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1954 Kaiser-Darrin Roadster

Sold For $128,800

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - ARIZONA 18 - 19 JANUARY 2018


Chassis No.
Body No.
161-001023
161-1023
  • Darrin-style Cadillac V-8 engine upgrade
  • Well-engineered suspension and chassis modifications
  • Beautifully restored in original factory colors
  • An American classic with the performance that it deserves

The dashing Kaiser-Darrin came at the end of its manufacturer Kaiser-Frazer’s decade-long lifespan. The snazzy roadster with its famous sliding doors wound up being a one-year-only offering, with only 435 produced. Of these, six were fitted with Cadillac V-8 power by Dutch Darrin himself, at his shop in Santa Monica, California; thus producing a car that had performance to match its jaunty looks.

The car offered here is a Darrin-inspired Cadillac conversion that has been professionally engineered by former owner, the late, respected enthusiast and engineer Phil Bray, to standards much higher than could have been achieved in the 1950s. This car was the 23rd Darrin built, and it was totally disassembled to facilitate the addition of a crossmember to the factory boxed frame, which increased its stiffness. The rear springs were beefed up, and mounted in the chassis is a correct 1954 Cadillac V-8 with a four-barrel carburetor and custom headers, which is mated to a Getrag T-5 five-speed manual transmission through a custom cast-aluminum adapter. The electricals were also upgraded to a 12-volt system.

True knock-off wire wheels were custom-made for the car by Dayton. The body was painted in an original factory color of Pine Tint Green. The upholstery was provided by the Kaiser-Frazer Owners Club parts source, and the correct top material, in the same color as the upholstery, was provided by Haartz. The car even still wears its accurate chassis and body tags.

The car has received an outstanding restoration, and was reported by Mr. Bray to be wicked-fast and capable of speeds up to 120 mph. It is, in many ways, the car that the Kaiser-Darrin deserved to be and now is.

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