For those old enough to remember Bobby Darin and his wife, Sandra Dee, or who are classic custom car fans, you’ll enjoy this. Here is a blast from the past from Don Henry via Jack Humphrey.
The 1960 DiDia 150 was a luxury, custom-designed iconic, handmade car also known as the “Dream Car” forever associated with its second owner, singer Bobby Darin. The car was designed by Andrew Di Dia, a clothing designer who Bobby Darin had met whilst on tour in Detroit in 1957. Darin told Di Dia at that time he would purchase the car if he ever “hit it big”.
Here are Bobby and Di posing with Bobby’s Dream Car.
For seven years, from 1953 to 1960 the DiDia 150 was hand-built by four workers. The body was hand-formed by Ron Clark and constructed by Bob Kaiser from Clark Kaiser Customs. Its metallic red paint was made with 30 coats of ground diamonds for sparkle.
Built in Detroit at a cost of $93,647.29 and sold to Darin in 1961 at a cost of over $150,000 ($1.5 million today), this car was listed as the most expensive ‘custom-made’ car in the world by the Guinness Book of Records. Clothing designer Andrew ‘Andy’ Di Dia designed this “unrestrained and unconventional” automobile. Only one example was ever built.
The conventional Cadillac V8 engine, located at the front, displaced 365 cubic inches, was later upgraded to a high-performance Ford 427 cubic inch engine when this car was taken on the show circuit. Rear-wheel drive, the body and chassis are hand-formed from 064 aluminum with a 125-inch wheelbase alloy tube frame. This car features a glass rear cockpit dome, a squared steering wheel, and thermostatically controlled air conditioning. Its interior is rust colored in contrast to the ruby external paintwork.
Design innovations included the first backseat-mounted radio speakers, hidden windshield wipers that started themselves when it rained, retractable headlamps, rear indicators that swivel as the car turns, ‘floating’ bumpers, and a trunk that was hinged from the driver’s side.Each of the four bucket seats have their own thermostatically controlled air conditioning, individual cigarette lighters and ashtrays, as well as a radio speaker.
Darin drove his wife, Sandra Dee, in this car to the 34th Academy Awards in 1961 while Andrew Di Dia and Steve Blauner followed behind in a limousine. Bobby didn’t realize that this car’s two engine cooling fans were manually operated, so it heated up during the drive, smoking so much that all the magazines reported that the car caught fire even though it hadn’t.
Di Dia toured the car around the country when Darin wasn’t using it for public appearances. After publicity and film use, Darin donated his “Dream Car” to the St Louis Museum of Transportation in 1970, where it remains.