Howard A. Darrin

Inducted 2010

Howard A. “Dutch” Darrin, born in 1897, was an inventor, engineer, and designer of European and American cars. Starting in 1923, Darrin, and partner Thomas Hibbard, opened business to design car bodies and sell luxury motorcars. In 1929, his firm developed a new body structure called Sylentlyte a thin-walled aluminum casting system used in producing high-stress components for automobile bodies. With the nearly ten-year working relationship ending, Darrin found a new partner, and under the firm name of Fernandez & Darrin, also designed custom bodies. They were popular on chassis from Delage, Hispano-Suiza and Isotta-Franchini. In 1930, Darrin was awarded a French patent for an aircraft-style, padded dashboard and under-cowl steering wheel design. In 1937, Darrin opened his first U.S. effort on Sunset Boulevard. Darrin immediately made an impact with his 1937 Packard Darrin. With only 16 built, they were among the most sought after by Hollywood stars. Packard Darrins were built for Clark Gable, Errol Flynn and Rosalind Russell. As part of his agreement with Packard, Darrin was asked to contribute design proposals for upcoming models. As a result, he was involved in the design that would finally emerge in 1942 as the Packard Clipper. After World War II ended, he set up the Darrin Motor Car Company in West Hollywood and began submitting design proposals to Joseph Frazer and Powell Crosley, among others. Darrin’s designs showed up on a number of Kaiser and Frazer models between 1947 and 1953. One of his most memorable was a fiberglass-bodied, limited production sports car the Kaiser Darrin.

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Class of 2010

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