Allstate (automobile)

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1952 Allstate
ManufacturerKaiser-Frazer Corporation
Production1952 – 1954
AssemblyWillow Run, Michigan
Toledo, Ohio, United States
Body and chassis
Body style2-door sedan
LayoutFR layout
Engine134.2 cu in (2.2 L) I4
161 cu in (2.6 L) I6
Wheelbase100 in (2,540 mm)
Length178 in (4,521 mm)
Width70 in (1,778 mm)

The Allstate is an American automobile that was offered for sale through Sears, Roebuck and Co. during the 1952 and 1953 model years. It was a rebadged version of the Henry J, an automobile manufactured by the Kaiser-Frazer company from 1950 through 1954.


The Sears retail chain had previously marketed vehicles made by the Lincoln Motor Car Works under the name "Sears Motor Buggy" between 1908 and 1912.[1]

These horseless carriages were of the "high-wheeler" variety with large wagon-type wheels. Their high ground clearance was well-suited to muddy, wagon-rutted country roads. Customers were accustomed to mail ordering through the Sears catalog, and the Sears Motor Buggy could be delivered to the nearest railroad siding. A wood crate would arrive and the customer had to install the wheels and add oil to the engine, but Sears deemed the product not to be profitable at $370 and was dropped from the catalog after 3,500 orders.[1]


Allstate logo incorporating an outline of the United States on the hood

The Allstate was the brainchild of Henry J. Kaiser, who saw distribution by Sears as another means to mass-market his slow-selling "Henry J" two-door sedan, introduced in 1950. The independent automakers at the time, such as Kaiser-Frazer, could compete with the large dealer networks marketing the cars made by the "Big Four" auto companies at the time.[2] The catalog and retail chain was also interested in working out a deal.

Starting in 1945, Sears executive, Theodore Houser, discussed the idea with Kaiser-Frazer.[3] Allstate automobiles were planned to be built on the senior Kaiser platforms. The concept came together after the affordable Henry J model was developed by Kaiser-Frazer.[3]

Thus, after three years of negotiations between Kaiser-Frazer and Sears, the production of Allstate was announced on November 20, 1951, by Sears merchandising vice president, Theodore V. Houser, and Kaiser-Frazer administrative vice president, Eugene Trefethen. The three-year delay was also due in part to tension from existing Kaiser-Frazer dealerships fearing competition with Sears.

Jet plane hood ornament and center of grille

The Allstate was essentially a Henry J, but with several differences that included Allstate badges on the hood and rear deck, a more upscale interior of Saran plaid or occasionally leather or smooth vinyl, special hubcaps/wheel covers, horn buttons and instrument bezels, a locking trunk lid, special engine color (blue), custom armrests and sun visors, revised door locks and keys, and special parking and taillamp assemblies.[4] The cars came finished in Sears-blue paint.[3] Most notably, the Allstate featured a unique two-bar grille and jet-plane hood ornament designed by Alex Tremulis, who had come to Kaiser-Frazer from the Tucker Corporation.[3] Tremulis described it as a "rush job" including the Allstate logo with an outline map of the United States.[3]


The Allstate was built by Kaiser-Frazer in Willow Run, Michigan, (and after 1953 by Kaiser-Willys in Toledo, Ohio) and was based on Kaiser's compact Henry J. One body style was offered, a fastback two-door sedan in two lines, the Series 4 and the Series 6.

For 1952, the Series 4 came in the Model 111 Standard (the best seller at US1,486) and Model 113 DeLuxe ($1,539) trim versions, and was also available in an austere Model 110 Basic version for $1,395. The Series 6 Basic was priced at $1,594 and the well-trimmed, swift Model 115 DeLuxe was offered at $1,693. (The Standard was never offered in the Series 6.) The cars had a 100 in (2,500 mm) wheelbase.[5] The marketing slogan was "Your one brand new car for '52! Allstate!"[4]

No appearance changes were made for 1953 but Allstate cars weighed as much as 145 lb (66 kg) more than their 1952 counterparts.

All the Allstate Basic models were dropped and Allstate prices jumped substantially; the entry-level Series 4 Standard Model 210 sold for $1,528 and the DeLuxe Model 213 for $1,589. The Series 6 was now only offered in the upscale DeLuxe Model 215 version at $1,785 and was the most popular Allstate that year.

