Kaiser Darrin, 1954: My Best Of Show At Concours On The Avenue In Carmel

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kaiser6It was one of the first cars I noticed, and after looking at an estimated 200 other vehicles, it was still my favorite at the recently concluded Monterey Auto Week. The Concours on the Avenue in Carmel was only presented for the second year in 2008. But it has come into its own, particularly with cars like the 1954 Kaiser Darrin.

Owner John Nirenstein of Tiburon, California, showcased it on Tuesday, Aug. 12, the second day of the event. Nirenstein, participating in the event for the first time, bought the car 10 years ago and took 22 months to restore it.

While soft jazz played in the background, the Darrin got plenty of attention while nicely situated on a corner on Ocean Ave., amid a diverse selection of multi-marques, Volkswagen Beetles to myriad muscle cars, Fiats to Lamborghini. The Darrin’s unique grill, its sliding front door and perfectly matched cream exterior and red leather interior had no equals.

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Nirenstein’s Kaiser Darrin is No. 25 of 435 produced.

“I’ve just always loved cars since I was a boy,” said Nirenstein. “But I’m more interested in cars where the designer put his art and soul into it. I’m not so concerned about how much horsepower it has.”

Nirenstein’s remarks perfectly matched his car, not the fastest, nor the most rare. Nevertheless, it was the best car of the week — at least for me.


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