Most people don’t remember the name Kaiser Motors, but it was one of the most forward-looking and influential carmakers of the 20th century. If you don’t believe that, consider that the company eventually merged with Overland of Toldeo, and came to be known by the probably much more familiar name of Kaiser Jeep in 1963.
So, yeah. They were (are?) a big deal.
Still, the Kaiser part of the company didn’t survive long after the Willys-Overland deal – largely because, you know, building Jeeps was way, way more profitable. If they had, though, things like flexible platforms underpinning various models and lightweight, recyclable aluminum body panels wouldn’t be big news today. Primarily because those things would have been big news more than fifty years ago.
You can check out some of the Kaisers that might have been in these early concept drawings, below, and let us know what you think the state of the automotive art would be today if Kaiser, not Jeep, had been the big money-maker … especially the Waimea, which seems to have pre-dated the seven-passenger minivan by some 30-odd years. Enjoy!