A clothing designer's creation became Bobby Darin's dream car. While Detroit native Andy Di Dia's Clothing designs were elegant and traditional, his single automobile design was unrestrained and unconventional. Construction of the low-slung, be-finned, hand-built Di Dia 150 lasted from 1953 to 1960 and cost over $94,000 to build. It has a V8 engine with a 125-inch wheelbase.
Chrysler stylist Edward V. Francoise was commissioned to render the car, and it was built by Clarkaiser, a noted Detroit concept car house. The car was built on a tubular chassis with an aluminum body that featured 'skyview' roof sections, a double wraparound windshield and a huge, one-piece Plexiglas rear window. The paint, reportedly done by George Barris, consisted of 30 coasts of Swedish Pearl Essence, supplemented by crushed diamonds.
Darin paid an incredible $150,000 for the DiDia 150, which caused a sensation wherever it was seen. After Darrin's death, the DiDia found its way to the St. Louis Museum of Transportation. It was donated in 1970, three years after his death.
Bobby and his wife Sandra Dee drove it to the 1961 Academy Awards and in movies.
The DiDia 150 is an exotic vehicle that is over-done in every detail and in every respect, an iconic dream car. Its metallic red paint was from 30 coats of paint with real ground diamonds for sparkle. In the back are large tail fins that would be better suited on the underside of a boat or on the wings of an airplane. The body is from hand-fashioned soft aluminum. There are hidden headlights and tail lights that swivel as the car turns. Inside, the seats each have their own ash tray, cigarette lighter, and radio speaker. On the dash are oversized levers that control the air conditioning, heater and defroster. The car rests on a 125-inch wheelbase and is powered by a V8 engine. This is a car that batman would buy.
The car was created by Andy DiDia and only one example was ever built. It was later sold to the singer and actor Bobby Darin. It currently resides in the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, MO.
It took seven years to complete, from 1953 to 1960.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2010