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1940 Packard Darrin. Photograph courtesy Glenmoor Gathering.
The annual Glenmoor Gathering in Canton, Ohio, has a longstanding tradition of featuring the cars attributed to a famed automotive designer every year, and for 2011, that tradition continues with the cars of Howard “Dutch” Darrin.
For such an exalted automotive designer, Darrin seemed to have entered the automotive design field more by chance than by intent, and defined his career just as much by his entrepreneurship as by his talent for design. Born in 1897 in New Jersey, Darrin initially went to work as an electrical engineer, then after fighting in France during World War I and running an airline, among other businesses, he bought a pair of Delages from Walter P. Chrysler and encountered Thomas L. Hibbard, with whom he founded the coachbuilding house Hibbard & Darrin in Paris in 1923. That venture lasted until shortly after Black Friday, the stock market crash of 1929, when Darrin joined up with Argentine J. Fernandez to found Fernandez & Darrin, also based in Paris. In 1937, Darrin returned to the United States and continued his practice of designing cars for famous and wealthy clients, establishing Darrin of Paris in Los Angeles and often affecting a French accent. It was in Los Angeles that he designed the Packard Darrin, now considered a Full Classic as well as Darrin’s most accomplished design. In later years, he would go on to establish designs for Kaiser, including the fiberglass-bodied Kaiser Darrin.
Aside from the cars of Darrin, the 2011 Glenmoor Gathering will also feature a display of early front-wheel-drive cars – including Cord, Ruxton, Citroën and Miller – as well as displays of 16-cylinder cars and vintage British motorcycles. In addition to the concours itself, the weekend of the Glenmoor Gathering will also include one of the Classic Car Club of America’s Grand Classics as well as an auction conducted by Bob Lichty’s Classic Motorcar Auctions. The Glenmoor Gathering will take place the weekend of September 16-18. For more information, visit www.glenmoorgathering.com.