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Going Dutch: ’54 Kaiser-Darrin Roadster

Kaiser-Darrin

A few weeks back, we wrote about another limited production sports car – the Ghia 450SS. What we discovered then is that most of the production run of the Ghia 450SS was sold in Hollywood. Well, we’ve got another Hollywood car – the Kaiser-Darrin. Howard “Dutch” Darrin hailed from New Jersey but he found his way to Paris where he was a designer of custom-built automobiles. He was quite the bon vivant and an avid Polo player. According to legend, better Polo brought him to southern California.

Kaiser-Darrin

It was a good move for Dutch. The Hollywood moguls loved his designs and the local dealers even pressured Packard to build cars with the Darrin touch. Fast forward to a meeting with Henry J. Kaiser that eventually led to the limited production of this radical sports car. It was unique with a first ever fiberglass body, sliding doors and a landau roof. They were appreciated for their design and competent performance but the cost chased buyers away. Only 435 were built with the last 50 or so sold by Dutch out of his facility  These last 50 cars had some extra added accessories like a removal hardtop and some with superchargers. Kaiser-DarrinAnd that brings us to today’s offering. It might actually be one of those last “sold by Dutch” cars because it has a hard top. Just saying. This car has had a long term elderly owner and has been off the road for some time. The odometer says 29,000 miles and could be accurate. Because the body is fiberglass there shouldn’t be a rust problem up top. The chassis was robust so this could be a straightforward restoration. The engine is a simple straight six and who knows, it might be able to be coaxed back to life. You should never undertake a restoration thinking that you will be making a bundle on your efforts. But if you love the unique somewhat flamboyant styling, this could be an interesting project. We think it could sell in this #4 condition for around $45,000 with #1 cars selling for $140,000.  On eBay with many more pictures.

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