1954 Kaiser-Darrin Roadster

There have been many great automobile designers who have left their mark on the motoring landscape. Among these greats would have to be the contributions of Howard “Dutch” Darrin, whose design talent was favored among many of Hollywood’s elite. Quite simply, if you were famous and you wanted a car with a bit more flair, Howard Darrin was the man to see.

Toward the end of his career, Darrin formed an alliance with Kaiser-Frazer, and it was a contentious relationship at best. Henry Kaiser favored the functional and utilitarian look of the automobile, while Darrin still longed for the sleek and sexy design work to which he was so accustomed.

Built on the utilitarian Henry J chassis, Darrin used this foundation to come up with what would be the swan song of his design career, the sporty Kaiser-Darrin. In the end, only 435 Kaiser-Darrin cars were built, making them rare indeed. Darrin’s most masterful work is alive and well, as the doors slide into the front fenders for a smooth and seamless look. This fine example of Darrin’s work deserves to be driven and admired by enthusiasts everywhere.

Carl Bomstead

Carl Bomstead - SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Carl has been writing for SCM for 19 years. His first article appeared in the February 1997 issue, and at least one of his articles has appeared in every issue since. When he’s not writing, he serves as a National Director for the Classic Car Club of America and tends to his extensive collection of automobilia. He has been a judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for the past 20 years, and he also judges at Amelia Island and other major concours. An extensive number of collector cars have passed through his garage, and a 1947 Cadillac 62 Series convertible and a 1968 Intermeccanica Italia are current residents.

Posted in American