Monday, June 10, 2013

College Cars: 1954 Kaiser Darrin

This is College Cars, another look into the automobile collection of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Today we're looking at a 1954 Kaiser Darrin roadster.

I have long had a soft spot for the Kaiser Darrin, a fiberglass roadster that was built in small numbers for only one year and primarily because Henry Kaiser's wife liked the concept. Its claim to fame is the way its doors slide into the front fenders rather than hinge outward. The convertible roof is adjustable to have only its front section slide back like a targa top to let the sun in, or be lowered completely. It's no performance car, a Henry J chassis offering only 90 horsepower from a Willys-built six. But you have to admit it's interesting to look at. Cool fact: the last 100 or so Darrins got Cadillac V8s good for 300-plus horses. Now there's your sports car. Shame it was too little, too late.
Near as I can find, this car was purchased at the RM Auctions 2011 Amelia Island event, for $170,500. If this is in fact that vehicle, it was the 20th car built in a series of 435.

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