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OPULENCE & SPLENDOUR

Luxury and the arts From houses to cars and from Hockney to van Dyck, a profile of the best and the worst

A Kaiser double

Rare 1954 Kaiser-Darrin roadsters to be auctioned in Arizona and Paris; they come complete with unusual sliding doors

 

The Kaiser-Darrin was America’s first production fibreglass sports car and though it was not a great success in terms of numbers sold, it featured a number of unusual design features – including sliding ‘pocket’ doors – that make it noteworthy. Only 435 were made and unusually two examples come to auction in January and February 2016 through RM Sotheby’s in Arizona and Paris.

 

A Kaiser double - Pair of 1954 Kaiser-Darrin roadsters to be auctioned by RM Auctions in Arizona and Paris in January and February 2016
The 1954 Kaiser-Darrin roadster that will be sold by RM Auctions in Arizona
A Kaiser double - Pair of 1954 Kaiser-Darrin roadsters to be auctioned by RM Auctions in Arizona and Paris in January and February 2016
The interior of the car on offer in Arizona

 

Undoubtedly a “head turning” car in terms of its presence, the Kaiser-Darrin roadster was designed by Howard ‘Dutch’ Darrin and built in conjunction with Henry J. Kaiser of Kaiser Motors. Its production run was limited to 1954 only and its conception came about as part of a movement in Detroit to compete with European roadsters being imported and sold in the United States after the end of the Second World War.

 

A Kaiser double - Pair of 1954 Kaiser-Darrin roadsters to be auctioned by RM Auctions in Arizona and Paris in January and February 2016
The trademark of the Kaiser-Darrin was its sliding doors designed by Howard Darrin and promoted for their safety
A Kaiser double - Pair of 1954 Kaiser-Darrin roadsters to be auctioned by RM Auctions in Arizona and Paris in January and February 2016
Another unusual feature is a ‘lip-like’ front that is described as looking like “it wants to give someone a kiss”
A Kaiser double - Pair of 1954 Kaiser-Darrin roadsters to be auctioned by RM Auctions in Arizona and Paris in January and February 2016
The 1954 Kaiser-Darrin roadster that will be sold by RM Auctions in Paris

A Kaiser double - Pair of 1954 Kaiser-Darrin roadsters to be auctioned by RM Auctions in Arizona and Paris in January and February 2016

 

Launched in September 1952 as “the sports car everyone has been waiting for” at the Los Angeles Motorama, production delays meant the first (and only) models to be sold became available in 1954. The roadster was priced at $3,668 (the equivalent of £22,000 or $32,000 today) but whilst its appearance was and still is stunning, design flaws – most especially its relative poor performance compared to larger-engined cars such as the Jaguar XK120 – resulted in it being a sales flop. Production was swiftly wound up and consequently, the two examples on offer will appeal to those looking to add something unusual to their collections.

 

The yellow Kaiser-Darrin roadster, chassis number 161-001390, will be offered without reserve by RM Auctions in Arizona in the 28th to 29th January 2016 sale with a guide of £96,000 to £124,000 ($140,000 to $160,000). The white example, chassis number 161-001031, will be sold in Paris on 3rd February with a guide price that is yet to be disclosed.

 

Update 31st January 2016: The 1954 Kaiser-Darrin sold above the upper guide for £124,000 ($176,000 or €162,000) at Arizona.

 

 

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Comments

10 comments on “A Kaiser double”

  1. That blithering idiot Rod Jones exposes his ignorance yet again. Unless be refers to some Australian ‘sheila’ of his acquaintance. I suppose his pathetic attempt at humour meant Rita Hayworth. What a dope. By the way, it will be interesting to see if he ever answers Peter Wayde’s questions.

  2. Hey Glen!!!!!!! Happy New Year to you mate too!!!!!!! I’d take Rita Hayworth (sp????????? error mate) or even any hot female film star of that era in the car mate!!!!!!!!! It’s just a bit of fun!!!!!!!!

  3. This was a strange exploratory period of car design; including Swallow – Doretti, some weird and wonderful coach built Daimlers, Tickford Healeys and A.C’s, until Peter Kirwan – Taylor – the Wykehamist genius came up with the Lotus Elite finessed by Frank Costin of Cosworth,and so much more

  4. Matthew must have his own reasons for allowing the imbecilic Rod to comment(if that is how one can describe his puerile meanderings) but he is now becoming an irritant and lowers the tone of the Times.
    His attempts at humour may go down well in some outback pub, but are just embarrassing in London.

  5. Can’t you make an exception for the Melbourne Idiot…
    In a way he is racist as he leads us all to be believe Australians are a bit dense

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