The 1954 Kaiser Special came in two versions. "Early" models were leftover 1953 Manhattans on the inside, with the new 1954 front clip and oversize 1954 "Safety-Glo" tail lights, but no wraparound rear window. "Late" Specials were true 1954s, with a revised, aircraft-inspired dash and wrapped backlight, but less luxurious interior fittings than the top-line Manhattans. The Special was not offered with the supercharger, so power output was the same as in 1953 -- an uninspiring 118 horsepower.

1954 Kaiser Special
1954 Kaiser Special sedan.  See more pictures of 1950s cars.


Both Specials are desirable today because so few were made. Of the two, the early ones are preferred for their more "classic" cabin appointments and the famous "bambu" vinyl, plus easier handling and steering. Both Specials were offered in two- and four-door sedan form; the two-door is much rarer (one for every six four-doors), and now command a small price premium.


Pluses of the 1954 Kaiser Special:
  • Less costly than the 1954 Manhattan
  • Early Special's interior and Early handling ease
  • Rarity
Minuses of the 1954 Kaiser Special:
  • Later Special's rather plain trim
  • No supercharger means lack of interest value (but a more reliable engine)
Production of the 1954 Kaiser Special:
Early: 3,500; late: 929


Specifications of the 1954 Kaiser Special:
Wheelbase, inches:
118.5
Length, inches: 215.6
Weight, pounds
: 3,235-3,305
Price, new
: $2,334-2,389 (U.S.)


Engines for the 1954 Kaiser Special:

Type Size
Horsepower
Years
sv I-6
226.2 cc
118 1954

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