1954 Other Makes Darrin 161
Sale price: $US $90,001.00 make an offer
Last update: 09.05.2017
Technical specifications, photos and description:
|Engine:||6 Cyl 161 Cubic Inches|
|Transmission:||3 Speed Manual with Overdrive|
|Got questions?||Ask here!|
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1954 Other Makes Darrin 161 for sale
I am selling my beautiful 1954 Kaiser Darrin Serial Number 427. As Darrin's were assembled 11 at a time. this is one of the last batch of the 435 produced. I am a car collector and have too many cars so some of them have to go. After considerable sole searching. I've decided to let someone else be the caretaker for a while. I am the second owner of this fine automobile. The first owner was a farmer in central Illinois who had a great crop in 1954 and purchased the car with his extra profit. It must have been a really good year because in 1954. the Kaiser Darrin cost more than a Cadillac. He owned it for a few decades and put only 30K miles on it never driving it outside of his little farm town. While I've owned it. I've put on about 26K miles and like him. I've rarely driven it outside of my little town in Southern California. I have truly enjoyed taking care of this car for the many years I've had it. I've never grown tired of talking to people about it when I've taken it to car shows or when simply filling it up with gas or going out to dinner in it with my wife. Funny story. at one dinner out. my wife forgot her coat in the car so I left the dinner table to get it. There was a group of people surrounding the car when I retrieved the coat. Unfortunately for my wife. I returned to the dinner table 30 minutes later. As you'd expect. I haven't done that again.
This car is in great but not perfect condition. If you want a perfect car. expect to fork over another hundred grand and don't even consider trying to restore a basket case for anywhere near what I'm asking for this car. Original parts for this car are very rare and very expensive. This is a great driver's car that can be driven proudly every day (when it's not raining) or to almost any car show. The car isn't in concourse “judging” condition but I've entered the car a number of times in concourse events. The show organizers are always happy to have the car on the field due to its rarity and presence and the attendees will regularly pass by the perfect Cobra. Jaguar or Ferrari to take a closer look at a car model that's rarely seen in public. I've owned perfect cars and I cannot bring myself to drive them because I'm afraid they'll get scratched or dirty. This car can be driven without that worry.
The engine was rebuilt and the car was repainted in the correct Champaign White by the original owner in the mid ‘70s. The paint has held up well for the last 40 years but the car is fiberglass and does suffer from common fiberglass problems. None of these imperfections detracts from the natural beauty of this car. The engine runs perfectly as does the transmission and the electronic overdrive. You can let the car sit for weeks and with the pull of the choke cable and a turn of the key. the car will fire right up. The engine has all of the correct components. I've recently replaced the battery (still 6V positive ground) and the correct and original radiator was rebuilt in the last two years. Note in the pictures that I have the original (all metal mesh) air cleaner element. I bet very few of these even exist today.
The interior and top (including the side curtains) are original which is amazing for a 63-year-old car. By looking at both. you'd think they were only 20 years old. A number of years ago. however. the Kaiser restoration group made a limited run of the correct interior and top fabric that I was planning on using if and when the interior or top were to deteriorate to a point where it needed to be replaced. So far it hasn't needed it but this new vinyl an top material will be sold along with the car so maybe…. eventually…. someone can bring it back to its original glory. For me. I was hoping to see what 75-year-old vinyl would eventually look like. This new vinyl (interior and top) is worth about $2. 00 and you cannot get it anymore therefore it might even be priceless.
Upon close inspection. you will note that I did replace the bias-ply tires with modern whitewall radials. As I like driving this car. it drives much better with these radial tires than it did on the bias-ply one. Unless you're going to a judged event. no one will even notice. Replacing them back the original bias-ply ones is probably a simple and relatively inexpensive task if you so desire. The spare. on the other hand is a bias-ply tire. Let me also mention that the car comes with the original jack. In the pictures. you will see I have a locking gas cap on the car. I have the correct cap for the car and I forgot to put the cap on when I took the pictures. Unless I take this car to a show. I use the locking cap. I started using a locking cap after the third cap was stolen off the car.
For all of you Kaiser Darrin experts out there. you will note that the seat belts are the original Kaiser Darrin optional seat belts provided in 1954. Only Nash and the Kaiser Darrin offered seat belts as an option in 1954. I don't expect that there were many people who selected this option. In all of my years. I've never seen another Darrin with the correct and original seat belts. For those same experts. you will note that there are three bumperettes on the rear bumper. The story goes that the original owner didn't like the way the license plate light looked so he talked the dealer into adding the center bumperette to cover the light. As the bumper on a Kaiser Darrin is a slightly modified Henry J bumper. I'm sure it wasn't too hard for the dealer to comply. I think it's a good look and a good reason so I kept it. One last thing for you experts out there. The front “kissing” grill is not original. The original grill was made of pot-metal and all of the 63-year-old grills on unrestored cars are one step away from turning into dust and can never be fixed. Let alone rechromed. Over the years. people have reproduced the grill in aluminum and brass. This is an aluminum one. I have hesitated having it chromed because chromed aluminum doesn't hold up well. When polished. it looks great.
Over the many years I have owned this car. I have collected a considerable amount of information on the car including every advertising brochure produced and even the original owner's manual (good luck finding one of those). I remember looking for one for years and finally finding one and spending the ungodly amount of $250 for it. At the time. my wife thought I was crazy but since then. I've only seen one other come up for sale it was even more expensive. All of this information (along with all of my maintenance records) will also be sold along with the car. Note that Dutch Darrin himself signed one of the sales brochures and I even have a business card from Howard Darrin. This information and literature alone is probably work in excess of $1. 00.
Finally. about two years ago. the owner of the mold for the fiberglass hard top produced a run of I believe five tops. I purchased one at the time but never got around to fitting it to the car or having it painted or installing the rear window. As I will no longer be the custodian of this car. I will sell the raw top with the car. Maybe the new owner can fit it to the car. A Darrin with the fitted hard top has a really great look to it. At the time I purchased the top. it cost me $650. I recently saw another “raw” top for sale for $2. 00!
If you're looking for a “turn-key” Kaiser Darrin that won't be a trailer queen and requires nothing but to be driven and enjoyed. this is your car. You see a number of the basket cases and fully restored cars come up for sale from time to time but you rarely see cars in this condition offered for sale. Here's your chance to own a great classic for about half the price of a fully restored one and not much more than a basket cases. As an added bonus to any California buyer. the licenses plate “DARIN” will be yours. For those outside of California. I would like to keep one of the plates as a memento.
I hate to see this car leave my collection but I think the time is right for the right person to enjoy this great car. I look forward to talking with the other enthusiasts who share my passion for this rare American sports car. Good luck.
Also published at eBay.com
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