Blip: America's Aluminum VW That Wasn't

Illustration for article titled Blip: America's Aluminum VW That Wasn't
Illustration: Kaiser Aluminum

In the late 50s, aluminum was beginning to get some real interest as an automotive building material, and companies like Kaiser Aluminum were eager and ready, rubbing their hands together while sitting on huge piles of aluminum.


They made a series of ads showing some concept aluminum car ideas, and while they’re all pretty striking, the description of this one caught my eye. Why? Because it has some distinctly VW Beetle-like descriptions: “pan-type frame, air-cooled engine...” it says.

Very Beetle! Plus look at that low hood line and those air intake-looking strakes below the rear window—I bet they were thinking this would have a rear engine.

Is this a proto-Corvair? Hm.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!:



I’d really like a deep-dive sometime into Henry Kaiser’s forays into auto building. (Maybe Ate up with Motor already went there.) It really seems like a coulda-shoulda’. But, as always, building cars is hard.

By the way, your “Khl** Kard***ian” sidebar teaser photo from Jezebel (“You may also like...”) is going to get me fired.