This lime-green 1954 Kaiser Darrin is a head-turner, not only because it is one rare car, but because of its unique color, how its doors "open" and "close" and so much more.
"Henry J. Kaiser was an innovative industrialist whose production methods revolutionized naval shipbuilding," states the owner's summary at the 2011 Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance.
"He formed Kaiser Motors believing he could beat the established manufacturers."
OK, but where does Darrin come into this story?
Well, Darrin was an accomplished automotive designer.
"His cars were known for their dip: The descending line of the front fender made a 'dip' at the front edge of the rear fender," the summary notes. "When Darrin designed his roadster, Henry Kaiser wasn't interested but changed his mind because his wife found it beautiful."
I happen to agree with Mrs. Kaiser. It is beautiful.
"Although more expensive than most luxury models," the summary continues, "it came with a tachometer, three-positioned Landau top and a tinted windshield.
"It was the first production fiberglass sports car in the USA, beating the Corvette to the market by one month."
You'll almost never hear supposed car experts note that the Corvette was bested by Kaiser, whether it's on TV, the Web, radio, etc. However, it is factual. Corvette was NOT the first modern American sports car.
The Kaiser Darrin features the patented "pocket-door" design that made the doors slide into the fender of the car.
"Only 435 were made for the 1954 model year," the summary states. "This example was completely restored to original specifications from 2007-09. It was the 2009 SCCA San Francisco Region Concours Grand Champion."
It's unique color is "Pine Tint," and that same color is on the top and interior ~ including the dashboard.
This car sold in January 2015 at the Arizona Barrett-Jackson auction for $198,000 (not counting taxes, fees).
"Its heritage is unsurpassed by any other United States sports cars. It has won the SCCA overall Concours Championship and has won in Carmel, Hillsborough, Palo Alto, Palos Verdes and many more locations," notes Barrett-Jackson on its Web site.
"It was the cover car in the February 2012 edition of The Motor Market magazine. It is a very beautiful example of the first American sports car."
Kaiser eventually sold in the 1960s to American Motors Corp., renown for making horrible cars. (I owned one, so I can say that.)
Keywords:1954, Barrett-Jackson auction, Darrin, Glenn Franco Simmons, Hillsborough Concours, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance, Kaiser, Kaiser Darrin, Kaiser motors, Vintage Cars, car, cars, first American sports car
© Glenn Thomas Franco Simmons