The oil filter was also moved to the driver's side to make room for the supercharger where the oil filter is normally mounted on the passenger side. In some installations, the generator was also moved to the driver's side.
A Kaiser seatbelt from 1954
The difference between a supercharged and non supercharged Kaiser Darrin
The mounting positions were provided for the passenger side but the belt was not installed.
Yellow paint code 157 and interior white trim code 7209
Belt installed only on the driver's side
The battery was moved to the driver's side under the steering column so the supercharger air cleaner could be mounted where the battery was normally located.
The McCulloch VS57 supercharger and a spare. 1954 and 1955 Kaiser Manhattans were also supercharged with the McCulloch VS57 by the Kaiser factory.
Kaiser Darrin # 420 Restoration
A drive pulley was installed at the front of the crankshaft on supercharged cars. The supercharger is removed here. Additionally, an electric fuel pump was installed near the gas tank in the rear of the car and the mechanical fuel pump was modified with pressure from the supercharger to the engine side of the pump diaphragm to increase its output.
The Darrin rear view mirror is a Darrin only item. There are some similar mirrors that have been used as replacements over the years...one is a Studebaker mirror. However, it appears the original Darrin mirror was only used on the Darrin. It is mounted on the dash rather than on the top windshield frame and originally came with a tinted mirror. Over the years several were damaged or lost and there are no additional original mirrors available. When I purchased Darrin #420, it was partially disassembled and, of course, I was assured that all the parts were contained in the boxes that came with the car. I later discovered the mirror was missing. I've been looking for an original mirror for years without success. Another Darrin owner was kind enough to allow me to use his original mirror to use as a reference for a reproduction project.
Darrin # 420 is yellow color code 157 with white top and interior trim code 7209. There were approximately 10-18 built with these codes. Darrin 420 also was equipped by the factory with a driver side seat belt.
The blank is formed into the mirror housing as shown here. The housing now needs to have the excess trimmed away and the hole for the mounting stem and ball formed. After the other components are made, they will all be chromed and assembled.
Got the prototype of the stem and base machined and the tooling to make them completed. The stem is in 2 pieces and screws together. The top of the stem bends forward 70 degrees. I haven't made the fixture to accomplish the 70 degree bend yet. I also need to make a fixture to form the bell-mouth opening in the mirror back the the ball on the upper stem fits into and allows the mirror to be adjusted.
The belt installation on the driver's side has the same attachment point plates with the belt mounts installed over them.
To test the die, we did a coupon test on the first tier of the mirror housing which is pictured here. The die works great so far. I will machine the second tier portion of the die, install it, and run a second test. Will update the site at that time.
The flashing has been cut from the mirror frame here. Jimmy Hervatin laser cut a mask that I inserted in the mirror frame and cut, then ground, the edge down to the mask which made it much easier to keep the edge consistent.
This is the final fixture used with the die I machined and polished welded in position. The fixture is placed in the press and and the blank is pressed into shape.
At some point, #420 was supercharged. The only Darrin supercharged by Kaiser was #002 and it was done as a test. Dutch Darrin's garage and dealership in Hollywood, CA was just a few blocks from Paxton McCulloch's facility and some of the last 50 Darrins that Dutch Darrin recovered from Kaiser were reported to be McCulloch VS57 supercharger equipped...it is possible that #420 is one of them. Dutch Darrin also replaced the 161 cubic inch F-head six with Cadillac V8's on at least 2 cars although there are estimates of as many as 6 Darrins receiving the Cadillac engines.
Starting to machine the die to form the curved back of the mirror. This is the first operation where the barrel shape is formed. The ends now need to be formed, then will be smoothed on the belt grinder.
Number 420 of the 435 Darrins built...Number 1001 was the first
Reproducing the Darrin Rear View Mirror
It's good to have talented friends with a lot of equipment. A good friend with a metal fabrication business, Jimmy Hervatin of Kustoms by Jimmy, designed and laser cut some dies to stamp the mirror housing. These pictures show the female bottom die and half of the male top die. I have to machine the second part of the top die that forms the curved portion of the mirror housing in my shop and add it to the die set.
One of the issues that is always a problem in restoring old cars is finding materials used when the car was manufactured. Many times the materials are no longer available. The hard to find material here is the dark gray tinted mirror used by the Darrin. It was unique but not that great...didn't stop glair and made it difficult to view objects. The mirror mounted on the dash didn't help either because it was too low to see objects close to the rear of the car. The mirror is also 1/8" thick which makes finding the gray tinted mirror material even more difficult.
Copyright © Jack Pledger