This 1954 Kaiser Darrin is absolutely gorgeous and was the beneficiary of an extensive frame-off restoration. While the newly created Kaiser-Frazer Corporation saw early success in the first few years following World War II, by the early 50s, Kaiser-Frazer was on its last legs. In its early years, Kaiser was able to offer new automobile designs, something that was highly desired by the American public and something that the Big Three was unable to do until the late 40s. In fact, Kaiser had sold 70,000 new units of its debut vehicle mostly due to the innovative new-look design. By 1949, Detroits Big Three had caught up and sold their newly designed cars at far bigger discounts than the struggling Kaiser-Frazer could possibly offer. Ultimately, the joint venture between Henry J. Kaiser (a famed American shipbuilder and industrialist) and Joseph W. Frazer (a notable American automotive industry executive) was in such desperate financial troubles, it was bailed out by the federal government. Using funds from the federal bailout, Kaiser released its Henry J which was an affordable car for the every man. An early hire at the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation was famed automobile designer, Howard Dutch Darrin, whod spent his pre-war years designing bodies for General Motors Cadillac marque under Harley Earl and later Packard. With the outbreak of World War II, Darrin was out of a job but was later commissioned by Frazer to design an automobile and he was later hired as a design consultant for Kaiser-Frazer. Kaiser largely scoffed at Darrins innovative designs and he was actually fired. However, in hopes to turn around the companys fortunes, Darrin was later re-hired in 1951 to reinvigorate the struggling American automaker. Disliking the boxy design of the Henry J, Dutch Darrin created a prototype of a 2 door roadster body on the Henry J chassis, all made out of fiberglass which was a quite a novel idea back in the early 50s. The resulting vehicle would be shown across the country in the years that followed with the full production version being offered for sale in 1954, as the Kaiser Darrin. The idea of a 2 seater roadster was in the works for many American automakers, such as Chevrolet (Corvette), Ford (Thunderbird), and of course Kaiser, all of which seemed to emulate the European imports that were beginning to take hold at the time. The production Kaiser Darrin was built on the 100 inch Henry J chassis and featured a gorgeous all fiberglass body with beautiful body lines and perhaps most notably, sliding doors that tucked into the front fenders of the car. Despite its dazzling design and unique features, the 1954 Kaiser Darrin was a sales flop for the struggling Kaiser-Willys (as it was now known) with the total sales reaching a mere 435 units. Ultimately, the company ceased its United States in 1955 with losses exceeding $100 million and its sales figures being just a fraction of what they once were. Due to the 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 private collection where it resided and was well cared for over a nearly 40 year span. Under the hood on this Kaiser is a 161.1 Cubic Inch F-Head Hurricane Inline 6 cylinder engine paired with a single barrel carburetor that was said to have pushed out 90 horsepower when new. The 161 Hurricane 6 is backed by 3 speed manual transmission with overdrive that makes this Darrin a fun car to drive. The chrome and brightwork around the exterior of this 54 Kaiser Darrin is exceptionally nice. Riding on a set of wide whitewall tires on chrome wire wheels with Kaiser hubcaps, this roadster has a fantastic fifties look. The fiberglass body has been correctly refinished in a beautiful Champagne White that gives the car its wonderful European appearance. The red vinyl convert
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