Rare 1947 Frazer will roll into Pelican ‘Cruisers’ classic car show July 7

The metallic blue is “not exactly factory” color–but close–according to Dan Brand, who has completed restoration of a 1947 Fraser. Most of the car is “origininal,” including the wheel cylinders–which Brand managed to find online–in the original box, from a seller in New Hampshire.
Getting ready for painting in the shop.
A glimpse of the interior, during the restoration of the 1947 Frazer–
which won a
design award from the Fashion Academy of New York in 1946.
Not long after his wife died, Barnesville area farmer Otto Brand hopped a flight to Michigan to buy his 1947 Frazer–direct from the factory–and he drove it home.
This picture and text is in one of the Brand family scrapbooks.
A rear view of the 1947 Frazer.

The old and rare automobile was parked in the shelterbelt, and later in a storage shed, for many decades. 

But on July 7, the 1947 Frazer will be back on the road–to the Lake Country Cruisers vintage and classic car show in Pelican Rapids. 

“I’m fulfilling a promise,” said Dan Brand, who has renovated the car his grandfather gave him back in 1972. 

Essentially a “one owner” car, Brand’s grandfather Otto flew to Michigan, picked out the car at the factory, and drove it home to his Barnesville area farm. 

“It was sitting as long as I can remember out in the back of the house,” recalled Brand.  His grandfather said “get a log chain, drag it out of here, and it’s yours–under one condition: Some day you get that car fixed up.” 

Semi-retirement gave Dan–with assistance from his wife Brenda– the extra time to tackle the job. Brand, Sand Lake, is a familiar face in the small engine shop at Lakeland General Store, Dunvilla, during the busy season.  During the winter, he focused on the Frazer. 

“It is very rare to find one in this condition…I haven’t seen any around here,” said Brand, noting that it might be one of the first Frazers to ever display at the Pelican car show. 

The Frazer (1946–1951) was the flagship line of upper-medium priced American luxury automobiles built by the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation of Willow Run Ypsilanti, Michigan, and was, with Crosley, the first American car with new envelope body and fresh postwar styling. The car was named for longtime American automobile executive Joseph W. Frazer who became president and general manager of Kaiser-Frazer. 

Production began on May 29, 1946 and the Frazer made its public debut June 29, 1946. There was one basic four-door sedan body shell that was shared with the similar but lower-priced (by $200 to $600) Kaiser. 

The Frazer line had a relatively small fraction of the automobile market share.  By 1948, Frazer sales totalled about 1.5 percent of all American cars built. 

Executives at Fraser wereconvinced that powerful existing manufacturers coilluided to shut off supplies of materials and parts necessary to the success of the new company.  Production ceased in 1951.

Considered something of a “luxury” car at the time, it was priced just under the Cadillac, noted Brand, a Barnesville area native.  

The Kaiser-Frazer line had some special innovations: 

• The transmission is a manual three-speed, but automatically kicks into overdrive.  

• The radio had settings that could be selected–then switched to the various stations with a foot pedal.  That was one of the challenges Brand faced in the restoration.  He finally found a Frazer radio online–for 70 bucks; and it worked. 

• Some Frazer models also  had push-button door lock openers. 

Brand’s restoration is “pretty close to originl,” including the radiator>. “I brought it to a radiator shop, and couldn’t believe that he got it fixed,” said Brand. 

The back seat upholstery, which had been covered for most of the storage years, is original.  The Brands improvised on some of the other upholstery, and hit a snag when the first glue didn’t hold up to the summer heat.

 The car is road-worthy, but not a vehicle he is likely to take on road trips. “I wouldn’t be scared to drive it to Fargo, just reluctant…I just don’t want something to happen to it,” he said. 

“For me, it was the satisfaction of getting it up and running,” said Brand.