For Sale: 1954 Kaiser Darrin in St. Louis, Missouri

Vehicle Description

As the European sports car market invaded the United States after WWII, American auto manufacturers took notice. Very few, if any, produced a 2-seater oriented sportscar. By the early 1950's, Jaguar, Austin Healey, Triumph, MG and other small English sports cars were finding garages in the United States, not to mention Alfa Romeo, Porsche, etc. Pushing an effort to supply a unique 2-seater for the Kaiser brand was designer Howard "Dutch" Darrin, renowned automotive stylist for Packard and Duesenberg. Although, the longtime sedan-oriented Henry J. Kaiser was a tough sell on pushing such an automobile. His selection of traditional family style automobiles was a major focus to save his namesake in an ever-growing market where larger firms were eating up their competition. Darrin was able to push his stunning Roadster with unique, disappearing doors that slid into the front fenders forward into production, some say with the prodding of Mrs. Kaiser after seeing the design! It would appear at the 1953 New York Auto Show with many admirers. Unfortunately, Kaiser Motors was struggling as whole to stay alive, so only 435 Roadsters would be produced, and today represent the last of Dutch Darrin's automotive legacy.

The 1954 Kaiser Darrin 161 Roadster was designed to stand up to the English dominated market of lightweight sports roadsters with very few produced and only offered for a single year. Offered here is number 22 of 435 ever produced and finished in the desirable combination of factory code correct (153) Champagne White over factory code correct (7200) Scarlet Pincrush vinyl upholstery with a tan convertible top. Powered by its original 161ci Hurricane Inline 6-cylinder F-Head engine numbering (3495010) and with factory Carter YF carburetion producing an approximate 90 horsepower, and 3-speed overdrive manual transmission. Features include the sought after wire spoke wheels, BF Goodrich Silvertown 5.90-15 wide whitewall tires, full dash instrumentation, wide turn signals, Plexiglas windscreens, engine oil filtration system, heat/defrost, tinted windscreen, front & rear bumper guards, fitted side curtains, and more!

A rare chance to own a cared for, limited production roadster famous for its unconventional doors that slide into the front fenders behind the wheels. The previous owners, Tupelo Auto Museum, have taken great care of this Kaiser-Darrin Roadster until their closing in the spring of 2019. Due to sitting in the museum environment for two decades, the original engine has been rebuilt with line-honed cylinder walls, new piston rings, crank bearings, resurfaced head, fresh valve job with new guides, head gasket, all new seals, new spark plugs, rebuilt carburetor, etc. The complete wiring harness was renewed from front to back, and a new fuel sending unit inside a cleaned tank. New brake lines were installed along with new wheel cylinders and fresh brake shoes. In 2020 the interior was redone with new seat covers, carpet, shift boot, and weather stripping.

Coming to the St. Louis Car Museum this February 2022, and only needing a new battery we installed this May, along with a new distributor cap and rotor, it continues to run and drive terrifically! We also elected to re-plate the chrome taillight housings before being professionally detailed to join our museum showcase. A unique roadster that makes for a great collector's car that is sure to surprise at any cruise or car show. Thank you and please call with any questions or to schedule a visit to see this rare piece of automotive history first-hand.

Vehicle Details

  • 1954 Kaiser Darrin
  • Listing ID: CC-1604118
  • Price: $119,900
  • Location:St. Louis, Missouri
  • Year:1954
  • Make:Kaiser
  • Model:Darrin
  • Exterior Color:Champagne White
  • Interior Color:Scarlet Pincrush vinyl
  • Transmission:Manual
  • Odometer:77979
  • Stock Number:S3781
  • VIN:161001022
Listed By:
St. Louis Car Museum
1575 Woodson Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63114

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