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December 18, 2022

25 Beautiful Photos of 1954 Kaiser Darrin

The Kaiser Darrin, also known as the Kaiser Darrin 161 or in short as the Darrin, was an American sports car designed by Howard “Dutch” Darrin and built by Kaiser Motors for the 1954 model year. Essentially a revamp of Kaiser's Henry J compact, the Kaiser Darrin was one of its designer’s final achievements and was noted for being the second (behind the 1953 Corvette) American car equipped with a fiberglass body and doors that slid on tracks into the front fender wells. The car was named both for Henry J. Kaiser, head of Kaiser Motors, and Darrin.

While the Darrin was designed attractively, it was also underpowered and, while a good performer overall, did not measure up to foreign vehicles such as the Nash-Healey or Triumph TR2. The Darrin’s high price tag, lack of consumer confidence in Kaiser’s viability and practical challenges with the car’s design resulted in low sales, though sports cars at the time were generally not fast sellers.

Only 435 production Darrins and six prototypes were built. Many of the cars’ engines were retrofitted with superchargers and multiple carburation to improve performance. Six were rumored to have been re-engined with Cadillac Eldorado V-8 units, however, none have survived subjecting the story to some skepticism. There was one V8 engined Darrin raced at Tory Pines in November 1954 and a wrecked Darrin rebuilt into a drag racer by Lee and Gary Abrahams of Tucson, Arizona in the early 1960s.

Here below is a set of beautiful photos of 1954 Kaiser Darrin.

(Photo © Driver Source)


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