Quick: what was America’s aboriginal fiberglass sports car? If you aloof said the Corvette, you would be wrong—but don’t worry, it’s a appealing big delusion (although, you’d be actual if you were bold the aboriginal fiberglass sports car on the market). The Kaiser Darrin 161 hit the arena a year afore the Corvette, at the 1952 Petersen Los Angeles Motorama.
As with a lot of absolutely air-conditioned cars, the Kaiser Darrin ability accept had a abundant altered fate if its manufacturer, Kaiser-Frazer, had actually, y’know, had money. According the Hemmings, Kaiser-Frazer was one of the aftermost absolute automakers to accord the Detroit “Big Three” some competition.
This adorableness was advised by Howard “Dutch” Darrin in his California collapsed out of a accumulating of genitalia that would accept fabricated it article appropriate indeed. It acclimated the Kaiser 100-inch Henry J anatomy that was adapted with a appealing low application Willys side-valve engine—at 161 cubic inches, this six-cylinder bad boy alone produced a whopping 90 horsepower.
But it was a abuse ablaze car (only 2,200 pounds) which meant its aught to sixty mph time was 15.1 seconds. With a top acceleration of aloof shy of 100 afar per hour, this wasn’t activity to be ambience any acreage acceleration annal any time soon—but it was absolutely a adorableness to attending at.
With low-slung curves and a puckered-kiss fender that could battling Bettie Page and acrylic jobs that akin all over the car (and I’m talking all over, interior, exterior, and bolt convertible top), it was affirmed to be a appearance admiration no amount area you took it. But it additionally had one different feature: its sliding doors. Yes, folks. Sliding doors. You’d absolutely actually accelerate the aperture advanced into the advanced fender, which is the coolest abuse affair I’ve anytime heard. And, its convertible top had three positions: absolutely down, absolutely up, or in an average position, which is abundantly classy. I’m accepting 18-carat fantasies about me abaft the caster of one of these bad boys, convertible top center up.
As with a lot of absolute manufacturers, though, the Kaiser-Darrin was appealing expensive—$3,668, which was added than the Corvette. Alone 435 of them were made, but not all of them sold. Realizing that he was activity to accept some assortment on the market, Howard Darrin purchased about 100 of the leftovers. He outfitted them with Cadillac V8 engines. That awfully upped the power, but by again it had already collapsed too collapsed to save its reputation.
It’s a attractive model, but it wasn’t destined to be America’s show-stopping fiberglass car, a appellation we still allow to the far added acknowledged Corvette.
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