a six-cylinder engine.
The redesigned dash was given large, aircraft-like toggle lever controls. Exclusive to these top-line Kaisers was a McCulloch supercharged version of the staid old L-head six, boasting 22 more horsepower. The blower freewheeled economically when not in use.
None of this was enough to save Kaiser, however, and production ceased before the end of the model year. The design was salvaged, though, and built in Argentina as the Kaiser Carabela through the early 1960s, a tribute to an excellent design.
A total of 4,110 Manhattans were built in 1954 and another were 1,291built in 1955.