1954 Kaiser Darrin109,995 USD - Estimate

1954 Kaiser Darrin Sports Roadster

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This 1954 Kaiser Darrin Sports Roadster is a gorgeous American sports car and is ready for some serious summer cruising. In order to win World War II, the United States ceased all automobile production to assist in the War effort. After emerging victorious from WWII, the US automotive industry was once again permitted to produce cars but the early post-war American-made cars were essentially the same pre-war designs, spruced up with new trim and other superficial gimmicks to appear "new" the American public. Since Kaiser was founded after the War, it was immediately able to offer its vehicles with brand-new designs, selling approximately 70,000 new units in its debut year. But by 1949, the Big Three Detroit automakers, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, had caught up to Kaiser's head start and the Big Three were able to sell their new-look cars at far bigger discounts than Kaiser-Frazer could have possibly offered. Unable to compete with the Big Three Henry J. Kaiser's (a famed American shipbuilder and industrialist) and Joseph W. Frazer's (a notable American automotive industry executive) joint venture was in such a dire financial situation that it was ultimately bailed out by the federal government. In an attempt to reinvent itself, and using the federal bailout funds it had received, Kaiser debuted the Henry J which was an affordable car for the "every man." Another way Kaiser sought to turn around the company was by re-hiring famed automobile designer, Howard "Dutch" Darrin, who had spent time and gained notoriety designing bodies at Cadillac and later at Packard, and who initially worked in the early years at Kaiser-Frazer as a Design Consultant. However, Darrin's first stint at Kaiser-Frazer was not as harmonious as was hoped, and Henry Kaiser actually fired Darrin (only later to re-hire him in 1951). Darrin's first order of business in his second stint at Kaiser was creating a 2-door roadster prototype, a body style that just on the horizon at some of Kaiser's competitors, such as at Chevrolet with the Corvette and at Ford with the Thunderbird. The resulting car featured a fiberglass body and built on the Henry J chassis. Due to the novel design and methods used on Darrin's fiberglass roadster, the car was ultimately displayed all over the country and the car was placed into production in the 1954 model year. Built on the 100 inch Henry J chassis, the all fiberglass body was gorgeous with beautiful body lines and perhaps most famously, was outfitted with sliding doors that tucked into the front fenders of the car. Even though the Kaiser Darrin was an incredibly beautiful design with unique design elements, it was a total flop for the struggling Kaiser-Willys (as it was now known) and total sales reaching a mere 435 units. Due in part to the commercial failure of the Kaiser Darrin, Kaiser-Willys stopped its US operations in 1955 with over $100 million in losses and meager sales figures, especially compared to the company's early years. Due to its incredible design and very low production the 1954 Kaiser Darrin remains one of the most collectible American made automobiles of all time with only a handful examples trading hands in recent years. This particular example comes to us from a southern-based collector who took great care of this iconic automobile. Under the hood on this '54 Kaiser Darrin is a 161.1 Cubic Inch "Hurricane" F-Head Inline 6 cylinder engine paired with a single barrel carburetor that together were said to have created 90 horsepower when new. The 161 Hurricane 6 is backed by a 3 speed manual transmission with overdrive which makes this American sports car a blast to drive. Exhaust exits the Kaiser F-Head engine via a single exhaust setup that generates a nice throaty sound out the rear tailpipe. Riding on a set of wide whitewall tires on steel wheels tucked behind Wire wheelcovers with Kaiser emblems, this '54 Kaiser Darrin has a great look when parked or while cruising down the road. The black vinyl 3-position convertible top is accented with chrome landau bars, and it is manually operated and appears to be in fantastic shape. The chrome and brightwork around the exterior of this Kaiser Sport Roadster looks great as well and looks to be complete. The fiberglass body has been correctly refinished in beautiful Red Sail paint completing the stand-out look of this Darrin. The interior of this 1954 Kaiser Darrin Sports Roadster is absolutely gorgeous! The bucket seats have been correctly reupholstered in Black vinyl. The iconic sliding doors work great and are backed by matching black vinyl door panels and topped with plexiglass wind deflectors. The black vinyl padded dash, black carpeting, and steering wheel are in wonderful condition and all appear to remain in their stock configuration. The instrument cluster is outfitted with a 120 MPH speedometer, 6,000 RPM tachometer, temperature gauge, battery gauge, oil pressure gauge, and gasoline gauge. Whether you're adding to an existing collection of American classic cars or you're buying your very first classic car, this 1954 Kaiser Darrin Sports Roadster would make an excellent choice. Give Ellingson's a call today at 763-428-7337!
Exterior Color: Red Sail
Interior Color: Black
Doors: 2
Engine: 161.1 Cu. In. F-Head "Hurricane" Inline 6
Fuel Type: Gasoline
Transmission: 3 Speed Manual
Drivetrain: RWD

Reference Number 759561

as of 2/26/2024

Dealer
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Stock Number 8815

Ellingson Motorcars  Contact  Location
20950 Rogers Drive  Phone  (763) 428-7337  City  Rogers
Rogers, MN 55374  Fax    State  Minnesota
United States  Mobile    Country  United States United States
Overview
Car 1954 Kaiser Darrin
VIN 161001281 
Mileage 2,036 miles 
Transmission Manual Shift 
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Known History

Mention stock number "8815" when inquiring!