|Singer Bobby Darin stands beside a hand-made automobile called the "Bobby Darin Dream Car," unveiled on March 31, 1961, in Hollywood, California. Owner Andrew Di Dia, who designed and built the $150,000 car, will take it on a nationwide tour.|
Witness Bobby Darin's "Dream Car," which he donated to the National Museum of Transport in 1970.
The late singer Bobby Darin's "Dream Car" is back on display in dazzling shape.
Mike Manns, owner of Manns Auto Body in Festus MO, restored the car for the second time since Darin donated it to the National Museum of Transport here in St. Louis in 1970.
"About 100,000 people have viewed the car since it was restored 13 years ago," Manns said. "It was handmade in the 1950s from aluminum that is very soft. People don't realize they're denting it when they lean against it."
The car, designed by Andy DiDia in 1953 was "one of the most fabulous custom cars ever built with every futuristic innovation money could buy," Manns said.
It cost Darin more than $93,000 and took seven years to build.
Darin drove the car to special events, including the Academy Awards presentation. Darin, who died at 37 in 1973 of heart problems, was best known for his 1959 rendition of "Mack the Knife."
The car, which looks like a square version of the Batmobile, was the creation of a clothing designer, not a car manufacturer.
The story goes that Darin struck up a friendship with DiDia, a well known clothing designer from Detroit. DiDia, an auto buff, designed the car on a whim and showed it to Darin. Darin loved the lines and made a few suggestions.
They dubbed the "DiDia 150" the "Bobby Darin Dream Car." Originally, the car had 30 coats of paint, mixed with a diamond dust from Sweden.
This time, Manns used a glittery gold undercoat with pearly red on top.
The "Dream Car" featured a list of innovations, including thermostatically controlled air-condtioning that keeps the temperature constant, hidden headlights, taillights that swivel when the car turns a corner, glass windows on hinges and rust leather bucket seats, each with its own ash tray, cigarette lighter and radio speaker.
The car will remain on display at the Transport Museum.