The Mysteries of the Dutch Darrin Designed DKW Flintridge And The Woodill Fiber-Glass Body Corporation

Hi Gang…

We’ve been talking about Howard “Dutch” Darrin of late, so why stop now?  How ‘bout some of you helping us out with learning more about this neatly designed car.  One of the pieces I acquired from the Frank Cornell Woodill Wildfire archives was a neat business proposal showing the scope of what “Woodill Fiber-Glass Body Corporation” could do in the late 1950’s.

Woody Woodill was positioning himself to become a leader in the fiberglass sports car industry and testing new ways of attracting business.  The entire proposal is both engaging and professional in every way, and if some of you are interested in reviewing it….let me know and I’ll scan the entire piece and put it out there for all to view.

You know me…. I like to share 🙂

The DKW Flintridge / Woodill Connection:

So….when I was reviewing this piece recently I was fascinated with 3 pictures in it featuring the DKW Flintridge.  What other information was inside the booklet (8.5 x 11 in size) concerning this neat sports car?  Nothing.  But the pictures themselves give a glimpse into a very different history that might have taken place had the proposal “caught fire” (so to speak).

I’ve asked Peter Boyd, a friend of fiberglass, to pencil in his thoughts on DKW for us in a later article.  I’m going to do the same with Merrill Powell of Victress – Merrill had meetings with Flintridge about doing a similar car in 1956 that have never been shared before.  So…more info is coming on these cars – information never shared before so be on the lookout.

But for now….here are the relevant pages of the “Woodill Proposal” – including the cover page.  Have a look and let us know if any of you out there besides Peter Boyd and Merrill Powell can tell us more.

 

 

 

 

Summary:

So….based on the pictures, it seemed that Woodill was doing quite a bit more with DKW than was thought before.  I hope we have some new info to share with you soon, and I will be posting another article about the DKW Flintridge from “Motor Life” magazine in the near future.

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…

Geoff

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Comments

The Mysteries of the Dutch Darrin Designed DKW Flintridge And The Woodill Fiber-Glass Body Corporation — 7 Comments

  1. Hi Geoff,

    I worked for Flintridge Motors in Westwood in 1958/’59 and sold Alfas, Triumphs, DKWs, Isetta and others. My main job was to take speed oriented buyers up to Mulholland, scare the shxx out of them and turn them over to the closer. I competed a little in Gymkhanas in a Super Spyder and a Siata 208S.

    We sold the Flintridge DKW roadster and Kombi camper.I’d forgotten that the roadster was designed by Darrin, a friend of my Dad, and somehow linked it with the Polish Syrena (Wartberg engined) roadster,had you ever seen one? I was mistaken.

    Peter Boyd

  2. Geoff,

    Thanks for posting the article. I’m interested in seeing/reading more about this car, and would like to get a scanned copy.
    I’m comparing photos of the cars in the pictures here to photos from the Motor Life article and a few other photos I have. There are some differences.
    Do we have any idea why 5 of these cars would be loaded up on a car hauler while still incomplete?

  3. Hi Darren…

    No idea on why they would be incomplete. Perhaps being finished elsewhere. Or maybe arriving from somewhere else. Or just a promo photo of what they had used in every way possible.

    The sky is the limit here. More info needed 🙂

    Geoff

  4. I’m comparing photos and information I have, including the April 1957 Motor
    Trend article.
    I can see several distinct differences, hood hinges/lack of,
    wheel/tire/hubcaps, and changes to the bumpers (shape, style, single/split,
    etc.), headlight housing (frenched/not frenched), and color (dark/light)
    and can say 4 for certain and possibly a 5th different car .
    In the photo of the car inside the building, with 3 Flintridge Darrins and 3
    DKW sedans in back:
    The white car on the far left with the hood open is very shiny and appears
    to be complete. This may be the show car which can be seen in the Motor
    Trend Article. Too bad we can’t see the grill and headlights, as these
    changed from the show car to production.
    The “dark” car behind it also has a shiny body. Most of the promotional
    material with a complete car has a dark car with the same wheel/tire/hubcap
    combination. If you look closely though, it appears that the hood has not
    been finished. Was it replaced for some reason or was it being finished for
    promotional photos?
    The light car in the foreground doesn’t appear to have been painted yet, and
    the hood scoop hasn’t been cut open. I’m guessing that this body just came
    out of the mold, but I am trying to figure out the door, windows, and roof.
    The door windows do not have a frame around them, so why are they covered?
    The only thing I can assume is that this is the glass and it has been paper
    and taped over for fitting the roof to the body and in prep for paint .

    My understanding from what I’ve read is the DWK doors were used and a
    fiberglass skin was glued to them. The original firewall was cut down and
    moved back some as well. BTW, the Flintridge DKW Darrin doors open in
    reverse/suicide style the same as the DKW sedans that donated the chassis.

    When you run the article with the Motor Trend information, you can throw in
    a lead to another car, the Alken. When I found the Patent for the Alken, it
    references the April 1957 Motor Trend Article and Darrin Mark II DKW…. It
    seems that Mr. Pierson was partially inspired by the Flintridge Darrin.

    If anyone in the group has connections with, or lives near LaCanda/Flintridge, Ca. (near LA), and can help dig up more information, I would love to see and compare it. How many cars were made? How many still exist?

    Darren

  5. Hi Geoff,
    Excellent article and looking forward to more!
    One of these Flintridge-Darrin DKWs was on eBay in 2006 under a pile of DKW Juniors in a wrecking yard in Pennsylvania. I will e-mail you some pictures of the car that I got from the seller, and I have contacted the current owner and sent him the link to this article and left it to him to contact you. In my involvement with the DKW Club of America (as newsletter editor from 1999 to 2005, Chairman 2005-2010, and Newsgroup Co-Moderator 2010 to present), this is the ONLY Flintridge-Darrin Sports Car that I am aware of that has survived.
    Cheers!
    Steve

  6. My Dad was not above loading a few incomplete cars on a hauler and pretending that they were part of an unending stream of production cars. I remember seeing a photo of some Wildfires lined up with the last few in the background being incomplete cars set on incomplete frames.

  7. What a gorgeous car! I can’t help but comment on the mechanical similarities of this, with a three cylinder, two stroke DKW engine and front wheel drive and the Berkeley SE with a three cylinder air- cooled motor bike engine and front wheel drive from the same period. While I’m guessing that the Berkeley was quite a bit smaller, it seems to me they were both angling for the same market.

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