37¢ Kaiser Darrin
America on the Move Booklet Stamps
Issue Date: August 20, 2005
City: Detroit, MI
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10.75
In 1946, construction magnate and Liberty ship builder Henry Kaiser and the Graham-Paige Motors’ president Joseph Frazer founded a new automobile company named Kaiser-Frazer. The company’s stylish sports car, the Kaiser Darrin was designed by Howard ‘Dutch’ Darrin.
Darrin had worked in Europe styling cars like Rolls-Royces and Hispano-Suizas and had designed custom cars for Rita Hayworth and Errol Flynn. He began working on the sports car in his Hollywood studio as a personal project. Darrin decided to use fiberglass because it was light, only 300 pounds, and inexpensive for low volume manufacturing.
The Kaiser Darrin was first shown in Los Angeles in 1952, but was not in production until 1954. The two-seater had a three-position Landau top. It was long and low, with a tiny, v-shaped grille and tiny, v-shaped parking lights. Seatbelts were offered as an option.
An unusual feature was retractable doors that slid forward into the front fenders. The doors did not retract all the way, however, leaving a narrow opening for entry and exit. The factory list price was $3,668, more than a Cadillac or a Lincoln at that time. A total of 435 were made that year.