1953 Kustom Kaiser Manhattan- Builder Update

Somehow, I found another Kustom Kaiser!

When I found Keith’s Kaiser (Click here to see his Garage) I instantly thought, this is one of a kind! Well, it turns out it’s not. Keith and Ron (Click here to see Ron’s Hot Rod’s Garage) have taken different approaches to customizing their Kaisers, but both will be equally cool because of the clean and near-custom finishes on the stock Kaiser.

Ron’s writing a blog for Blogger.com (Click here) that I stumbled on recently. He’s let me run this blog to see what he’s up to for the interior. I’m checking it out just in case I get to work on my Rambler Amercian wagon project again some day! Check it out:
The priming of the miscellaneous parts for the Kaiser went well as the weather was nice and I was able to paint outside. I used PPG self etching epoxy primer DPLF
and prepared the bare metal with “metal Prep” a 50/50 mixture with water then wiped the area down with a 50/50 mixture of PPG Dx330 wax and grease remover and lacquer thinner cleaning a 2′ x2′ area at a time as recommended, so as not to let the metal prep dry. I had 2 quarts of paint that make 1 gal. using the epoxy part 2 additive, and ran out of paint before I could get to the inside of the body, that turned out to be a good thing because I had to complete the center console, weld in studs to fasten the A/C system, electrical panels, emergency brake and hood latch.



The 66 T-Bird console is 9″ too short for the Kaiser interior so an extension piece was hand formed and welded to the back of the console to extend it to the back seat. Filler plates were cut, fit and welded into place in the top front of the console where the T-Bird seat, window, A/C controls & door locks used to be so I would have a clean new surface to mount the new shifter and controls. The bottom front of the console had to be reformed and new pieces welded in to make it wider to fit the transmission tunnel as it was moved forward from stock T-Bird position to fit in under the Kaiser dash. The first attempt to make the riser from the console to the dash failed as I did not like the dash panel that I built to take the place of the radio, but I did like the lower panel with hand formed caps at the bottom where the T-Bird chrome trim pieces ended. So I cut the top panel off and reformed the riser to bolt onto the bottom of the radio cover plate. The lower trim pieces that ran the length of the console where the carpet meets the bottom of the console had to be reformed and made longer to match the new location.
We had originally planned a GPS/CD Player/Am-Fm radio unit to go into the riser panel but after researching the size and cost and giving consideration on how much we would use it we decided to go with a good stereo AM-FM radio system. Custom Auto sound built the radio and a 2 channel front speaker that fits the original Kaiser location and radio cover purchased thru their dealer Soundmove.com (800) 901-0222
The loqwer panel will now have the A/C vent outlets, A/C controls panel, Air Ride Control panel and window switchs in it with the new B & M Hammer shifter going in the flat part of the console.

Vintage Air provided a mockup A/C unit, at $50.00 that is refundable with the purchase of the permanent unit. I tried to fit the GEN II Super under the dash but there is not enough room so we will have to use the mini unit.
Studs were welded to the inside of the firewall for an electric panel mounting plate and new brackets were fabricated and installed for the relocated E-brake handle and hood latch. While I am waiting for the smaller A/C mock up unit and shifter to arriver I will install the new stainless steel brake and fuel plumbing lines on the from that was purchased from Summit Racing.