Muscle Cars

The Kaiser Darrin: The First Modern American Sports Car?

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Between 1951 and 1954, The Kaiser Darrin was arguably ahead of its time, but like many cars that try to do something different, it was plagued with floors and delays which ultimately led to its demise.

Arguably the first American car to be equipped with a fibreglass body and fibreglass doors. The idea of the Darrin was to compete with European roadsters.
It had the sporting locks which predated future more popular models from other manufacturers, but it had a woefully underpowered engine which just didn’t suit the times – 161 cu in (2.6 L) F-head six cylinder, 90hp. Even for a small European car, this was a small sized engine.

Only 435 cars were built with six prototypes.
Problematic engine production, an underpowered engine, production delays and an ultimate lack of interest from the public, meant the car did not live very long.

Now the Kaiser Darrin is an automotive signpost to one of those vehicles that could have made an impression but did’t get past the starting blocks.
At least it may served as inspiration to other manufacturers at the time.

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