The “Travelers” and “Vagabonds” were promoted to a very wide range of users, including, campers, hunters, fishermen, carpenters, florists, farmers, emergency ambulance companies, and undertakers. This meant it had to accommodate some heavy loads and required much heavier rear springs and shocks to handle the expected “cargo”. The rear body had to be also strengthened considerably to allow for the rear hatch-back arrangement. Several hundred changes were actually required to the “standard” sedan for the conversion.
49 Kaiser Vagabond Dash
The more deluxe “Vagabond” models were offered in very high-quality interior appointments including top- grain leather upholstery. They were very luxurious and had beautiful interiors much like the top-of-the-line convertibles. Again, Kaiser-Frazer was ahead of the times.
The 1951 Frazer Vagabond - America’s most luxurious Hatch-Back
Kaiser models of the “Travelers” and “Vagabonds” were initially offered in the 1949 and 1950 model years. The luxurious Frazer “Vagabonds” were offered only in the 1951 model year. Kaiser continued to offer the “Traveler” body style through the 1953 model year. There were no “Travelers” released in 1954 or 1955 (the last year of US production). When Kaiser production was transferred to Argentina, the “Traveler” was dropped, reportedly due to production costs. Many thought it would have been a successful model for the South American market, this author included.
“The Story” - The much promoted version as to how the “Traveler” idea was born gives Henry J. Kaiser himself the credit for this unique model. Late in 1948 Henry Kaiser called his son, Edgar, to his basement garage. Mr. Kaiser had drawn the outline of the “Hatch-Back” in the dust on a 1948 Kaiser sedan. Mr. Kaiser called it a “Utility Car”. Within just a few weeks, the Kaiser developers created a prototype and the model was quickly put into production.
The Kaiser and Frazer Travelers and Vagabonds have become much sought after “classics” by admirers and restorers alike. They are fairly easy to restore as most parts are interchangeable with the sedans except for the “hatch-back” doors and the rear window. Mechanical parts are also readily available. They remain one of the most unique cars of their time and are vivid evidence of just a part of the Kaiser-Frazer influence on the automotive industry. They are an historic vehicle and are recognized by the “Milestone Car Society” as one of the milestones in automotive history.
Copyright 1998-2006 William P. (“Kaiser Bill”) Brown HC 65 Box 49, Altonah, Utah 84002 Tel 435-454-3098