1954 Kaiser-Darrin: Henry J’s Sports Car

Finding any Kaiser-Frazer automobile is not easy these days, sixty-three years after the last U.S. made motorcar was sold to its new owner. But the rarest of all is likely the Kaiser-Darrin sports car. A fiberglass two-seater meant to draw folks into K-F showrooms to ooh and aah over, and maybe drive out in a Manhattan or Special sedan. But it was too little, too late. By the time of its debut, the writing was already on the wall for K-F.

1954 Kaiser Darrin Folder-01 (800x618)

Henry J. Kaiser may have been a shipbuilding maven, but when it came to selling cars to retail customers, he was a babe in the woods. He complicated things by binding the hands of the one person who actually knew the car business, Joseph Frazer, largely because Henry J’s ego got in the way. “The Kaisers NEVER retrench!” as he was fond of saying, despite the evidence of lackluster sales in 1949-1950. Amid this drama of Frazer’s exit, crashing sales and hundreds of unsold cars sitting around the massive Willow Run factory, came the Kaiser-Darrin!

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