1954 Kaiser Darrin Is the One Hit Wonder Sports Car Few Remember

1954 Kaiser Darrin 11 photos
Photo: Bring a Trailer/Darrin502
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Many car companies came and went since the industry was born, but few of them seem to have been as troubled as the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation. Born shortly after the Second World War, in 1947, from the association between Henry Kaiser and Joseph Frazer, the company suffered many changes over a brief period, and was associated with nameplates that endure to this day such as Jeep.
But we’re here to talk about a vehicle very few people probably remember. It’s called Darrin, and it was just a one-year wonder, being assembled only for the 1954 model year.

Very few of them were made back then, about 435, and they are considered the first American cars to use a fiberglass body. Those two elements alone should have made them actual collectibles, but for one reason or another, people don’t seem to be eager to pay a small fortune for one.

We dug one of them up on Bring a Trailer, where it is listed for sale, going almost unnoticed in the flood of other, more mainstream muscle cars and customized pickup trucks.

The car is the 91st made in the series and just came out of a refurbishment process last year. It wears what we’re told is the factory Pine Tint green (repainted closer to our time) and is powered by the original 161ci (2.6-liter) Hurricane F-head inline-six engine. Back in its day, when coupled with a three-speed manual transmission, it was rated at 90 horsepower.

The Darrin looks as appealing as it probably did back when it was made, but that doesn't exactly cause people to flock and bid for it. $40,000 is the highest sum someone is willing to offer for the car with five days left in the bidding process.

For reference, that’s peanuts compared to the $161,000 valuation company Hagerty estimates a concours condition one to be worth.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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