The standard Allstate interior material was made from tightly twisted strands of paper that were woven together and then coated in plastic, which proved to be unusually durable as well as attractive and eliminated the need for seat covers. Seat covers were popular in the 1950s, and many were made of this material.

1953 Allstate with opening trunk lid at the Rambler Ranch collection

Unlike early Henry Js, which were built without trunk lids to reduce costs, the Allstates featured a regular opening trunk lid.

Series 4 cars used an 134.2 cu in (2.2 L) L-head I4 engine producing 68 hp (51 kW), and the Series 6 was powered by a 161 cu in (2.6 L) L-head I6 rated at 80 hp (60 kW), both built by Willys. A three-speed manual transmission was standard, with overdrive available for $104 extra.

One mechanical difference between Allstate and Henry J was that Allstates were equipped with Allstate-brand tires, tubes, spark plugs, and batteries, all with their own Sears "Triple Guarantee" warranties.

Initially, the Allstate was offered only in the south and southwest United States, with plans to expand distribution as demand for the product grew. Sears locations selling Allstates included Baytown, Texas; Beaumont, Texas; Birmingham, Alabama; Dallas, Texas; Fayetteville, North Carolina; Houston, Texas; Jackson, Mississippi; Knoxville, Tennessee; Little Rock, Arkansas; Lubbock, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; Norfolk, Virginia; Orlando, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Portsmouth, Virginia; Richmond, Virginia; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Waco, Texas.

While some Sears outlets tried to stock at least one sample of the car, most were built on demand by Kaiser-Frazer, which made delivery to the store where they were sold. Kaiser-Frazer urged its dealers to service Allstate cars when asked. Many Kaiser-Frazer dealers were displeased to see "their cars" sold by another outlet, especially since the Allstate carried more standard equipment, yet sold at a lower price than the Henry J.

Sears marketed the car as "the lowest-priced full-sized sedan on the U.S. market." However, Sears did not accept trade-ins from Allstate buyers, and there may have been a reluctance to buy a car through a department store where service was thought to be questionable.[2] The lack of a trade-in program also proved to be a serious impediment to the sale of Graham-Bradley tractors from Graham-Paige Motors by Sears in the late 1930s.


A total of 2,363 Allstates were sold during two model years before the marque was discontinued; 1,566 during 1952 and 797 in 1953. Kaiser discontinued the Henry J the following year.

The Alstate has become a car desired by collectors as reflected in the few remaining examples in original condition and by their current market values.[6][7][8][9] As of 2022, a restored 1953 Allstate was on display in the corporate building of Allstate in Northbrook, IL.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wilson, Kevin A.; Blackwell, Rusty (15 October 2018). "Sears Tried Twice to Sell Cars and Failed Miserably". Car and Driver. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  2. ^ a b Tate, Nigel R. (30 March 2022). "Car Show Classic - 1952-54 Sears Allstate: The American Dream, As Sold Through A Sears Store". Curbside Classic. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  3. ^ a b c d e Motavalli, Jim (17 October 2018). "Remembering When Sears, Roebuck Sold Cars". Car Talk. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  4. ^ a b Flory, Jr., J. "Kelly" (2008). American Cars, 1946-1959 Every Model Every Year. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-3229-5.
  5. ^ "1952 Allstate A-230 performance data, specs & photo". Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  6. ^ Kenny, Chicago (10 February 2016). "The Allstate Automobile – Sold by Sears!". Chicago Kenny's Tours and Road Trips. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  7. ^ Lavery, Jeff (20 February 2017). "Sold in Stores: 1952 Allstate Henry J". Barn Finds. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  8. ^ Zyla, Greg (31 December 2022). "Car company history, 1950s styling and the Sears Allstate". The Daily Review. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  9. ^ Finn, Tim (14 November 2017). "CC for Sale: 1953 Allstate Series Coupe - Worth More Than When New?". Curbside Classic. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  10. ^ Zyla, Greg (31 December 2022). "Car company history, 1950s styling and the Sears Allstate". The Daily Review. Retrieved 25 January 2024.

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