AUTOS: Out of the Crib

In Detroit an anniversary went unnoted: the Kaiser-Frazer Corp. was one year old. But no cake and candles were needed to tell established automakers last week that U.S. industry's noisiest postwar baby was about ready to climb out of the crib. Even those who still scoffed at K-F's extravagant promises now looked with respect toward Willow Run.

Partners Henry Kaiser and Joe Frazer had inflated public expectations with a lot of purple publicity. They had indefinitely shelved their "startlingly different" (i.e., front-wheel drive) car. They had fallen flat on one wild production goal after another. Against a March prediction of...